Los Angeles Speaker Bios
LA 2020 Coming Soon
President and Co-Founder, MediaJel
Aaron Silverman is a serial entrepreneur with vast experience in the cannabis industry. He excels in defining, developing and executing strategies to generate new business, new products and expanding revenue channels. Silverman brings his deep expertise in advertising, marketing, business development and corporate training to MediaJel as a co-founder where he serves as President and Chief Revenue Officer. In 2008, Silverman founded OMG Farms, Inc., a lifestyle cannabis brand, where he served as CEO. He later became co-founder and CEO of Canna Group, Inc. and is the co-founder of Flore on Market, an iconic restaurant located in San Francisco’s historic Castro District. He has co-authored multiple winning cannabis applications for permits and licenses in California.
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Southern California Coalition
Adam Spiker is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Southern California Coalition—the largest, most inclusive cannabis trade organization in world’s largest cannabis market, Southern California—and the vice president of Spiker Consulting Group, a third-generation government affairs consulting firm with more than 150 years of experience working for clients on state and federal issues.
As the Southern California Coalition Executive Director, Spiker brings more than 15 years of experience working in government relations working across a variety of heavily regulated industries, and helping organizations, advocacy groups, and businesses strategize and engage with government.
Most recently, Adam played an instrumental role in the passing of Southern California Coalition-backed Proposition M—the world’s most comprehensive cannabis legalization regulatory framework to legalization, which provides the City of Los Angeles with a regulatory framework to fairly license, tax, regulate, and enforce the state-legal cannabis industry in the City of Los Angeles. The measure also creates a landmark social equity program aimed at ensuring those, who have been most impacted by cannabis prohibition, have equal opportunities to participate in the emerging sector.
In addition to shepherding the passing of Proposition M, which overwhelming passed in Los Angeles with more than 80% of the vote, Spiker is currently helping Southern California Coalition members navigate the shifting and complex regulatory issues facing the cannabis sector and aggressively working to ensure fair cannabis policies are implemented, so small businesses are afforded a fair opportunity to apply for state and local licenses.
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran; Operations Manager, Continuum Distribution
Adrian Gomez is a 20-year Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. After retiring in 2016 Adrian turned to cannabis to treat chronic pain, insomnia and PTSD. Cannabis replaced the use of numerous opiate based medications and alcohol. Adrian has worked in the cannabis industry the past several years. He is The Operations Manager for Continuum Distribution, Southern California.
A Native Texan, Adrian joined The United States Marine Corps in June of 1996. While on active duty Adrian served in the transportation and logistics field. His duty stations include Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, California and Japan. From 2006 to 2012 Adrian deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2006 and 2008. Operation Enduring Freedom 2010 and 2012. Adrian volunteers his time with several Cannabis veterans Organizations in Southern California.
Founder, Freedman Strategic Consulting LLC
Alex is a Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney and since January 2018 he has served as general counsel to the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation and the Los Angeles Cannabis Regulation Commission. In that role, Alex is responsible for drafting all of the city’s cannabis ordinances and regulations, advising DCR on the design and implementation of all facets of its cannabis licensing and regulatory program, and advising the Commission on all of its licensing activities.
Founder & Editor, Weedweek
Alex Halperin is a freelance business reporter and the founder and editor of Weedweek. He lives in Los Angeles.
Treasurer , National Hemp Association
Alex Seleznov founded and designed the vertical integration of Advanced Extraction, LLC in 2015. An innovative company specializing in Organically Produced Industrial Hemp Products that strives toward everything being done by working and living consciously. As President and CFO, Alex’s responsibilities include complex reconciliations, solutions for increased profitability and systematically creating processes to improve efficiency. Also, he manages the most publicly known division of AE, Pure Hemp Botanicals, which has been recognized as a global leader in Hemp- based CBD products. Prior to the organization of the Company Alex was a financial analyst for Tagawa Greenhouse Enterprises, operating more than 2 million square feet of greenhouse space across three different states, and a controller for Seleznov Capital Advisors with over twenty years business experience in accounting and finance with the last seven years in the horticultural and cannabis industry. He is a board member and Treasurer for the National Hemp Association, and has appeared at numerous speaking engagements such as NOCO, Colorado AG Forum & CWCBE. He has provided content and appeared in Greenhouse Grower Magazine, Hemp Industry Daily and Hemp Connoisseur Magazine as one of the “100 People you should know.”
Co-Founder, Saucey Farms & Extracts
Native New Yorker and Saucey Farms co-founder Alex Todd is a successful businessman, influencer and celebrity jeweler who has crafted fine jewelry and custom pieces for such A-list stars as Rihanna, Jay-Z, Kevin Durant and Kevin Hart. He’s spent more than a decade creating some of the most recognizable hip-hop pieces and advising top watch collectors, and now, he’s transitioned into the cannabis industry.
Todd is a long-time proponent of cannabis legislation reform and supports the REFORM Alliance, which was launched by activist Van Jones in February 2019. The REFORM Alliance is dedicated to reducing the burden of unjust incarceration on the more than 2 million people currently incarcerated in the U.S. for nonviolent marijuana offenses and addressing those laws and policies that continue to perpetuate unjust practices.
Business Development Executive, NiaMedic Healthcare and Research Services
Alon Blatt is the Director of Business Development at NiaMedic. Alon has been heavily involved in the numerous aspects of Medical Cannabis Industry with emphasis on data aggregation, business development and therapeutic treatments. Prior to co-founding NiaMedic, Alon worked in investment banking and business development in a variety of ﬁelds.
Founding Partner, Brand & Branch LLP
Amanda R. Conley is a founding partner at Brand & Branch LLP and co-founder of the National Cannabis Bar Association. She helps creative entrepreneurs across a variety of industries protect, leverage, and enforce their intellectual property. She specializes in helping clients navigate highly-regulated industries such as cannabis, hemp, dietary supplements, and new and emerging technologies. She also advises on advertising, marketing, website, and labeling compliance.
Amanda graduated from NYU School of Law in 2011 and began her career at O’Melveny & Myers (OMM) in San Francisco with a focus on intellectual property counseling and litigation. Recognizing the need to provide nimble, tailored, practical legal services to clients operating in new and emerging industries, Amanda and her law partner Shabnam Malek founded Brand & Branch in 2015. Initially focused on providing intellectual property legal services to cannabis industry clients, Brand & Branch has expanded its reach to serve clients across multiple industries by providing legal and business strategy advice meeting their diversity of needs.
During the launch of Brand & Branch, Amanda and Shabnam also co-founded the National Cannabis Bar Association, which recently expanded its reach to become the International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA). Today, INCBA boasts a membership base of nearly 500 individual attorney members and a strong international presence. Amanda and Shabnam also co-founded the Bay Area chapter of Women Grow in 2014.
Amanda is an active member of the national business networking organization Provisors, where she leads the organization’s first Northern California group exclusively for professionals serving the cannabis industry. Her other professional affiliations include the California Cannabis Industry Association and the California Lawyers Association. She regularly speaks about growth and intellectual property issues pertaining to the cannabis industry.
Co-Founder & CEO, CannaRegs
Amanda Ostrowitz is a regulatory attorney and entrepreneur who’s identified a need for a user-friendly, scalable platform to research regulations and laws in the cannabis industry. Amanda founded RegsTechnology and its current product, CannaRegs, as a tool to aid attorneys, business people, and governments with localized tracking of regulatory issues. Although RegsTechnology has its origins in covering the dynamics of cannabis regulation, Amanda has created an innovative framework that can be applied more broadly to other emerging, hyper-localized regulatory issues.
Prior to conceiving, developing and founding RegsTechnology, Amanda worked as a bank examiner in the Denver branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Amanda is a New England native who moved to Colorado in 2004 to attend Colorado College where she earned a B.A. in Economics and went on to receive her Juris Doctor from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2013.
Vice President, CCIA; Founder, Harborside Inc
Andrew DeAngelo is a unique leader with a proven track record of making visionary social change and business innovations operational. During his almost 13-year tenure at Harborside he has pioneered legal cannabis business processes, and provided political engagement and thought leadership to the cannabis community.
Andrew led the design and development of gold-standard cannabis retail by innovating many “firsts” for the industry, including introducing CBD medicines to heal severely epileptic children (as documented in Discovery Channel’s Weed Wars in 2011), implementing the first lab-testing program in the history of cannabis dispensing, creating child-resistant packaging for edibles, standardizing inventory tracking, initiating senior outreach, and successfully preventing the federal government from seizing Harborside in forfeiture actions against the company in 2012.
Andrew also serves as Vice-President of the Board of Directors for the California Cannabis Industry Association, an organization he helped begin as a founding Board member and has contributed to the growth of CCIA from the inception of the organization.
Co-Founder & CEO, Best in Grow
Andrew Duffy is Co-Founder and CEO of Best in Grow, a software platform designed to help cannabis dispensaries and brands effectively measure, manage, and optimize every aspect of their customers’ in-store experience, with particular focus on the massively influential “budtender”, the point of sale retail employee that determines 92% of the products purchased by cannabis consumers.
Andrew graduated cum laude from Harvard University where he studied behavioral economics and social psychology.
Prior to founding Best in Grow, Andrew worked at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge-fund, where he built portfolios for massive pools of institutional capital, implemented global macro investment theses, and built software tools to conquer markets by leveraging cutting edge human behavioral research.
Anne van Leynseele
Of Counsel, Zuber Lawler & Del Duca LLP
Anne van Leynseele is a cannabis regulatory and deal attorney, often working across sovereign borders. She advises multi-state and multi-national cannabis clients on governance, compliance, licensing, acquisition, asset management, and import/export matters. Ms. van Leynseele also counsels her clients on cannabis political policy as it develops across the nation and around the world. She is a leading expert on the topic of hemp.
Prior to joining Zuber Lawler, Ms. van Leynseele spent four years as a federal attorney advisor in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, she managed commercial transactions and corporate communication strategies for Fortune 100 companies, and did business management consulting in Sydney, Australia.
Founder and CEO, Siva
Avis Bulbulyan is the CEO of SIVA Enterprises. He has over 12 years’ experience in the cannabis industry and is recognized as an industry expert. He began as a cultivator in 2007 and quickly moved into manufacturing and retail. Prior to starting SIVA, Mr. Bulbulyan developed successful applications for former US Congressman Bill Delahunt in Massachusetts, where they were the highest ranked (160/163) applicant and only group to win 3 of the 3 licenses available. He has gone on to win licenses in other states, such as Nevada, Illinois, Maryland and California.
Because of his comprehensive understanding and deep insight into the nuances, regulations and trends of the cannabis industry, Mr. Bulbulyan was appointed to California’s 22-member Cannabis Advisory Committee, which advises the 3 state departments and bureau on the development of California’s State Cannabis Regulations. He was also the President of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force from 2016 to 2018.
Mr. Bulbulyan’s commitment to providing outstanding client services has propelled SIVA into the forefront of the industry. Under his direction, SIVA was voted Top 10 Legal and Consulting firm in the nation by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2018. Expertise.com, a company that independently vets service providers, voted SIVA as one of the Top 18 Consulting Companies in Los Angeles in 2017.
He continues to provide critical insight and depth to the evolving cannabis industry, on a local, state and national level, having testified in front of the CA Dept. of Insurance, advising local and state elected officials and participating in conferences and town halls across the U.S.
Mr. Bulbulyan’s success is predicated on his experience and insight, as well as the cultivation of strong industry and business relations. His core values are expressed in how he conducts business, his willingness to provide guidance and support, and in the creative solutions he develops for specific client goals and needs.
Curator, Moonlit Moveable Feast and Sushi and Doobie Rolling Workshop for the High Dining Club/Mary Jane University
Barbie Sommars is a cannabis consultant who brings over twenty years of corporate operations experience to Mary Jane University and it’s fine dining division, High Dining. After a medical diagnosis in 2008, she sought alternative ways of healing and pain management and found cannabis. From patient to activist to educator, she now resides in the beautiful Mojave desert near Joshua Tree, CA and commits herself to a life of healing, activism, and education through in-home consultation and immersive fine dining experiences for Californians and tourists alike. Barbie is the President of Faerie Jane, a cannabis lifestyle brand that celebrates activism through the art of adornment and is also the Founding Co-Chair of Women Grow Orange County.
Lecturer of Public Policy, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
Brad has designed, researched, run and delivered a dozen public policy research projects over the last six years through his time running BOTEC Analysis, with UCLA, and with Avenu Cannabis Support Services. Brad is Adjunct Professor of criminal justice, cannabis and other drug policy at Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and Lecturer of Public Policy at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He serves on the Board of Advisors for the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative and coordinates the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Research team there.
He sits on the Board of Advisors to the Los Angeles County Health Impact assessment on cannabis. He spent much of 2018 working with over a dozen localities across California helping them set their regulations, staff out municipal departments, develop effective tax and enforcement policies, select and award licensees, and convene community groups for educational sessions on licensing, use, and general public health and public safety education. He has reviewed state and federal cannabis legislation and regulations for municipal and state organizations. He has organized multiple community trainings and webinars on California cannabis policy post Prop 64 and contributed to the public discourse through the press.
His recent contributions include working with academics and scientists to develop a cannabis research agenda for the state of California, serving as a panelist to address progressive policy trends and project work such as survey and study design for profiling the cannabis market and its users throughout Canada. Brad has worked with and advised attorneys general, commissioners of probation, police departments, state and national legislators, councilmen, regulators, treatment associations and tech companies on issues of drug abuse control, public safety, public health, criminal justice reform, and equity.
Director of Marketing, LumiGrow
Mr. Newkirk offers his perspective on AI and automation for enterprise cultivation as Director of Marketing for LumiGrow, a smart horticultural lighting company located in the San Francisco Bay Area. LumiGrow leads the industry forward for growers applying advanced lighting strategies utilizing integrated sensors and software to run some of the largest and most innovative commercial environments worldwide.
Board of Directors, California Cannabis Industry Association; President & Co-Founder, La Vida Verde
I have dedicated myself to studying the cannabis plant, organic pest control management, and sustainable farming practices since 2005. My cultivation and breeding work has been featured in numerous publications. In 2010, I began consulting on cultivation and facility design. I have worked for clients who have secured permits in numerous states, Israel, and Canada. I co-founded and was operations manager for the first ever Enviroganic certified farm in the state. Certification requires standards that exceed those set by CCOF or OMRI organic certification for conventional crops.
In 2012 I helped found a world-class manufacturing company focused on corporate culture, product safety, consistency, and innovation. Our flagship brands Hashman Infused and Waxman Concentrates provide several unique SKU’s to thousands of patients across the state.
Owner, Compassionate Caregivers of Studio City (Cloneville)
Calvin Frye for the past five years has been both a dispensary owner and an MMJ industry consultant. Frye has held several key positions in the Biotech industry for major companies like Xoma, Amgen and Baxter Biosciences, such as working his way up from Research Associate to Associate Scientist. Frye also has over a decade of experience in the cannabis industry, having worked with some of the founders of the MMJ industry (Dennis Peron and Richard Eastman) as well as many of the industry pioneering groups in Los Angeles (Americans For Safe Access and Norml).
Mr. Frye has traveled the country to many (current) MMJ states on speaking engagements in order to help get MMJ legislation passed in those states. Mr. Frye has working knowledge of the regulatory issues within this industry from his experience with working with local LA government bodies and Agencies. Mr. Frye has also branded his line of cannabis genetics and trademarked the name “Cloneville” which he has attached to his genetics. In 2009, Mr. Frye consulted in the hydroponics industry where he gained extensive knowledge in the actual growing, set up and production of cannabis.
Frye also owns Frye Consulting and Management Group, which handles consulting services from startup to full-scale production, including regulatory expertise.
Frye earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Iowa (Big Ten Conference) in Science Education. He also attended graduate college with an emphasis in General Science.
Partner, Crowe LLP
Carl has more than 30 years of experience as a proactive tax advisor to both private and public companies. His extensive experience ranges from answering the unique issues of both public and privately held companies during the growth phase to managing complex global tax planning structures. Carl has worked with many companies in an acquisition environment, from both a buy- and a sell-side. He has a proven track record managing the many facets of the Federal and State tax systems and has served numerous companies with multi-state and international operations.
Prior to joining Crowe, he spent over 18 years at KPMG LLP. During his tenure as a Partner, Carl led the firm’s High Technology Tax Practice in Los Angeles.
During his career, Mr. Sasaki’s experience includes the delivery and coordination of tax services in a wide array of industries including technology, manufacturing, entertainment, medical services and consumer products.
U.S. Army Veteran; CEO & Founder, Enchantibis
Carmen is a U.S. Army veteran who spent four years on active duty. During this time, she reached the rank of Sergeant, served on the Army Color Guard, won multiple designations as Solider of the Month, received several medals, ribbons, and awards. Carmen used her military training to transition to a civilian career in the computer industry.
Carmen has provided consulting services to nonprofit organizations and local jurisdictions in southern California for over 20 years. She contributed to the successful acquisition of more than $49 million in HUD Continuum of Care funding for Orange County housing programs over a four-year period, provided technical assistance, contract management, and training to HUD funded grantees.
Carmen has worked with hundreds of faith and community based service providers, public and government stakeholders, funders, and members of the business community to coordinate resources, develop regional strategies and introduce national best practices required to most effectively bring about sustained changes in the lives of those in need.
Today, Carmen is the CEO and founder of Enchantibis, a digital marketing firm providing B2B services to companies operating in the cannabis space. She is also co-founder of A Soft Landing, a start-up company offering various healing modalities, including cannabis, to Veterans suffering from PTSD.
Carmen earned a BS in computer science from University of Maryland and an MBA from University of Phoenix. She holds the elected position of City Clerk for the City of Signal Hill.
Dr. Chanda Macias
CEO, Women Grow; Owner and CEO, National Holistic Healing Center
Chanda Macias, MBA, PhD is the CEO and the owner of National Holistic™ a cannabis and hemp healthcare enterprise. National Holistic™ Healing Center is the leading medical marijuana dispensary in Washington DC. Dr. Macias has spent 15+ years developing knowledge of medical marijuana impact on patients. Dr. Macias contributes growth to the market through education on ailment strain alignment, aligning a medical marijuana strain with a specific condition or ailment. Dr. Macias expanded her footprint as the President of Ilera Holistic Healthcare which is one of two cultivation/processing facilities in the state of Louisiana.
Dr. Macias educates women entrepreneurs and patients through her outreach platform as the Chairwoman of the Board of Managers and CEO for Women Grow with a national educational reach impacting over 500,000+ people and patients.
Finally, Dr. Macias serves on the National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR) Board Chaired by former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John A. Boehner. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Minority Cannabis Business Association focusing on business development for communities adversely impacted by the War on Drugs. In her local market, she serves as the Treasurer and Secretary of DC Medical Cannabis Trade Association that proactively engages in legislation, regulations, and compliance with the Department of Health, and is a proud member of Americans for Safe Access, promoting safe and legal access to medical marijuana for research purposes.
Dr. Macias earned a PhD in Cellular Biology from Howard University, and extensively studied cancer including breast cancer, colon cancer, and evolved into developing a model to understand the mechanism of prostate cancer metastasizes to bone.
Dr. Macias was the Director of STEM Education in the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Sciences at Howard University, where she was awarded over $10M in federally funded grants.
Charles Houghton Esq.
Founder and Owner, Charles T. Houghton, P.C.
Charles T. Houghton is the founder and owner of Charles T. Houghton, P.C., a law firm In 2010 Charles sat on the City of Colorado Springs Medical Marijuana Task Force to help the City of Colorado Springs develop its regulatory framework and ordinances. He was reappointed and sat on the latest City of Colorado Medical Marijuana Task Force in 2016. He has been instrumental in establishing regulatory schemes in various cities and counties. He represents a number of Marijuana Businesses and acts as a consultant to those entering the business in California, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Illinois, Florida, Canada and other states and countries with some form of marijuana laws. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on patient rights, the business and regulatory aspects of the marijuana industry. An attorney for over 32 years, he brings his expertise in regulatory compliance matters, business law, municipal law, real estate, commercial leasing, zoning, planning, construction and litigation to help his clients run successful and profitable businesses.
Charles has recently relocated to California and acts as a consultant to municipalities,
counties, trade organizations and businesses in California dealing with the existing and upcoming regulatory framework in this State. Charles is licensed to practice law in Colorado.
Editor-in-Chief, Cannabis & Tech Today
Charles Warner is the CEO of Innovative Properties Worldwide, a marketing agency and publishing company based out of Denver, Colorado. Charles is a powerhouse of experience and insight as well as a thoughtful storyteller who is focused on building audience engagement while inspiring and informing.
During his time as a gun team leader in the U.S. Army, Charles learned the importance of communicating effectively. These skills helped him to establish himself as the CEO of Mainstream Media International, producing official championship publications for the NCAA, PGA, NASCAR, and even the Super Bowl and World Series.
Charles’ motivational style and engaging public speaking abilities have culminated in a series of event presentations from media roundtables at CES to various other conferences and black-tie events.
Charles is now Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning publication Innovation & Tech Today. His passion for all things related to science, technology, and sustainability make him a valuable asset to any speaking lineup. Additionally, his strong credentials in cross-platform branding and marketing communications have helped fuel the growth of Innovative Properties Worldwide and its partners.
President, Clover Leaf University
Chloe Villano is the President and Founder of Clover Leaf University. Ms. Villano is a business consultant and entrepreneurial executive with 17 years of experience in business startups and turning companies toward success. Chloe is also the owner and founder of Clover Leaf Consulting®, working for years as one of the most sought-after cannabis business consultants in the industry. She has consulted for, developed, started, sold, and performed due-diligence for valuation on hundreds of successful MJ business nationally. After working with countless businesses such as dispensaries, centers, mass cultivation facilities, kitchens, labs, and cannabis brands, she has used her experience to influence the growth of the industry to be safe, regulated, and responsible. She has worked alongside numerous government agencies to assist with the implementation of business standards, educational standards, and business procedures.
CEO, Unity Rd.
Christian Hageseth is the CEO of Unity Rd. – one of the first concepts to bring the franchise business model to the cannabis industry. He entered the cannabis industry in 2009 with the launch of Green Man Cannabis in Denver. His decade-long career in cannabis is most notably marked by his record of perfect compliance and the profitable operating of dispensaries. He is a partner in five Colorado dispensaries and has built seven cultivation centers around the country. In addition to his own personal ventures, Christian has also worked as a cannabis advisor in 10 states, helping those operators establish compliant and profitable operations of their own. His distinction in the industry has led to numerous awards, including six Cannabis Cups and the 2015 High Times Trailblazer Award. His first years in the legal cannabis industry are outlined in his book “Big Weed.”
Managing Partner & Show Director, Leading Edge Expositions
Christine Ianuzzi brings an experienced skillset across several industries from technology to cannabis. She is a transition executive that has been a trigger for change and a leader in disruptive and progressive businesses in many blue-chip companies since 1987 including ABC Television, ABC Radio Networks and HBO.
In 2015 Christine joined her family of serial entrepreneurs who have owned and operated hundreds of trade shows within various industries for many decades – many in emerging business sectors. Today, Christine is a Managing Partner and Show Director for 3 trade shows that focus on the legalized cannabis industry: Cannabis World Congress & Business Expositions (CWCBExpos) in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston.
•National Hemp Association – Board Member
•10 Most Interesting Females in Cannabis, Weed Reader (February 2018)
•Distinguished Alumna Award, Baruch College (2018)
•New York University-Polytechnic Board of Trustees (2012 – 2015)
•Dedicated Alumna Award NYU-Poly Alumni Association 2011
•Honored with the NYU-Poly i²e Recognition Award 2011 (Invention, Innovation and Entrepreneurship)
•President of the Alumni Association of Polytechnic Institute of NYU (2009-2011)
•Member of the Polytechnic Institute of NYU International Board of Directors, Polytechnic Alumni Association 2007
•“35 Most Admired Engineers in Radio,” Radio Ink April 2007 & Radio Ink April 2009
CEO and co-founder of WebJoint software based in Los Angeles. Dell’Olio started the company in 2014 at 19 years old. He has since raised more than $4.5m in venture capital and has grown the company to become the largest provider of cannabis delivery software solutions with an innovative brand platform that is revolutionizing the industry.
President & CEO, Dixie Brands Inc.
Chuck Smith is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Dixie Brands Inc, the parent company of the Dixie and Synergy brands, as well as Therabis, and Aceso Wellness, two of the leading hemp supplement brands. As one of two original founders of Dixie, Chuck helped the company grow from a “garage operation” to a 27,000 square foot state-of-the-art, vertically integrated manufacturing facility that was the first-of-its-kind for the marijuana industry.
Prior to building Dixie Brands, Chuck was President of Bella Terra Realty Holdings where he oversaw all aspects of the Bella Terra Resort Development Company. He was also President of Sagebrush Realty Development and was responsible for developing, selling and managing residential condominium projects valued at over $85 million in revenue.
Chuck has over 25 years of experience in a variety of industries, including holding the position of Chief Financial Officer for a mid-sized retail apparel chain and has built and managed sales and marketing teams for private and publicly traded technology companies.
Chuck has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the Owen Graduate School at Vanderbilt University. Mr. Smith is married and lives in Denver, Colorado. He actively participates in a wide variety of philanthropic organizations and is an avid golfer.
Founder, Think BIG
CJ Wallace is an entrepreneur, actor, musician, and founder of Think BIG, a social movement and company that challenges humankind to discover how the cannabis and hemp plants can be used as tools for creativity, contemplation, and healing.
CJ started Think BIG as part of his search to understand his responsibility to the legacy of his late father, Christopher George Latore Wallace, also known as The Notorious B.I.G. CJ began a personal mission to understand who his father was—not as a legend, but as a man—and discover the connections they share. Through conversations with his father’s family members and friends, CJ learned that his dad had used cannabis as a tool to unlock creativity and his signature flow.
As an artist and writer, CJ himself had intuitively used cannabis to access his artistry. He also saw firsthand how this healing plant helped his little brother, Ryder, in his struggle with autism and his grandmother in her fight against breast cancer. Think BIG was born out of CJ’s interest in the potential of cannabis to empower, heal, and inspire.
In addition to his work on Think BIG, CJ is an accomplished actor and artist. In 2009, CJ portrayed his father in the film Notorious. He also worked alongside Will Ferrell in the 2010 comedy Everything Must Go and starred in the 2016 film Kicks. Additionally, he appeared in She’s Missing starring Eiza González and Lucy Fry which premiered at the 2019 Dublin International Film Festival.
Director of Client Services, Brightfield Group
Claire Grusin Kaufmann, MBA, is a nationally-known CBD and cannabis business and marketing strategist. She currently works as the Director of Client Services at the Brightfield Group – an industry-leading CBD and Cannabis market research firm. Claire has worked in the CBD and cannabis space for the past seven years. She has worked in house for vertically integrated cannabis companies and formally as the Northwest Regional Director for BDS Analytics. Claire has also recently served on the OLCC Recreational Marijuana Business Council. Her take on the future trends of the cannabis industry, and the questions facing marketers and entrepreneurs are sought out by national and international media, cannabis industry leaders, and key players in the traditional marketing world.Claire holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the Graziadio School of Management at Pepperdine University, where she focused on brand marketing and development.
Founder & President, House of Saka
After visiting Sonoma about a year before she moved to California to work in the cannabis industry, Cynthia met with popular wine makers and cannabis cultivators and knew she wanted to begin an infused wine company based on the historic significance of it throughout the world. Once the time was ripe for the regulatory landscape to allow for such a licensed product, she teamed up with innovative and powerful women throughout both the wine and cannabis industries in order to bring the vision to life. Her background in managing startups, fundraising, branding, and public relations brought an advantageous value to developing the sophisticated brand for the House of Saka.
Cynthia is also the Founder of the cannabis industry’s newswire and entrepreneur tech suite, AxisWire, as well as the Co-founder of Green Market Media which is currently most recognized for its cannabis finance news publication Green Market Report and its conference series Green Market Summit. She is also a Co-founder of the network Industry Power Women.
KCSA Strategic Communications acquired her leading cannabis and hemp public relations firm Salar Media Group after being in operations for three years. She is a council member on Forbes Communications Council as well as a contributing writer for Entrepreneur Media on the leading women and business of cannabis.
In 2018, Cynthia was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year and CEO of the Year by her peers through Cashinbis, she was named by High Times as one of the 100 Women in High Places and featured by Dope Magazine as one of the “Outstanding Women in Cannabis”. In 2019, she was named as one of 15 of the most Powerful and Innovative Women in Cannabis by Forbes, one of 20 Women set to Dominate the International Landscape in Cannabis by Benzinga as well as named as one of the 20 Most Influential Women in Cannabis by High Times as well as GreenDorphin.
Dale Gieringer PhD
Director, California NORML
Dr. Dale Gieringer received his Ph.D at Stanford on the topic of DEA drug regulation. He is the author of articles on marijuana and driving safety, drug testing, marijuana health mythology, the economics of marijuana legalization, and DEA “drug enforcement abuse.” He is a co-author of Marijuana Medical Handbook: Practical Guide to Therapeutic Uses of Marijuana.
Dr. Gieringer has been the state coordinator of California NORML since 1987. He is also director of the California Drug Policy Forum (DPFCA) and treasurer of the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance.
Dr. Gieringer has published research on medical marijuana usage, marijuana smoke harm reduction, potency testing, marijuana and driving safety, and drug urinalysis. He has testified before the legislature and in court on issues concerning personal use of marijuana. He was one of the original co-authors of California’s medical marijuana initiative, Prop. 215, and the proponent of Oakland’s Measure Z cannabis initiative in 2004.
In 2010, Dale was named High Times Freedom Fighter of the Year and in 2011 he received a Drug Policy Alliance Robert Randall Award for Citizen Action.
Dale Sky Jones
Executive Chancellor, Oaksterdam University
Dale is based in Oakland, CA and is focused on enhancing the debate for cannabis policy reform throughout the country since 2007. She took over as President & CEO of Oaksterdam University in 2012 to ensure the legacy of cannabis education after a crippling federal raid. Now OU is proud of hosting over 30,000 students from more than 30 countries becoming the most engaged activists in the world. Education is the foundation in establishing the political and social climate that will encourage cannabis policy reform. Quality training for the cannabis industry is her passion.
She served as the Chairwoman of the Board for the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform for seven years, stemming from her experience as the spokeswoman and legislative liaison for the Prop 19 Campaign in California. Named by Marie Claire as one of the most influential women in the industry; she has a voice in setting national priorities and is an expert commentator on current events.
Dale is a founding board member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, ReformCA and Californians to Regulate Medical Marijuana. Within her mission for safety through self-regulation, she helped establish the Medical Cannabis Safety Council in early 2008 with cannabis industry stakeholders, which spawned several safety programs.
Dale is focused on overall civil rights issues, while developing avenues through which patients, doctors, providers, and regulating authorities can be more confident in the medical cannabis continuum, from the plant to the patient. Her remaining time is spent in legislative and local government meetings, attending various research and policy conferences, local community meetings and debates. Dale and her husband, veteran cannabis crusader Jeff Jones, stay busy keeping up with their young sons, Jackson and Jesse, and new daughter the mighty Quinn.
President and CTO, Strainprint Technologies Ltd
As President and Chief Technology Officer at Strainprint David is responsible for the on-going development of the Strainprint application and emerging analytic products. David works directly with the company’s developers, customers, partners, physicians and clinicians to deliver on the vision of a crowd sourced medical cannabis tracking ecosystem. David has a broad technical and business background with over 20 years of experience managing product and engineering teams for major multi-national technology companies. David has spent the last 5 years working in the medical cannabis industry and has experience working in commercial cultivation and distribution in Holland, Jamaica and Canada. David has a BCom from York University and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Windsor.
David Friedman is the President of VividGro, an AgTech company that provides hardware and software to indoor growers looking to create the most efficient indoor connected farms. Friedman is also the founder of the Panther Funds which have invested over $10 Million in 20 cannabis companies. Friedman is the former CEO of MJIC (now Manifest7) and co-creator of the current algorithm for the Marijuana Stock Index for MJIC. Friedman is an investment and operation professional executive with over 25 years in venture capital, mergers & acquisitions and corporate finance.
David Ikenna Adams
Associate General Counsel, Eaze
As Associate General Counsel, David leads Eaze’s efforts in Litigation and Privacy, and counsels all aspects of the company on risk, working closely with teams in operations, marketing, sales, product, engineering, and analytics to provide sound, business-focused guidance.
Prior to joining Eaze, David spent 6 years as a litigation associate at Latham & Watkins LLP, where he represented clients in a broad range of subjects, focusing on commercial, privacy, securities, and white collar defense matters. David graduated from University of Virginia School of Law in 2012.
Managing Partner, Archytas Ventures
Prior to co-founding Archytas Ventures, Mr. Kivitz was a Managing Partner at Alta Verde Group, a company he co-founded to acquire distressed real estate assets resulting from the housing market crash in 2008.
Mr. Kivitz successfully grew the firm to over $50 million in annual sales, and was recognized as the #3 Fastest Growing Private Company in 2015 by The LA Business Journal. Mr. Kivitz was responsible for overseeing all deal acquisitions, asset management, and financial guidance for the company and its subsidiaries. During his tenure at Alta Verde Group, Mr. Kivitz structured and closed in excess of $250 million of land financing, debt, and equity to achieve scale for the company.
Prior to co-founding Alta Verde Group in 2008, he worked in the Fund Investments Group at Hamilton Lane Advisors and the Structured Finance Group at Capital Source REIT.
Mr. Kivitz received his BBA from The George Washington University and was previously an elected member of the GWREA.
Associate Attorney, Vicente Sederberg
David Kramer is an attorney in Vicente Sederberg’s Los Angeles office and a member of the firm’s Corporate and Business and Hemp and Cannabinoids practice groups. His practice focuses on helping commercial cannabis and hemp clients navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape, and assisting licensed operators, brands, cannabis-focused funds, and ancillary cannabis companies throughout the U.S. execute a wide range of corporate transactions. David also works with clients located outside the U.S. investing in, and licensing cannabis-related technology to, North American cannabis and hemp markets. David is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences.
Prior to joining Vicente Sederberg, David was an attorney at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, where he litigated intellectual property, antitrust, and False Claims Act cases. David graduated Order of the Coif from the UCLA School of Law, and also holds a Master’s degree in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from New York University.
Cannabis Compliance Director, HdL Companies
While working for the City of Oakland, David became the first Tax Administrator in the Country to successfully tax, audit and regulate medical cannabis businesses. David is one of the state’s most recognized experts in cannabis horticulture, processing and dispensary operations. He uses his experience to assist local and state agencies in developing cannabis policies for regulation, compliance, auditing and economic development. He continues to provide technical support to the League of California Cities, the Police Chiefs Association, Rural County Representatives of California, and the California State Association of Counties. In addition, David works collaboratively with the Department of Consumers Affairs, Department of Food & Agriculture, Department of Health Services and the State Board of Equalization on implementing best practices for regulating the Cannabis Industry.
David Wood PhD
Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais
David Wood is a partner and patent agent in our Calgary office. David practices intellectual property and regulatory law. David is co-chair of the Borden Ladner Gervais Cannabis Industry Focus Group and his regulatory practice is specific to the Canadian cannabis industry.
David has advised federal cannabis licensees, pre-license entities, technology companies, and other domestic and foreign participants in the Canadian cannabis industry in relation to the Cannabis Act and its regulations, including the Cannabis Regulations and the Industrial Hemp Regulations (the “IHR”).
David has experience with chemical, biochemical, information, and mechanical technologies relating to cannabis, medical devices, imaging, oil and gas, and other industries.
During his doctoral work, David characterized a complex between DNA and metal ions using a number of biochemical and biophysical techniques, including surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, quenching of DNA-tethered fluorophores, and ethidium-based fluorescence assays. David’s education in structural biochemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, plant biochemistry, and natural products chemistry provides a strong technical background for advising clients in the Canadian cannabis industry in relation to both intellectual property and regulatory law.
In addition to his technical background, David’s understanding of the federal Cannabis Act, Cannabis Regulations, the IHR and other applicable law, and the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act, and his familiarity with the Canadian cannabis industry and its participants, each add value when advising domestic and foreign clients in relation to developing or licensing technology related to the Canadian cannabis industry.
Principal, Guske & Company, Inc.
Dean Guske has over 30 years of experience in the areas of taxation, accounting and business consulting. The value he brings to his clients lies in his ability to identify and understand complex issues and how they relate to businesses and their individual owners. He has a passion for entrepreneurship. This allows him to effectively serve others pursuing their small business dreams whatever they happen to be.
He has deep experience in all facets of real estate and businesses related to real estate. His clients have included everything from development and construction to brokerage and rental. Because he has also participated in these businesses as an owner, the impact of his hands on experience sets him apart from others who have only dealt with these issues in theory.
Dean has significant experience in the emerging cannabis business. Serving several hundred clients in the cannabis industry he is at the forefront of developing successful tax strategies for industry entrepreneurs.
U.S. Army Veteran; Representative, Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance
Dev is a United States Army Infantry Veteran from the island of Guam who served in Afghanistan. While down range Dev was injured in combat resulting in various chronic conditions that he now holistically treats with medical cannabis. Dev is an experienced cannabis cultivator, veteran-cannabis advocate, pacific-island Cannabis entrepreneur, budtender and now represents Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance passionately in the Southern California region.
Managing Director, Silverleaf Venture Partners
Doug has over three decades of experience as a principal investor in private equity and real estate. Completing his first transaction at the age of 17, his career has allowed him to complete over 150 transactions in the last 5 years. Over the years Doug developed a keen sense of market cycles/timing as seen in the short selling of a basket of home builder stocks in 2007/8 followed by the acquisition and exit of several large non-performing loan portfolios as well as platted residential lots in 2009-2015 with institutional capital and high net worth investors.
Douglas graduated from the University of South Florida with a BS in Finance and has been a licensed real estate broker for over 30 years. A consummate entrepreneur, originator; deal maker Doug has invested substantial personal capital in the cannabis industry. Silverleaf Venture Partners has completed 20 transactions in the last 15 months and continues create value by finding unique opportunities whereby they can lend their resources, knowledge and experience. As a result, Doug developed a strong network of industry executives and insiders which has led to multiple outstanding investments for Silverleaf
Dr. Dung Trinh MD
President and Founder, Physicians CBD Council
Dr. Trinh is the President and Founder of the Physicians CBD Council, an organization who’s primary mission is to advocate for cannabis medical research while educating patients and consumers about the potential health outcomes of cannabis use. The Council offers a Medical Cannabis Education Course at PhysicianCBDcourse.com to educate those interested in learning the science and health potential of cannabis from leading healthcare professionals.
Dr. Trinh currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Irvine Clinical Research, and he is dedicated to improving brain health through medical research and education. He is a board member of Alzheimer’s Orange County, the largest non-profit organization in Orange County dedicated to taking care of patients and family members with dementia.
He is a well-known expert in speaking on preventive health including brain health, Alzheimer’s risk reduction, inflammation, ketosis, intermittent fasting, and cannabis. He has shared educational and medical knowledge on television, community groups, Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, religious centers, local colleges, medical centers, and senior centers. He served as clinical assistant professor of medicine for UC Irvine School of Medicine for over 15 years.
Dr Trinh has been awarded the Orange County Physician of Excellence Award for 10 consecutive years between 2006-2016 prior to his retirement as the medical director of MemorialCare Medical Foundation’s outpatient Innovation Center in 2017 in order to focus on his medical missions work and public speaking.
He came to the United States as a war refugee when he was 5 years old and was rescued by a US Chinook helicopter a day before the Fall of Saigon.
Senior Editor, Cannabis Now Magazine
Ellen Holland is the senior editor at Cannabis Now and has also been featured in The San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState. She served as the chief editor of the Big Book of Buds Greatest Hits as well as This Bud’s for You with the legendary guru of ganja, Ed Rosenthal.
Deputy Director, California NORML
Ellen Komp has been a hemp/marijuana activist since 1991. She began in Los Angeles where she helped plan quarterly hemp rallies and volunteered for LA NORML after being elected to the California NORML board of directors in 1992. She edited the 9th edition of The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer and was a volunteer petitioner for the California Hemp Initiative (1993, 1994) and Proposition 215 (1995). She worked as an advertising salesperson and editor at HempWorld magazine, the first trade journal for the hemp industry.
In 1997/98 Komp served on the San Luis Obispo County Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board, which advised the county Drug and Alcohol Services agency on community standards and practices. She also co-founded The 215 Reporter, the first journal covering California’s medical marijuana law and its aftermath.
In 1999, Komp became a Program Associate at The Lindesmith Center in San Francisco (now Drug Policy Alliance). As Deputy Director of Community Outreach & Communications she planned and promoted conferences and a forum series on drug war issues, and sat on various committees at the San Francisco public health department. In 2001, she developed a website to assist attorneys in medical marijuana defenses for the DPA Office of Legal Affairs in Oakland and was named High Times’s Freedom Fighter of the Month.
In 2002, Komp moved to Humboldt County where she worked for the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project in Garberville. She sat on the Humboldt County medical marijuana task force, resulting in a county ordinance to implement SB420.
Komp has a B.S. in Biochemistry (Penn State, 1980) and worked in advertising and publishing in Los Angeles. She has contributed articles and op-eds to various publications such as High Times, In These Times, Alternet, O’Shaughnessy’s, California NORML Report, Eureka Times-Standard and Cannabis Culture.
Attorney, Greenbridge Corporate Counsel
Since 2012, Ellen has counseled entrepreneurs, start-ups, and established businesses spanning a wide spectrum of the legal cannabis industry, including cultivators, edibles manufacturers, retailers, consulting and management firms, consumer electronics manufacturers, agricultural equipment manufacturers, software companies, IP holding companies, trade associations, non-profit advocacy organizations, and companies developing cryptocurrency and blockchain projects.
She takes pride in offering thorough, creative, and expertly tailored legal advice to position clients to operate smoothly and successfully in a very complex and dynamic industry. With a diverse background in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, Ellen’s skill set and experience are rooted in general corporate transactions, securities compliance, corporate finance, energy and infrastructure transactions, state and local regulatory compliance, and legislative and policy work.
Previously, Ellen practiced at a boutique law firm advising clients on the organization, formation, and operation of domestic and offshore private investment funds, including capital raising, compliance with securities and commodities laws, and marketing and investor relations. She also has extensive experience in the California legislature performing legislative and policy analysis, conducting media and local, state, and national stakeholder outreach, and organizing community events that focus on strategic advocacy of environmental justice, anti-poverty, and women’s rights and equality solutions.
Ellen is a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, California Cannabis Industry Association, and Drug Policy Alliance. She earned her J.D. at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
U.S. Army Veteran; Founder & CEO, Veterans Cannabis Coalition
Eric Goepel is the founder and CEO of the Veterans Cannabis Coalition, a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to ending cannabis prohibition and ensuring that the Department of Veteran Affairs researches and develops cannabis-based medications.
Eric grew up in southern California, enlisting in the U.S. Army at the age of 18. He served for seven years, providing communications and intelligence support in the special operations community. During that time, Eric deployed twice to Iraq and once to the Philippines. After the end of his enlistment, Eric worked as a defense contractor in Afghanistan before returning to the U.S. to complete his bachelor’s degree. Through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Eric was able to attend and graduate from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in political science.
During and following college, Eric worked in various policy analysis and advocacy roles in Washington, D.C., including as a legislative fellow in the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
It was during his work on federal opioid response policies that Eric became convinced of the need to make cannabis available as a pain management alternative to everyone, especially veterans at risk of suicide and overdose. After months of discussion with fellow Iraq veteran and D.C. hand, Bill Ferguson, Eric and Bill decided to strike out independently and create the Veterans Cannabis Coalition specifically bring the veterans community together to effectively push for cannabis reform.
Today, VCC works in Washington, D.C., California, and with other veteran leaders around the country, to organize, educate, and advocate on behalf of veterans and all patients. Veterans issues are American issues–the physical, mental, and social challenges in the community may be amplified, but they are not unique. Veterans offer a way to unite fragmented groups around a message of compassion and access–something that VCC intends to ensure happens across the country.
Head of Strategic Partnerships, Dama Financial
Eric Kaufman is a strategic business development and financial professional with more than 20 years of experience building businesses, as well as creating and cultivating unique revenue streams within the construct of going concerns. Prior to joining Dama Financial as Head of Strategic Sales, Eric was a Vice President, Financial Advisor at Bernstein, a global research and financial wealth management firm.
Before this, Eric served as the Business Development Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa for Euronet Worldwide, a global provider of electronic payment and transaction processing solutions for financial institutions, retailers, service providers and individual consumers. Responsible for launching new business lines across existing distribution platforms, Eric spent more than 2 years living in and working across Central and Eastern Europe.
Also available is Richie Thorne, former Federal bank regulator who oversaw the first CO bank to serve cannabis businesses.
Erica McBride Stark
Executive Director, National Hemp Association
Erica McBride is the Executive Director of the National Hemp Association and the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council. She has years of experience in legislative advocacy, industrial hemp education, and non-profit administration. Erica was instrumental in enacting legislation in Pennsylvania and is proud to be part of a team growing more than 120 acres this year.
Evan has more than 18 years of experience assisting private and public companies in a variety of industries including Cannabis, Financial Services, Healthcare, Technology, Media, and Entertainment. His areas of expertise include: strategy, compliance, enterprise risk management, business process, internal controls, audit, governance, and IPO readiness. Evan also has experience founding and running an early stage venture capital firm and a branding and marketing agency dedicated to the cannabis industry. Prior to his involvement in the cannabis industry, Evan spent 12 years with a Big Four firm, advising Fortune 100 and emerging growth companies on various aspects of governance, risk, compliance, operations and strategy.
Founder & CEO, Elevated Agency
Farley is a high-performance, motivated, and energetic professional with three decades of proven sales and marketing experience. As the agency founder, Farley has built his reputation as a knowledgeable, versatile, and respected marketing and sales professional who provides sound strategic advice to small, medium, and large organizations.
At the root of his methodology, his goal oriented, consultative, customer-centric business model drives the EA Team to provide their clients with definitive, measurable results and impeccable customer service at all times.
Prior to founding Elevated Agency, Farley successfully co-founded and launched MG Magazine – the Cannabis Industry’s leading B2B publication. It was there where he was inspired by the stories and motivation of the clients he worked with to provide effective and affordable marketing solutions.
He has infused Elevated Agency with his passion to provide cannabis and CBD brands innovative and creative marketing solutions to help deliver significant financial growth and greater brand recognition.
SVP of Technology, DYME
Felipe Recalde shares a vision for an industry-leading supply chain technology. Felipe developed RISE Logistics by leveraging leading data, analytics, and machine learning technology to develop the leading distribution technology platform for the cannabis industry. Felipe also has advisor and investor roles across the cannabis ecosystem in tissue culture, agricultural sensory platforms, and delivery technology. A lifelong technology geek and advocate of the “hacker” approach to problem-solving, Felipe has been in the cannabis industry for over 20 years and in distribution and delivery logistics for different industries for over 15 years. In addition to his operational and advisory roles, Felipe serves on board of multiple associations that help drive policy and legislation as the industry transitions.
Founder, FiveTen Wellness
Fleesie Hubbard is a public health professional with more than 15 years of experience in clinical research and community engagement. Her diverse portfolio in academia includes management of specialty research including novice drug therapy trials, investigational new device studies, and behavioral health interventions to support a variety of medical disciplines. Fleesie aims to progressively impact discovery-based medicine practices through advocacy for cannabis therapeutics in combination with personalized medicine tools and integrated care methods.
Fleesie earned her undergraduate degree from Morgan State University and Master of Science from University of Baltimore. Her passion for continued learning led her to complete additional coursework via Johns Hopkins University, University of Geneva, and Harvard School of Public Health. She is currently pursuing post-graduate credentials at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine.
Driven by a desire to further public understanding of cannabis therapeutics, in 2016 Fleesie founded FiveTen Wellness, a holistic health organization focused on cannabis education, advancing clinical research and building community partnerships. Her professional memberships include Americans for Safe Access, the Minority Cannabis Business Association, and Women Grow.
Fleesie has visited nearly 40 countries and has coordinated medical humanitarian missions in Fiji, Vietnam and Uganda. At home and abroad, she is passionate about contributing to culturally-diverse, patient-centered, and sustainable community health programming.
Chief Executive Officer, truCrowd
A graduate of the John Marshall Law School, Florence has been a successful business consultant for over 12 years. She has an MBA with a focus on Entrepreneurship from DePaul University and received a BBA from Howard University. Florence is the Chief Executive Officer of Trucrowd Illinois, Inc. and Chief Operating Officer of truCrowd and Fundanna, both Federal Equity Crowdfunding platforms.
Founder and CEO, Polsinelli Public Affairs
Frederico Polsinelli is the Founder & CEO of Polsinelli Public Affairs (PPA), which is a full-service strategic communications and brand management agency based in Lower Manhattan, NYC. PPA partners with clients to shape companies and build reputations around the world.
Founded in 2006, the agency partners with the leading names in business and industry to achieve goals; works across a wide range of market sectors and performs an array of strategic communications services such as public relations and affairs, lobbying, brand management, business development, social media and digital advertising, campaign and project management and more. PPA takes an integrative approach to strategic communications and are experts in creating and implementing targeted campaigns that drive sustained growth.
Founder & CEO, Magical Brands
Garyn Angel is an award-winning inventor and philanthropist from Port Richey, Florida. His work with politicians has guided international cannabis law reform, and his contributions to legal marijuana landed him a spot on the exclusive CNBC NEXT List of global business visionaries.
As CEO and founder of Magical.com, Garyn created the first self-contained herbal extraction device for at-home use: MagicalButter—a machine that takes cannabis from flower to high-quality infusions with consistency, allowing patients of medical cannabis simple, safe and smoke-free alternatives. Garyn also serves as Chief Strategy Officer for ANANDA Scientific a team of top scientists developing novel nano delivery vehicles for cannabinoids and other plant-derived compounds.
His leadership extends beyond business. Garyn founded the Magical Creative Center an educational program for engineers and entrepreneurs in collaboration with the People’s Republic of China and writes for Entrepreneur.
Chairman, National Hemp Association; President, Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council; Former Co-Founder and President, Canopy HIP Developments LLC
Geoffrey W. Whaling is Co-Founder and former President of Canopy Growth’s HIP Developments LLC, with responsibility for Canopy’s entry into the U.S Hemp market. He has volunteered for five years to advance the hemp crop and serves as Chair of the National Hemp Association, the nation’s largest Hemp advocacy group based in Washington D.C. Whaling has worked with more than 18 States, stakeholder groups such as NASDA, COGR, NFU, Farm Bureau and American Farm Association, US Senators, Members of Congress and their staff to pass federal legislation legalizing hemp as a commodity crop. He is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the National Farmers and Founding Board Member of the Coalition for Access Now and Athletes 4 Care, the two largest CBD advocacy groups in the United States.
Born in Canada, Geoff Whaling’s areas of expertise are wide ranging given the diversity of his government, business, entrepreneurial and philanthropic work. A profound sense of “wanting to serve” remains an integral part in his life.
President, Women Grow; CEO, GVM Communications, Inc.
Gia Morón is the President for Women Grow. She oversees the company’s day-to-day operations, internal and external communications, education programming, and strategic partnerships. She began working with Women Grow headquarters in January 2017 as Director of Communications, after transitioning from the Women Grow New York City market in 2016. With 25 years of experience in public relations, in 2012 Gia launched GVM Communications, Inc., a public relations, brand and business development firm. Her client base ranges from small to mid-sized businesses, non-profit organizations, entrepreneurs, authors and celebrity clients. Prior to launching her firm and working with Women Grow, she was a Media Relations Officer in the Corporate Communications department for fifteen years at the Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
While at Goldman Sachs, Gia oversaw various business areas from Private Equity, Urban Investment, Investment Research and Technology to the firm’s organizational focus on Corporate Engagement, Diversity, Recruiting, Human Resources and Corporate Services. Before joining Goldman Sachs, Gia was Director of Promotions and Publicity for six years at The Fremantle Corporation, an international television distribution and production company. Outside of her professional accomplishments, she continuously works with a number of non-profit organizations in New York City and mentors up-and-coming young women entrepreneurs across the country to South Africa. Gia currently resides in her hometown of Brooklyn, NY, with her daughter.
General Manager, Atrium
Chief Advocacy Officer, Canopy Growth
In her role as Chief Advocacy Officer at Canopy Growth, Hilary is responsible for driving patient advocacy efforts worldwide, executing the Company’s global corporate social responsibility strategy, and leading the implementation of best practices for diversity & inclusion.
Recently, she championed an initiative focusing on the role of cannabis in addressing the opioid overdose crisis and other substance use disorders. Canopy Growth donated $2.5 million to the University of British Columbia, and the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction donated an additional $500,000 to establish the Canopy Growth Professorship of Cannabis Science which will examine the potential utility of cannabis in addressing the opioid crisis.
She regularly consults with various government bodies, providing assistance with navigating and shaping legalization related to cannabis.
In 1997, Hilary founded the British Columbia Compassion Club Society (BCCCS), the first medical cannabis dispensary in Canada. In addition to providing medical cannabis therapies, the BCCCS offers subsidized natural healthcare services in its Wellness Centre, dramatically improving the health and quality of life for thousands of critically and chronically ill Canadians. She has been dedicated to serving patients for over 20 years and continues to be committed to breaking down the barriers to access to medical cannabis for all Canadian patients.
Hilary is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award, acknowledging her for making a significant contribution to Canadian society for her work with medical cannabis.
CEO, Aphria Inc.
Irwin Simon is a business executive who founded The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., a leading organic and natural products company in 1993. As Founder, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Irwin Simon led Hain Celestial for more than 25 years and grew the business to $3 billion in net sales with operations in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East providing consumers with A Healthier Way of Life™.
Irwin Simon has more than 30 years of business experience spanning many domestic and international leadership and operating roles. Prior to Hain Celestial, Irwin Simon was employed in various marketing and sales positions at Slim-Fast Foods Company, a dietary supplement foods company, and The Häagen-Dazs Company, a frozen dessert company, then a division of Grand Metropolitan, a multi-national luxury brands company.
Aphria Inc. (TSX: APHA and NYSE: APHA) is a leading global cannabis company driven by an unrelenting commitment to their people, the planet, product quality and innovation. Focusing on untapped opportunities and backed by the latest technologies, Aphria Inc. is committed to bringing breakthrough innovation to the global cannabis market. Rooted in the founders’ multi-generational expertise in commercial agriculture, Aphria Inc. drives sustainable long-term shareholder value through a diversified approach to innovation, strategic partnerships and global expansion, with a presence in more than 10 countries across 5 continents.
Jazmin Aguiar Loya
President, The Working Group
Jazmin Aguiar brings close to a decade’s worth of experience to the cannabis industry with a specific emphasis on regulation, advocacy, licensing, strategy, and social equity. A bi-lingual business development expert within the national Spanish-speaking markets, Jazmin used her experience as a Los Angeles native to bridge the gap between business owners and government officials within California and across the border. Awarded one of the first social equity licenses within the City of Los Angeles, Jazmin understands the challenges and obstacles facing the average applicant. Jazmin provides valuable expertise, consulting and support throughout the entire application process by helping empower, shape and streamline processes.
Jeannette Zanipatin Esq.
California State Director, Drug Policy Alliance
Jeannette Zanipatin is the California State Director for the Drug Policy Policy Alliance (DPA) in Los Angeles, CA. Her focus includes criminal justice reform, drug policy and the intersection between criminal law and immigration law. She was the former Legislative Staff Attorney for MALDEF the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Sacramento, CA where she was instrumental in developing MALDEF’s legislative and budget policy portfolio in the areas of education, immigrant rights, civil rights, labor, health and human services, language access and voting rights.
Prior to joining DPA, Ms. Zanipatin worked for over sixteen years in Sacramento working on a wide range of legislation and budget proposals including bills on ICE/Police Collaboration (CA Values Act, TRUTH Act, and the TRUST Act), labor protections for non-citizens (Document Abuse, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death suits), expanding access to higher education for undocumented students under AB 540 and the California DREAM Act, and securing the passage of critical legislation to allow undocumented immigrants access to a driver’s license. Additionally, Ms. Zanipatin is a practicing immigration lawyer with over twenty years of experience representing individuals in deportation defense, asylum law and immigration relief under the Violence Against Women’s Act. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley where she received an B.A. in Legal Studies and Seattle University School of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate. Ms. Zanipatin is licensed to practice in Washington State (inactive), California and before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Zanipatin is also active in her community and serves as the Vice Chair of the Board for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ) and as a Trustee at the Episcopal School of Los Angeles (ESLA).
Attorney, Greenbridge Corporate Counsel
Jesse Stout advises cannabis industry clients, including supply-chain and ancillary businesses, in transactional law, general corporate matters, corporate structuring, entity formation, state and local licensing, regulatory compliance, and legislative and policy work.
Jesse has extensive experience in cannabis policy, legislation, and regulation. In 2015 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors appointed him to a three-year term on the San Francisco Cannabis State Legalization Task Force, advising the Board on implementing Proposition 64 through local legislation (effective January 2018). For 2017, he chaired the Legislative Committee of the California Cannabis Industry Association. Previously, Jesse served as executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC), leading the organization’s successful efforts to pass state laws protecting seriously ill Rhode Islanders’ safe access to medical cannabis. Jesse created a grassroots network of patients and caregivers, helped their voices be heard in the legislature and the media, and personally testified before legislative committees in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He conducted RIPAC’s public education campaign, organizing accredited trainings for doctors, nurses, police, and lawyers including the RI Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and RI Office of the Public Defender. While working with legislators to craft bills, Jesse closely liaised with the RI Department of Health to implement the Medical Marijuana Program.
Previously, Jesse served as policy director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC), an activist law office dedicated to advancing civil and human rights of formerly incarcerated people. He led the organization’s state and local lobbying efforts, tracking hundreds of bills and connecting formerly incarcerated people with legislators.
Jessie Kempf’s journey with medicinal cannabis began when she relocated to Orange County four years ago and took the California bar exam while undergoing chemo for an autoimmune disease. Upon asking the gentleman next to her what area of law he intended to practice, he replied, “I want to be a cannabis attorney!” By end of the exam, Jessie had applied for her medical MJ card. Soon she was leading the double life, working as a transactional real estate lawyer and helping CBD and THC companies on the side. She would ultimately join forces with Dena Putnam of Leafwize; their first product line, “Mend,” features high-dose, full-spectrum CBD tinctures blended with select terpenes and herbs.
Attorney, Guske & Company, Inc.
James G. Hunt is with Guske & Company, Inc. He has extensive experience in advising individuals, non-profit organizations, closely held and public companies on federal and multi-state issues and compliance.
Mr. Hunt is a frequent speaker on state and federal tax issues impacting the Cannabis Industry and currently represents clients in all sectors of the cannabis industry. He is the past Chair of the State and Local Tax Committee of the Washington State Bar Association.
Mr. Hunt’s prior roles have included: practicing law at a leading boutique firm; managing federal and state audits and litigation as Director of Tax Controversy for Washington Mutual/Chase; managing complex state tax audits for Amazon.com and GE Capital; and, holding leadership positions in Big 4 and mid-market accounting firms.
Mr. Hunt holds a J.D. from the University of Iowa, a B.S. from Northern Illinois University. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Washington. He holds a CPA certificate from the State of Illinois.
Co-Founder, Saucey Farms & Extracts
Jim Jones is a Hip Hop Icon, Television Star, Entrepreneur, and Entertainment Mogul under Roc Nation Management. He is known for successful hits such as “We Fly High” and “Pop Champagne” along with starring television roles on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop,” “Chrissy & Mr. Jones,” “Vow or Never” and most recently “Marriage Bootcamp Family Edition” via WEtv. Jim recently starred in Irv “Gotti” Lorenzo’s anthology series “TALES” on BET.
Jim is the owner of Saucey Extracts, The Richmond Roughriders AFL football team, VL-mobile communication service and Vampire Life Clothing as well as the VampBerry beverage brand.
Wasted Talent released April 2018 through EMPIRE, received significant praise from critics – the Howard Stern Show called the album a “masterpiece,” and the Joe Budden Podcast, as well as Complex, said Jones has one of the top albums of 2018. His most recent album El Capo was released this spring through EMPIRE in full collaboration with the Heatmakerz. Diddy said Jim Jones has elevated himself as an emcee through El Capo. Jim has a significant social media following, with over 5 million followers on Twitter and Instagram combined and is dedicated to various humanitarian efforts have displayed his affinity for giving back to the inner city youth community through VAMP Cares.
Western Regional Manager , Desert Aire
Jim McKillip is the Western Regional Manager for Desert Aire, a manufacturer of dehumidification and indoor environmental control equipment. Jim has been an HVAC manufacturer, consulting mechanical engineer and an HVAC manufacturer’s representative. He is a published author and sought-after speaker especially to meetings and seminars conducted by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); and the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE).
Staff Writer, Cannabis Now
Jimi Devine has been involved in cannabis reform since 2005 and has worked in the Berkeley cannabis industry since 2009 when he moved to California from Lynn, Massachusetts. Currently serving as Staff Writer at Cannabis Now, you can also find his writings on cannabis products and policy in LA Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The Hill, The Chronicle of High Education, L.A. Weekly, Marijuana.com, 7×7 Magazine, The East Bay Express, Leafly, Civilized and in Ed Rosenthal’s recent book This Bud’s for You.
President and CEO, Safety Harbor Capital
John is the President and CEO of Safety Harbor Capital, an investment advisory firm incorporated in 2014. John recently started the First Cannabis Fund, LLC, a Private Hedge Fund of 20 cannabis stocks hedged with S&P index options. He is responsible for the oversight and management of the fund. John applies his proprietary trading system for stock selection for the fund including entry and exit points. His areas of expertise include investment portfolio design and management, risk management, trading, economics and financial markets.
Since 1995 John has been providing clients with comprehensive wealth management solutions. At American Express Financial Advisors, John specialized in asset allocation, portfolio management and estate planning. In 1998 John began developing his proprietary stock selection system at Terra Nova trading as Head Trader of the largest direct access firm in the nation. In 2003 John Traded crude oil during the first Iraq war and in 2005 began writing his investment journal, The Compass Online covering world markets, US economy and US equities. In 2007, John founded Safety Harbor Kids a California nonprofit providing education programs to disadvantaged youth.
John is an NASD Series 65 Investment Advisor and previously held multiple designations including: NASD Series 3 Commodities Broker, NASD Series 55 Equities Trader, NASD Series 24 Managing Principle, NASD Series 7 General Securities Representative, NASD Series 63 State Securities License. John also has a BA Economics from California State University at Northridge.
Dr. John Yoder PhD
Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, University of California - Davis
John Yoder is a Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of California-Davis. He is developing agricultural systems that rely on natural plant defense systems rather than synthetic agricultural chemical for crop productivity. While his current work is agriculturally focused, John received his PhD in Medical Genetics from Stanford University dissecting the genetics of the human herpes viruse. He switched his research interests from medical genetics to plant genetics while working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Koln Germany and later in the Soviet Union Institute of Genetics in Moscow, Russia. He continues to be interested in both human and plant biology and is fascinated with how the simple Cannabis plant has impacted human society. Together with colleagues at UCSD, UCI and UCLA, Dr. Yoder is developing an on-line undergraduate course on “Cannabis sativa; The Plant and Its Impacts on People”.
Editor in Chief, Green Entrepreneur
Jonathan Small is editor-in-chief of Green Entrepreneur, a website and magazine, focused on the cannabis industry. He is also an award-winning journalist, producer, and podcast host of the Green Entrepreneur podcast and Write About Now. He had held editing positions at Glamour, Stuff, and Twist Magazines. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, and Good Housekeeping. Previously, Jonathan served as VP of Content for the GSN (the Game Show Network) and Break Media, where he produced original digital video series.
Founder, Lighthouse Dispensary
Director of Communications & Outreach, California Cannabis Industry Association
Josh Drayton began his career in Humboldt County, California where he gained invaluable education and experience as a political organizer. His experience served him well as he went on to coordinate and execute campaigns throughout California, in addition to working for the past two Pro Tems of the Senate.
Josh’s success in bridging the information gap between local policymakers and the diverse, fast growing cannabis industry has been fundamental in gauging mutually beneficial regulations that will shape the future of Cannabis in California. He is currently Communications and Outreach Director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, an association that collectively represents over 460 industry businesses.
Co-Founder, Pistil Point Cannabis
Josh Schmidt was raised in his family’s hospitality businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area and started his professional career at a young age. After attending business school at Boston University Josh opened and operated one of California’s first licensed medical cannabis dispensaries, Trichome Healing Caregivers in Van Nuys, CA. After operating this business successfully for half a decade Mr. Schmidt made the move into commercial cannabis production by sourcing the best cannabis genetics in the world. Mr. Schmidt’s travels took him to India, Thailand, Nepal, Morocco, Spain, Canada and Amsterdam where he built close relationships with leading cannabis breeders.
Josh is responsible for introducing some of these genetics to the California market in over 250k square feet of cultivation space that he owned and operated allowing him to build a large and qualified team of expert growers and laborers. Mr. Schmidt co-founded Pistil Point, the largest indoor producer in the State of Oregon and sits on the board of Colcana one of the first entries the medical cannabis program in the South American nation of Colombia with operations commencing in mid 2019.
President & Co-Founder, SC Labs
Josh Wurzer is Co-Founder and President of SC Laboratories, an analytical laboratory specializing in regulatory compliance and quality control testing for the Cannabis industry. With facilities in California and Oregon, SC Labs was founded in 2010 and is a market leader in servicing the Cannabis industry. He also serves on the board of directors of Envirocann, an organization that provides compliance and quality certifications for Cannabis producers and manufacturers of Cannabis products. He serves on the USP council of experts for cannabis, the AOAC working group on cannabis, ACIL cannabis committee, as well as multiple cannabis trade association committees.
Josh received his Bachelors degree in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. Josh began testing Cannabis in 2009 as the laboratory director for the first cannabis testing lab and has since overseen the testing of hundreds of thousands of unique cannabis.
Partner, Zuber Lawler
Joshua Masur is a partner at the law firm Zuber Lawler, which serves clients throughout the world from offices in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Chicago, and New York. He focuses on patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret litigation. For nearly two decades, Mr. Masur has represented clients in federal and state trial and appeals courts, before the International Trade Commission, and in private arbitration and mediation. He has worked extensively in the cannabis industry.
Mr. Masur has achieved highly favorable outcomes in all of his jury trials and arbitrations. He has been selected for inclusion in THE BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA® since 2017. He earned his B.A. at Columbia University, and earned his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a James Kent Scholar.
Co-Founder & Senior Advisor, Colorado Hemp Works; Principal, Hemp Ace International
Joy Beckerman has been involved in the hemp movement for over a quarter of a century, and her extraordinary passion for this versatile, valuable crop is contagious! Joy is the Principal at Hemp Ace International, a Seattle-based consulting, legal support, and expert witness firm serving the global community; Co-Founder and Senior Advisor to Colorado Hemp Works, America’s first post-prohibition hemp grain processing facility; as well as host of the popular podcast Hemp Barons. Among many non-profit leadership roles, Joy is the Executive Vice President of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, wherein she also serves as Chair of the Federal Lobbying Committee; as well as Vice President of the U.S. Hemp Authority™, which created the first independent, third-party verified Certification Program for the hemp dietary supplement, food, and cosmetic industries. Joy opened the first hemp store in the State of New York, in Woodstock, in 1994. When the inaugural Vermont Hemp Bill passed in 1996, Joy relocated her family to Burlington to serve as Secretary to the Vermont Hemp Council. While continuing her work in hemp, Joy commenced an extensive dual career in compliance and complex civil litigation legal support in late 1998. In addition to working on the high-profile Enron and Exxon Valdez cases against those corporations, Joy has been the Lead Paralegal for several multi-million-dollar civil lawsuits. Her vast professional and hemp experience well serves her roles as an effective advisor and respected voice and leader in shaping law, policy, regulations, standards, and ethics in the rapidly developing hemp industries. Joy is an internationally renowned public speaker, writer, and educator, instructing on hemp subjects from history, law / policy / regulations, farming / agronomy, infrastructure, hemp grain/oil, and cannabinoids, to permaculture, hempcrete, textiles, and the wide spectrum of hemp industries.
Founding Partner, Chief Operating Officer, Big Rock
Joyce Cenali is a partner and chief operating officer at Big Rock Partners, a Bay Area-based strategic advisory firm focused on the intersection of hospitality, food and cannabis. BR Partners works directly with companies and investors to provide financial, compliance, legal, and operational support. Joyce is an accomplished sales, marketing, operations, and business development leader with over 15 years experience working with innovative start-ups, cannabis brands, creative leaders, and rights holders to maximize brand value and awareness. Joyce co-founded an Emerald Cup winning operation and is a former co-chair for the Sonoma County chapter of Women Grow, a for-profit entity that serves as a catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry as the end of marijuana prohibition occurs on a national scale. She serves various advisory roles, and has been quoted in the media, including MarketWatch.
Dr. Juli Crockett
Director of Compliance, MMLG
Dr. Juli Crockett was recruited into the cannabis industry in early 2015 to launch the W Vapes brand and served as their Chief Compliance Officer before joining MMLG in January 2018. Crockett was elected to the CCIA Board of Directors in 2017, and also served as Co-Chair of NCIA’s Federal Policy Committee. She is currently the Chair of CCIA’s Legislative Committee. Beyond the cannabis space, Alabama-born Crockett is a bona fide Renaissance woman: singer/songwriter, theater director, undefeated professional boxer and amateur champion, ordained minister, with a summa cum laude Ph.D. from The European Graduate School. Formerly the Director of Marketing for a pioneering online adult toy company, she is also a published playwright, a professional singer, and leader of an alt.folk band. After composing the theme song to the mini-documentary “Caine’s Arcade” she assisted in the formation of the Imagination Foundation, a children’s non-profit encouraging creativity & entrepreneurship. Unique to her career, Crockett is an undefeated professional boxer and amateur champion, featured in Sports Illustrated and other news outlets due to her professional connection to Jerry Boyd (aka F.X. Toole) author of Million Dollar Baby.
Director of Community Outreach, Bud and Bloom; Director,, Orange County NORML
Kandice Hawes founded Orange County NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) in 2003 after losing her financial aid due to a possession charge. In the sixteen years since then OC NORML has become one of the most accomplished chapters in the NORML organization earning the Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award at the 2012 National NORML Convention. She currently serves as the chapters Executive Director holding monthly meetings, lobbying and speaking at educational events.
OC NORML has held hundreds of meetings and fundraisers, as well as, organized large expos and conference such as the Medical Cannabis Conference for Seniors in Laguna Woods and the Know Your Rights Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Kandice Hawes was named High Times Freedom Fighter of the month in November 2012. She was also named one of “Orange County’s 100 Most Influential People” by the Orange County Register in 2014 and named one of the “100 Most Interesting People in Orange County” by the OC Weekly in 2015.
In 2014 Kandice Hawes founded and served as the Principal Officer of the Committee to Support Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative Political Action Committee. The PAC qualified a voter initiative to replace the ban on medical marijuana collectives in Santa Ana and received 54% of the vote in November 2014.
In 2016 Kandice graduated from California State University Fullerton with a degree in Political Science and Public Administration. She currently provides community outreach services for select licensed dispensaries.
CEO & President, Green Wave Relations/Coral Cove Wellness Center
Keiko studied Holistic, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine and has supported whole-plant cannabis medicinal treatment for many years. Beatie is a Board Member of OC NORML, Board member of the Cannabis Tourism Association, Director of Education at Coral Cove Health & Wellness, a writer, a speaker, and an educator. She is now writing a book on Seniors CBD for You and Me. She has contributed to Marijuana.com Weedmaps, Sensi Magazine, and other publications and website. For the past seven years Keiko has presented Hemp/CBD cooking demonstrations at two southern California Country Fairs to share with the general public about the benefits of hemp and CBD. Her desire to reach the mainstream with education and information on cannabis and CBD and its healing properties for patient care is her goal. Keiko’s mission for cannabis is “Acceptance and legalization through education and outreach.”
Horticulturalist & Designer; Cannabis Business Consultant & Advisor
Kelley Crosson is a horticulturist, designer, and cannabis advocate who
has worked in the field of horticulture since 1992, when she served as a
Children’s Garden program intern for Strybing Arboretum Society in San
Francisco, CA. Alongside a dedicated group of volunteers, she taught basic
organic gardening principles and practices to children ranging in age from 7-14
and assisted Strybing’s Education Director with the development of new garden
and craft programs.
From 1992-2008, she worked as a freelance designer for a
multitude of luxury event, home, floral, and garden design companies in San
Francisco, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, St. John (USVI) and New York City. In 2009, she
formally incorporated as KC, Inc., which is her horticulture and design consulting
company. That same year, Kelley joined the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
where she worked with major donors from 2009-2018. From 2011-2013, Kelley
completed the SOPH program at the New York Botanical Garden, where she
received her Diploma in Horticulture. While a student at the NYBG, Kelley
interned with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in New Jersey to study Helonias
bullata, a plant federally listed as a threatened species. She was an instrumental
part of the installation team for the 3.5-acre, $15 million Native Plant Garden at
the NYBG, which included Helonias bullata and other plants native to the region.
The main emphasis of her horticulture studies and current practice is low-impact,
sustainable design and the use of native plants.
She currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association (NJCIA), and as an advisor to several US cannabis companies.
Founder, Greenbridge Corporate Counsel
Khurshid Khoja is Principal of Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, a business law firm founded in 2012 to represent legal cannabis businesses on regulatory and transactional matters. He’s participated in legislative and initiative drafting, stakeholder meetings, executive agency outreach and rulemaking proceedings in connection with California’s cannabis laws and regulations, including Proposition 64 and the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), a well as the Minority Cannabis Business Association’s Model Municipal Social Equity Ordinance.
Khurshid currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Cannabis Industry Association and Co-chair of the NCIA Policy Council, and on the Board of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, where he serves as the Co-chair of the Policy Committee and co-author of its Model Municipal Social Equity Ordinance. He has previously served on State Treasurer John Chiang’s Cannabis Banking Working Group as a representative of industry, as a Founding Board member and General Counsel of the California Cannabis Industry Association, as a co-founder and General Counsel to the Emerald Growers Association (now the California Growers Association), and the Arcview Investor Network.
Among other honors, Khurshid was profiled in The National Law Journal’s first ever Cannabis Law Trailblazers’ list, was featured in The Hemp Connoisseur magazine’s “100 People You Should Know” issue, and was elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. His work in California has been profiled in multiple editions of the Arcview Market Research report, and his earliest days in California’s pre-regulated industry as the General Counsel of MendoGrown (later the Emerald Growers Association) are chronicled in Doug Fine’s book Too High To Fail.
Director of State and Local Tax Services, Cohn Reznick
Krista Schipp, CPA, is a director with more than 20 years of experience in providing income and transactional tax consulting for large public and privately held corporations as well as for a wide range of middle-market companies. Her broad range of experience includes working with companies in the high-tech, e-commerce, biotechnology, manufacturing and distribution, construction, hospitality, retail and cannabis industries.
Krista’s core practice focuses on providing tax strategy, consulting, compliance and planning services to multi-state tax corporations, partnerships, and high-net-worth individuals. Through her career she has provided a variety of services to Fortune 100 and 500 clients, including sales/use tax and gross receipt system compliance and implementation, reverse audits, audit defense, nexus studies, taxability matrices, voluntary disclosure agreements, tax planning, and consulting. Ms. Schipp has specific cannabis industry expertise with helping clients navigate the complex state and local tax regulations that come with the emerging cannabis industry.
Additionally, Krista consults with clients regarding state and local tax to identify tax savings opportunities as well as mitigate risks related to non-compliance exposure. Her knowledge working as a former state auditor has allowed her to help clients minimize assessments and to identify overpayments during the course of an audit. As a result, she has saved clients tens of millions of dollars through planning, tax compliance consulting, and audit assistance.
Krista monitors state and local tax law changes in the U.S. and uses the information to draft tax alerts for the firm. Prior to joining CohnReznick, Krista worked in the tax department of an international corporation, was a multi-state tax consultant for a Big Four firm, and was a sales and use tax auditor with the California State Board of Equalization.
CEO, G3 Medical Marketing
Kristie Amobi currently operates a sales and marketing agency, specializing in developing programs to increase market share and sales performance. She has 20+ years B2B/B2C marketing and sales experience in the medical device and software industries, working with diverse global start-ups and mid-size companies including cannabis companies. Prior to consulting, Ms. Amobi served as VP of Marketing at Elekta, Inc., the second largest cancer treatment equipment and software manufacturer in the world. Prior to joining Elekta in 2007, Ms. Amobi worked in various in-house and consulting positions, including lifecycle sales, product marketing, marketing communications. She is passionate about educating people about microdosing cannabis as an alternative to prescription medicine and alcohol. She holds a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University, an MBA from Azusa Pacific University and a professional certificate in Cannabis Science and Medicine from the University of Vermont.
Co-Founder, Luna Technologies; Consultant, Hempsi Wholesale CBD
Kyler Buck is an Oregon native with an extensive history in the cannabis market. After leaving the Army in 2012, he entered the medical cannabis industry and quickly saw the potential in extraction. After countless hours experimenting, he built a successful brand focused on high quality BHO products. As the company expanded, he ran into a number of problems with the extraction equipment. It was difficult to scale, was very labor intensive, and required expert “extraction artists” to maintain the high-quality product the brand was known for. It was these challenges that spawned Luna Technologies. Kyler partnered with an engineer from the aerospace industry to rethink hydrocarbon extraction equipment from the ground up. Over the next two years, they developed a state-of-the-art extractor now called the IO Extractor. Now several generations past the original unit, the fully automated IO Extractor is being recognized at the premier BHO Extraction unit on the market today.
Partner, Leland, Parachini, Steinberg, Matzger & Melnick, LLP
Lara L. DeCaro is a business attorney and mediator. She has concentrated her legal career in the areas of intellectual property, corporate governance and compliance, commercial transactions, real property, estate planning, and mediation. Most of her clients come from highly-regulated industries and she has translated that knowledge into a comprehensive medical cannabis practice. She has also represented event venues, entertainment providers, art galleries, authors, banks, recycling companies, investors, franchisors, an airport, and various small business owners. Whatever their industry Lara takes pride in getting to know her clients and working with them from start-up to wind-up.
Lara commenced her legal career as a litigator in Northern New Mexico, where she successfully defended marijuana and other criminal charges locally. Lara later took a position as in-house counsel for a premier company in the risk evaluation software industry and worked at a leading bio-pharmaceutical company. Both positions served as important career mechanisms that further developed her intellectual property knowledge, business sense, and transactional experience.
Lara is licensed to practice law in California, Colorado, and New Mexico (currently inactive). She graduated with honors from both her undergraduate program at the University of Southern California and law school at Tulane.
Lara is a founding board member and former executive officer of the National Cannabis Bar Association and currently sits on the Executive Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco Cannabis Law Committee. She is a frequent speaker on matters of cannabis business law.
Founder & CEO, Recreational Embassy
Lauren is the founder and CEO of Recreational Embassy. Lauren specializes in marketing luxury travel destinations all over the U.S. to people from all over the globe. Lauren believes that hemp and cannabis products enhance both wellness and travel experiences and helps luxury hotels vet this new landscape. Lauren is a Certified Destination Marketing Executive (CDME).
President, GrowFit Analytics
Leighton Wolffe has been recently appointed as President of GrowFit Analytics™. Leighton brings with him more than two decades of experience in designing building automation systems and implementing data science applications across multiple industries, along with his passion and enthusiasm for the budding cannabis industry. In his role as GrowFit President, Wolffe will lead the company’s growth strategy, while defining its long-term product road-map, and business development efforts. Wolffe will focus on delivering powerful Canna-tech software and services that clearly help growers achieve higher plant quality, and greater crop productivity. With his focus on improving businesses through sustainable solutions, he will deliver strategic initiatives that directly impact top-line sales and bottom-line results to cannabis cultivation professionals.
National Director of Veterans Outreach, Minorities for Medical Marijuana; and Co-Founder, Leaf Launch Holdings
Leo Bridgewater Sr. was born and raised in Trenton NJ. In 2001, Leo enlisted into the United States Army in response to the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington DC. There, he spent 5 years as a Telecommunications specialist with multiple deployments to Iraq. After separating from the Army in 2006, he spent another 2 ½ years working for the Dept. of the Army at the Pentagon in Washington DC. As a Department of Defense Contractor serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Leo has worked for companies like L-3 Communications, ITT systems, and Excellis. Having had 3 battle buddies attempt suicide and 2 being successful, the number of Veteran suicides per day (22) is an issue Leo finds to be totally unacceptable. Leo’s advocacy has seen him testify in NJ Senate Committee to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) added to the NJ Medical Marijuana Program. As a result of his efforts, in September of 2016, NJ Gov. Chris Christie signed bill S-2345 adding PTSD to the NJMMP. Currently, Leo serves as NJ Chapter President of Minorities for Medical Marijuana and is Sub-Committee Chair of Minorities with the New Jersey Cannabusiness Association. He has partnered with organizations like Coalition Medical Marijuana New Jersey, Drug Policy Alliance, Americans Civil Liberties Union, I Deserve Canna, Cannabis Cultural Association, and Weed 4 Warriors -Trenton NJ Chapter. Signaling his evolution as an advocate and entrepreneur in the industry, he is the Co-Founder of the NJ Cannabis Commission, with a mission to be a vessel by which the industry works through in the state of New Jersey.
Health & Medicine Investigative Reporter, Consumer Reports
Lisa Gill, Health & Medicine Investigative Reporter at Consumer Reports (CR), has focused for more than a decade on healthcare issues, particularly medications cost and access, using comparative effectiveness, survey and secret shopper data. The results inform hundreds of stories and videos across Consumer Reports media platforms, including Consumer Reports magazine, ConsumerReports.org, Consumer 101 (CR’s television show), web video and social media.
Features Editor, Civilized; Co-Founder, DoubleBlind
Madison Margolin is the features editor for cannabis lifestyle publication Civilized and cofounder of DoubleBlind, a magazine on psychedelics. She’s freelanced hundreds of articles for outlets like Rolling Stone, Vice, Playboy, High Times, Merry Jane, Tablet, the Forward, Miss Grass, and Nylon, among others.
President, Cannaclub at UCLA & USC
Maha Haq is currently pursuing her M.S. in Medical Cannabis Sciences and Therapeutics at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, the nation’s first graduate program dedicated to studying cannabis. She recently graduated from UCLA in Sociology and Mathematics.
Maha is founder and President of the university’s first registered cannabis student group, Cannaclub at UCLA. Their mission is to empower students interested in the cannabis industry while making a social impact. Cannaclub has since expanded to nine other campuses nationwide with a total of 1,200 students. As President of Cannaclub, Maha organized cannabis conferences, informational panels, job fairs, and developed two academic curricula for student members.
Maha initially developed a scholarly cannabis workbook for student members. She and her team then developed an interdisciplinary cannabis curriculum and lecture series, “Cannabis 101,” taught by professors and local government officials on-campus in Fall 2018, and later “Growing 101,” a cannabis botany and cultivation focused five-part series in partnership with licensed LA growers. One of the ten classes is now approved for credit in the UC school system and taught by UCLA professor, Brad Rowe. Maha also implemented a cannabis job recruiting platform for UC campuses to provide cannabis businesses with staffing needs.
Maha started Cannaclub in effort to combine career interests with her academic studies. She started working at medical dispensaries in 2012, eventually getting into dispensary management and operations for three years. She then transitioned into cannabis tech with a delivery platform company and was responsible for customer, patient, and user experience management. Most recently, Maha worked at a cannabis consulting firm based in Denver doing business development and license applications for 12 states and six countries. Maha has dedicated her entire adult life studying and working with this plant.
Chief Instigator, Needle Consultants
Marc Ross is an experienced attorney and thought leader in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility. Currently, he is the Director of Community Outreach for Harvest and is the Founder and former Executive Director of Rock the Earth, a national environmental advocacy organization that works closely with the music industry.
Between 1998 and 2004, Marc was one of four in-house environmental attorneys at Alcoa Inc., serving as the company’s primary water counsel and counseling the company on a wide variety of national and international environmental compliance, permitting and remediation issues. Prior to that, Marc was Assistant Counsel in the Pennsylvania DEP Office of Chief Counsel’s Southcentral Region Litigation Office. While at DEP, Marc represented the Department in matters related to mining, water quality and hazardous waste.
Since departing Rock the Earth in early 2016, Marc has been consulting companies on matters surrounding Corporate Social Responsibility. To that end, he has been helping to build out “purposeful” brands in both the cannabis and non-cannabis space, with an emphasis on strategic, integrated, and authentic community and employee engagement, corporate philanthropy, and sustainability.
Marc received his B.A. in 1990 from the Pennsylvania State University and his J.D. in 1993 from the Dickinson School of Law. In 2016, Marc obtained an Executive Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from the Leeds School of Business of the University of Colorado (Boulder).
Shareholder, Emerge Law Group
Marco is a general business lawyer with a practice focused on emerging growth companies, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and a range of other business matters. He has significant experience advising clients with respect to corporate governance, intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance, entity structure, shareholder agreements and general contract negotiation.
Prior to joining Emerge Law Group, Marco was a partner at Tonkon Torp LLP. He also previously worked in London and Hong Kong for Herbert Smith LLP, where he represented corporate clients and investment banks in a range of business transactions, including public securities offerings and mergers and acquisitions.
Marco received his J.D. in 2005 from the UCLA School of Law, where he also worked as a legal intern for the American Civil Liberties Union, was a teaching fellow, and taught legal principles to high school students. Marco received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University.
Marco also serves as an Executive Committee Member of the Oregon State Bar Securities Regulation Section and as a member of the Board of Directors of Peninsula Children’s Learning Center, a non-profit, early-childhood education center in Northeast Portland.
Marco is highly proficient in Spanish and Italian. In his free time he enjoys fly fishing, skiing, soccer and spending time with his family.
Of Counsel Attorney, Hoban Law Group
Matthew’s first career was as a physicist, sharpening his problem-solving skills to a fine point. This combined with his experience of actually being in business, including cannabis businesses, and his training as a teacher, gives him a unique ability to analyze issues, solve problems, explain what is happening to clients, and do so in a cost-effective way that leads to more profit for his clients.
Matthew’s legal acumen complements these skills as he has the extensive corporate and transactional experience, including corporate structuring, capital raises, acquisitions, and contract drafting. Matthew always advises clients that relationships are among the most important things for businesses, and he heeds his own advice in highly valued relationships with his clients.
Founding Member, Chernis Law Group
Michael Chernis is one of California’s premier experts on marijuana legal issues whether it’s criminal, civil, federal, or business related. Michael received his juris doctorate from Fordham University School of Law in New York City, where he was a member of the Fordham Law Review and graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A. in Political Science. He has been an attorney for more than 20 years, first in New York working for several prestigious law firms, and since 2009 has practiced law in California. Michael has been a “cannabis lawyer” for nearly a decade, and his law firm, Chernis Law Group P.C. in Santa Monica California, serves the varied needs of collectives, dispensaries, deliveries, cultivators, manufacturers and other cannabis clients, including a number of leading cannabis brands, as they navigate the new State regulations and seek licenses and permits from local municipalities and the State. His experience as a federal criminal defense attorney gives him a unique perspective on federal enforcement issues as they pertain to the cannabis industry. He has represented cannabis clients in criminal and civil cases in both state and federal courts, as well as in connection with local, State and federal tax matters, and often lectures on IRS Regulation 280(e) and tax issues as they pertain to cannabis businesses.
In recent years, Michael has researched and lectured on the legality of CBD products and Industrial Hemp, both under Federal and State law. On behalf of a client that imports Industrial Hemp from Spain, he has successfully petitioned Customs and Border Patrol to release seized shipments of Industrial Hemp. And recently, he initiated a class action lawsuit in Federal court against Customs and Border Patrol for damages resulting from other seizures of Industrial Hemp without due process and for injunctive relief.
Associate, Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers
Michael E. Plank graduated with honors from Harvard Law School in 2012. His professional experience includes representing unions in both the private and public sectors, and has involved litigation, arbitration, administrative proceedings, contract bargaining, and providing legal advice to union officers in the performance of their duties.
While in law school, he was a teaching assistant to Professor Lani Guinier, externed with the Employment Division of Greater Boston Legal Services, and worked in the community to organize tenants and homeowners against post-foreclosure eviction.
After law school, Mr. Plank clerked for the Honorable Judge A. Wallace Tashima on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal in Pasadena.
Michelle L. Shuffett, MD
Cannabis Expert / Health & Wellness Executive
Michelle L. Shuffett, MD is a healthcare executive, strategist, and wellness enthusiast with 20+ years of experience encompassing a unique blend of medical practice, communication skills, and leadership. Michelle is adept at mixing the art and science of medicine to fuel her passion for speaking and sharing meaningful, actionable information.
Michelle’s expertise lies at the intersection of health and wellness, and spans the pharmaceutical industry, medical education/advertising, digital health marketing and publishing, fitness/wellness platforms, and cannabis. She strives to change perspectives on cannabis and improve understanding of the industry as a whole by bridging the gap between traditional and alternative medicine.
Michelle attended medical school at the University of Kentucky, completed her residency at UCLA, and practiced at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She also attended the London School of Economics and earned certifications in Healthcare Economics and Quantitative Analysis.
Board of Director, Coachelle Valley Cannabis Alliance Network
Mike Kelly has lived and worked in the Coachella Valley from 1976 – 2015 and was very involved in the local community. His Father was a school teacher at Vista Del Monte for 33 years and was President of the Little League Association and President of the DHS Road Committee.
Mr. Kelly has spent several years in the cannabis industry, specifically in the business arena since 2009 when he opened the Aloha collective in Santa Ana. As a community activist in the legalization of cannabis, he initiated measures in Santa Ana and was one of the key people successfully getting legalized Cannabis dispensaries on the ballot with measure CC and measure BB. With fellow cannabis enthusiasts, he created an online show titled “Speakeasy Live” which was filmed at Weedmaps HQ. Speakeasy Live featured industry celebrities who are knowledgeable about the cannabis culture in the United States. In 2015, he cofounded Speakeasy 710, a premium oil cannabis company that has taken a classy approach appealing to a mainstream consumer. When Prop 64 passed in 2017, Mr. Kelly partnered with a sophisticated group of real estate and finance specialists who have now successfully received 50 Cannabis licensees throughout California.
Mike has now developed Falcon Brands a CBD line of products to assist patients to better health and well-being.
Founder, Smokin' Mike's
Smokin Mike Kemsky was a young boy when his family relocated to Canada from Russia and Poland where they continued to develop innovative methods for processing cured meat products. What started as a means of survival has evolved into his lifelong passion. Smokin Mike has dedicated a majority of his lifetime perfecting recipes and techniques and is now best known for his infused pepperoni, jerky and dry-aged smoked meat products. Today, Smokin Mike has unveiled his premium pepperoni and jerky to the “infused CBD edibles” marketplace. Smokin Mike known for his THC infused cured meat products in years past has now shifted from manufacturing THC infused products to the health and wellness products recognized by the related CBD industry. You can now purchase his award-winning meat snacks, Smokin Mike jerky and pepperoni sticks infused with high quality CBD for personal medical ailment relief and your quality snack food preference and enjoyment.
COO, Unity Rd.
Mike has over 18 years of experience in the wonderful world of franchising, helping to grow nationally recognized brands. Recently, he spent the last eight years at Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees & Smoothies, a global franchise with over 450 units worldwide. Initially coming aboard as General Counsel, he quickly established himself as a leader within the company and was appointed to CEO in 2013. In 2015, he led the successful sale of the company to Kahala Brands, subsidiary of MTY Food Group, a global leader in the QSR industry with a portfolio of 77 quick-service restaurant brands and approximately 5,500 locations in 34 countries. Upon acquisition, he remained committed to growing Maui Wowi as Brand President. He was also VP of Franchise Development, overseeing Kahala’s nontraditional portfolio and growth strategies. Mike is also the founder and principal of Becheart Consulting, which specializes in aiding emerging franchise concepts. Mike graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2004.
Dr. Monica Vialpando
Founder, Vialpando, LLC
Dr. Monica Vialpando is a pharmaceutical development scientist and founded Vialpando, LLC, a provider of industry-leading formulation and product development services for global cannabis companies. She is an adjunct professor at Loyalist College, Canada and listed as ‘Top 100 Healthcare Leaders’ from the International Forum on Advancements in Healthcare (IFAH). In 2019, Monica received the ElSohly Award for ‘Excellence in Cannabis Chemistry’ from CANN, a subdivision of the American Chemical Society. She earned her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Leuven, Belgium. There, she published several papers on formulation of poorly water soluble drugs, including a granted patent. Beyond this, she brings seven years of pharmaceutical formulation experience with US and European-based companies and four years of vaping research and development with nicotine and cannabis.
Managing Director, North Point Advisors
Murray Huneke is a Managing Director at North Point Advisors. Prior to joining North Point Advisors in 2018, Mr. Huneke was a Managing Director and Co-Head of Consumer Investment Banking at ROTH Capital Partners. Prior to joining ROTH Capital Partners in 2017, Mr. Huneke was a Managing Director and Co-Head of Consumer Investment Banking at Stifel, where he was also a member of the firm’s M&A Commitment Committee. Prior to joining Stifel, he was a Managing Director and Co-Head of Piper Jaffray’s Consumer Group for ten years, and prior to that was responsible for the Restaurant, Food and Beverage teams within the Consumer Group at Bank of America Securities/Montgomery Securities. Mr. Huneke began his investment banking career at Alex. Brown & Sons, Inc. in the Consumer Group. He graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Economics and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.
American Comedian, Musician, Writer, Actor and Activist
Ngaio Bealum has been a cannabis advocate for more than 20 years. He is the former editor of West Coast Cannabis magazine. He also writes about cannabis for a variety of publications and also produces canna-centric events all over the country. In his spare time he travels around the country telling jokes. He has opened for Dave Chappelle and Weird Al, and is a frequent guest on the Doug Benson podcasts. Mr. Bealum also prefers sun grown cannabis to indoor marijuana.
Partner, Greenspoon Marder, LLP
Nick Richards is a tax attorney with over 20 years of experience resolving IRS and State tax audits, trials and tax debt. Nick is a partner at Greenspoon Marder, an AmLaw 200 law firm with an extensive cannabis practice, where he helps cannabis companies with State and Federal tax audits, trials and tax debt, Section §280E compliance, entity structure, M&A and BSA compliance. Since it was first legalized, Nick has utilized his experience in the IRS and in representing other types of businesses to resolve ongoing tax and compliance matters for the cannabis industry. Nick is licensed to practice law in California and Colorado; he is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Denver, a former IRS trial attorney, and a former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. Nick is also a board member, husband and father of two, and he teaches tax controversy and section 280E to accountants and attorneys throughout the U.S.
Associate , Wilson Elser
Nicole Aaronson practices in the areas of cybersecurity and data privacy, cannabis law and intellectual property. She also is experienced in employment and labor matters. Nicole preemptively assists clients with a broad range of transactional and contract matters, restrictive covenants and noncompete disputes, labor force reductions and grievances under collective bargaining agreements. She is well versed in related class action defense work and skillfully represents clients in a variety of alternative dispute resolution scenarios.
Nicole was a judicial extern for the Honorable Gary A. Feess at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and the Honorable Sandra Ikuta at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She volunteers at the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Project and is an alumni interviewer for the University of Pennsylvania.
Nicole Fox MPH, RD
Founder & CEO, Aeon Botanika
Nicole is a seasoned cannabis activist and a legacy pioneer in the LA medical cannabis scene since 2003, co-founding two of the LA’s early dispensaries that she successfully operated for five years, while also leading operations at her company’s cultivation operation, supervising an 85+ person team. She is the co-founder and has been head of Business Development for Firebird Craft Cannabis for the past 10 years. She currently serves on the board for the Southern California Coalition, LA’s largest and most inclusive cannabis trade association and continues to actively shape local legislative policy. Nicole has 25 years of experience as an expert wellness entrepreneur, is a UCLA-trained Registered Dietitian, and has completed extensive post-graduate training in functional medicine. She is the only healthcare professional in Los Angeles to have founded a retail cannabis operation, and one of only a handful of female founded cannabis brands in LA. Aeon Botanika will launch its flagship store in West Hollywood in January 2020 with a retail store, wellness center, health cafe and Moroccan inspired onsite consumption lounge.
Co-Founder, Satya Capital
Prior to Co-Founding Satya Capital, Nishant founded NMR Capital, a full-service investment firm focused on real estate development and early seed investing in the technology sector. Through NMR Capital Nishant has had extensive experience in building, funding, and launching several mobile applications, and technology-based ventures. Prior to NMR Capital Nishant spent over a decade in investment banking and private equity between J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. Nishant holds a B.S. in Finance and Economics from American University, a Master’s in Real Estate Finance & Development from a joint program between American University and Georgetown University. Currently, Nishant is pursuing a degree in Horticulture from the University of California, Los Angeles.
CEO, Kahner Global
Noa is the founder of Kahner Global, a boutique conference company, which produces The Cannabis Private Investment Summit, an educational conference series for ultra high net worth investors and thought leaders in the cannabis industry (www.cannabrunch.net).
For the majority of her career, Noa has developed family office investment conferences in the financial industry. In 2015, she founded the first ever family office conference in the cannabis industry and has since produced six annual summits all over North America. Kahner Global is responsible for over $250m in funding for the cannabis industry.
Noa received a Master in Business Administration from Baruch College, The Zicklin School of Business. In 2014, she was named a member of the Milken Young Leadership Circle.
Founder & Principal, Law Offices of Omar Figueroa
Omar Figueroa is a graduate of Yale College, Stanford Law School, and the Trial Lawyers College. He believes in lifelong learning, and this year completed an Executive Education program for directors of corporate boards at the Wharton School in Pennsylvania. He founded the Law Offices of Omar Figueroa in San Francisco in 1998, and has more than two decades of experience practicing cannabis law in the Golden State. The Law Offices of Omar Figueroa is one of the leading cannabis licensing, regulatory compliance, and intellectual property law firms in California.
Omar regularly teaches Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses to lawyers on cannabis-related subjects and has presented to numerous professional associations, including the Bar Association of San Francisco, the Sonoma County Bar Association, and the National Cannabis Bar Association.
Omar is a Director and Founding Lifetime Member of the National Cannabis Bar Association, a Lifetime Member of the NORML Legal Committee, and recognized in the prestigious Distinguished Counsel’s Circle of NORML. Omar is a past recipient of the Hunter S. Thompson Scholarship awarded by Colorado NORML. Omar recently completed a two-year term of service on the Sonoma County Cannabis Advisory Group.
Omar founded a legal publishing company to publish the legal reference series Cannabis Codes of California. The latest version, a carefully curated compendium entitled “California Cannabis Laws and Regulations: 2019 Edition”, is now available on Amazon in hardcover and Kindle versions. Omar’s expertise with regard to cannabis is not merely legal; he is an expert at judging world-class cannabis as well, and has served as one of the judges for the world-famous Emerald Cup in Northern California.
President, Feel Good Sales Group
With 25 years of sales, marketing and business development experience in the cannabis, action sports, music, fashion, entertainment and non-profit industries, Omer’s experience, knowledge and resources have made him a valuable asset. Omer’s work ethic, leadership, teamwork, integrity, and resilient drive have helped him build one of the most reputable cannabis distribution, sales and marketing companies in California, Feelgood Distribution and Sales Group.
Founder, CEO, and Managing Partner, Green Wise Consulting
Pamela is the CEO of Green Wise Consulting, LLC, California’s premiere full-service cannabis consulting company, providing a range of consulting, business development, and application permitting services to every facet of the cannabis industry. In 2018, she co-founded and became the Managing Shareholder of Green Wise Legal, P.C., a full-service cannabis law firm. Pamela’s diverse background, inclusive of legal, non-profit, and environmental work, places her in a unique position to lead and advise the cannabis community on the emerging intersection of recreational legalization and cannabis compliance.
After joining the industry in 2014, Pamela has become known as a fearless advocate for local cannabis businesses across the supply chain. She has been a featured speaker at several cannabis conferences, providing energetic and compelling commentary on topics such as land use, zoning, regulatory compliance, and environmental issues.
In addition to her role at Green Wise, Pamela served as the Special City Attorney for the City of Hollister with regard to their Medical Cannabis Ordinance and Regulations and serves as a member of the advisory board for Foundation Of Cannabis Unified Standards (“FOCUS”), a member of the advisory board for Annabis, a cannabis fashion company, and a member of CCIA’s Legislative Committee.
Prior to her work in the cannabis industry, Pamela founded and became the Managing Attorney and Legal Program Director for the Sierra Club San Diego’s Environmental Law & Policy Clinic. In this role, she worked extensively with elected and appointed government officials and regulatory agencies.
Pamela received her B.A. degree from the University of Arizona, and she earned her J.D. from the University of La Verne and her LL.M. in international environmental law from Golden Gate University School of Law. She currently serves as an adjunct professor, most recently teaching the first cannabis law course at Arizona Summit Law School.
Editor, Cannabis Law Digest
Believing in the importance of education and access to information, Patricia H. Heer co-founded the Cannabis Law Digest, an electronic platform of legal resources for the cannabis industry. The Digest contains cannabis statutes and regulations, industry specific articles, agency guidelines, and state and federal cannabis court decisions summarized by industry attorneys. Any cannabis industry participant can empower oneself by staying on top what courts and regulators are saying about the issues affecting one’s business and quickly adapting to any changes.
Historically, Patricia has practiced in the area of commercial litigation and business reorganization at an AmLaw100 firm. Patricia’s litigation and transactional experience enables her to now advise clients in the rapidly shifting cannabis industry.
Patricia Heer is a member of the State Regulations Committee of the National Cannabis Industry Association, a member of the Emerging Issues Committee of the National Cannabis Bar Association, and a member of the New York City Affairs Committee of the New York City Bar Association. She has also published several articles on issues affecting the cannabis industry and is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences.
Executive Chairman Global Go, Breakwater Venture Capital
Paul Rosen is a noted career entrepreneur, management consultant and public speaker. Paul is the Executive Chairman of Global Go, a global advisory based in Los Angeles. Paul is also a co-founder and Chairman of Pantry Food Co., a cannabis focused start up in the functional food market. Paul was a co-founder of PharmaCan Capital Corp. (NASDAQ: CRON; TSX: CRON) and served as President and CEO.
Rabbi Dr. Baruch HaLevi
Director of Corporate Responsibility, ONE Cannabis Group
Rabbi Dr. Baruch HaLev is a rabbi, canna-preneur, social justice advocate & motivational speaker. Baruch spent 15 years as a synagogue rabbi creating one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial congregations in the country. In 2015 he helped to co-found Sira Naturals, Massachusetts’ premiere medical cannabis company in Cambridge, Sommerville and Needham, MA. He is Co-Founder of welaunch, a social enterprise connecting the Silicon Prairie (US Midwest) and the Start-up Nation (Israel). Baruch is currently Director of SEED – Social Equity & Economic Development for ONE Cannabis Group.
Rafael De La Cruz
Principal, Universal Brand Ventures
Serial entrepreneur, angel investor, strategic advisor with over two decades of experience in marketing innovation and international DJ, Rafael De La Cruz (RDLC) has led teams in successfully launching a variety of products, creating new categories and effectively connecting brands with the most elusive audiences.
Rafael attended the prestigious Bronx High School of Science in New York City and studied Bioengineering and Materials Science at the University of California, where he founded his first venture at 17. After studying at Berkeley, he joined a tech startup out of the MIT Media Lab, running promotions, managing member acquisition and driving audience growth. Rafael contributed to building this early technology company’s community to over one million active users. The Firefly Network was acquired by Microsoft for its leadership in developing leading recommendation technology, as well as the Firefly Passport, a product that who’s patents would be acquired a decade later in order to power Facebook Connect.
After a period of building several technology startups, Rafael joined the marketing team that re-booted Pepsi’s Mountain Dew utilizing action sports, urban music and influencer culture (Do the Dew!), taking it from obscurity to the number 4 position in the carbonated soft drink category. He was later recruited to manage and execute several national client programs including the development of Marlboro’s on-premise strategy, Latino focused marketing for Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol, nightlife influencer projects for several spirits brands and innovative content programming for Discovery HD.
Mr. De La Cruz was recruited to be part of the marketing team at glacéau – makers of vitaminwater & smartwater. Rafael created and executed a series of successful sales & marketing initiatives that supported the company’s doubling of revenue year after year, resulting in the largest acquisition of its kind in the beverage category by Coca-Cola ($4.2 billion).
Host, The Cannabis Investing Podcast, Seeking Alpha
Rena is a Seeking Alpha senior editor and hosts The Cannabis Investing Podcast. A graduate of New York University, she resides in Tel Aviv.
President, Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce; Vice President of Global Development, DNA Genetics
Rezwan “Rez” Khan is the Vice President of Global Corporate Development at DNA Genetics, the most recognized and awarded cannabis company in the world. Since 2006, he has guided the company’s brand strategy, including negotiating a global licensing partnership with Canopy Growth Corporation. Rez is also co-founder of seedleSs, a cannabis counterculture brand and marketing firm. Rez is an expert in comparative cannabis law with over 20 years of experience in cannabis brand development, marketing, licensing, cultivation, manufacturing, retail and supply-chain management. He recently was elected President of the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce, a trade organization representing over a billion dollars of global cannabis market share. He received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and Juris Doctor from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
Founder & CEO, Grasslands
RICARDO BACA / FOUNDER & CEO
Ricardo Baca is a 20-year veteran journalist, keynote speaker, TEDx veteran and thought leader in modern media and drug-policy circles. He served as The Denver Post’s first-ever marijuana editor and founded news vertical The Cannabist, where he extensively covered the advent of adult-use cannabis and related issues across the country and around the world, as seen in the feature documentary Rolling Papers (Netflix).
In 2016, Ricardo launched Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency to work directly with business leaders in highly regulated industries, including cannabis, energy and traditional healthcare. Named Marketer of the Year by AdCann in 2019, Ricardo has received numerous accolades for his trailblazing work covering drug policy, cannabis business and culture, and continues to columnize and host podcasts for a number of top publications.
Richard Pio Roda
Principal, Meyers Nave
Richard D. Pio Roda is a skilled and experienced strategic advisor and transactional attorney who has been practicing law for over 15 years. He specializes in municipal and special district law, land use, real estate, contracts and procurement for corporate, non-profit, and government agencies throughout California. Rich also advises clients on issues that involve ethics and conflicts of interest, cannabis, technology agreements, project labor agreements, complex real estate developments, and affordable housing.
Richard is the City Attorney for the City of San Leandro, Interim Assistant City Attorney for the City of Newark, General Counsel for the Mendocino County Community Development Commission and the Rodeo Hercules Fire District, and Assistant General Counsel for the Twain Harte Community Services District. Richard is also General Counsel to Goodwill San Francisco, San Mateo & Marin Counties, Inc., providing strategic advice and counsel on transactions and initiatives that advance Goodwill’s mission. In addition to providing transactional legal services, Richard advises and counsels chief executives, city councils, boards of directors, commissioners, councilmembers and staff on the variety of issues they encounter on a day to day basis. He also routinely advises on risk mitigation strategies and litigation management.
Prior to joining Meyers Nave, Richard was a Deputy General Counsel for the San Francisco Unified School District. He advised the District’s Facilities, Business, and Operations Departments in school construction, real estate, public contracting, technology transactions, and transportation. Richard also advised the District’s Athletics Department on CIF regulations, and Title IX issues. He frequently counseled on all aspects of school construction, from design to close-out, and was Board Counsel during the Board of Education’s regular meetings.
President, Los Angeles Cannabis Regulation Commission
Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Chair, UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis, University of California - Irvine
Professor Solomon was a legal services attorney from 1972-1985, and had the benefit of being a generalist with an enormous amount of client contact. During that time, he came to believe that problem solving was the most important specialty in the practice of law.
Professor Solomon has been a clinical teacher since 1985, with a focus on civil litigation and community development.
Director of Agronomy, Etoura CBD; Owner, Bonnie Blue Farms LLC
Bonnie Blue Farms started as a vegetable and grass fed lamb operation but has added consultation to its list of services. Ross and his partner Maggie Saska have over 30 years combined experience in growing crops and livestock that help them guide the advice they give to farmers. Hemp is a crop that is new to the US and fits well in any organic farming operation be it vegetables, hay, or grain crops. Ross’ background growing up on a dairy farm, teaching high school social studies, and farm management at Glasbern Inn and Rodale Institute, has provided him with keen insight and experience into working hemp into just about any farming operation. Ross also teaches classes at Delaware Valley University focusing on organic crop and livestock management as well as fiber production. Ross has spoke at many conferences on the subjects of hemp cultivation, pastured hogs, organic grain production and organic transitioning and hopes to provide farmers and consumers with real world advice that will lead to their success.
Founder & CEO, THC Designs
Founder, Alternative Finance Network
Scott Jordan is founder of the Alternative Finance Network, providing access to funding for cannabis companies. Since 2009 he has been a pioneer in providing loans and equipment leases for cannabis companies and has been called “ The Marijuana Money Man “ by Fox- San Francisco and the Denver Post .He created one of the first companies to provide access to debt based capital, Dynamic Alternative Finance in 2014 and arranged over $30 million in funding . He has taken his existing private capital sources and created an Alternative Funding Network for cannabis business owners seeking funding for equipment, working capital, real estate, accounts receivable, and project financing helping entrepreneurs expand their business and keep their remaining equity.
He has a keen sense of timing and has been at the forefront of 3 other business evolutions, having held key sales management positions in the telecommunications industry with long distance provider MCI, local exchange carrier ICG, and the first voice over the internet international wholesale carrier ITXC. Scott is a commercial finance expert known throughout the marijuana industry and has been interviewed by local TV and radio stations, authored articles and been a featured speaker at national conferences.
Founding Attorney, McAllister Garfield, P.C.
Sean T. McAllister is one of the nation’s leading cannabis business attorneys, licensed to practice law in both Colorado and California. Sean’s legal work focuses on the complex interplay between corporate law and state cannabis regulatory structures and federal law. Sean is an experienced attorney who helps his clients make important decisions when launching and operating their businesses.
In addition, Sean is an experienced litigator, having tried approximately 40 cases to a judge or jury. Sean has represented numerous business owners in civil litigation revolving around ownership disputes, breach of contract, employment law disputes, and other disputes. Sean defended and successfully resolved the nation’s first product liability lawsuit against a cannabis manufacturer. In addition, Sean has sued regulators over enforcement actions, litigated pesticide standards for cannabis grows at the state and local level, and negotiated settlements for some of the most serious cannabis rules violations. He has litigated local bans on cannabis dispensaries and sued several cities and counties for the implementation of the cannabis laws.
Co-Founder, Think and Grow Lab
Sherri Franklin is the co-founder of Think and Grow Lab accelerator hub, the GoVerde Incubator and the Muthatree experiential cannabis retail brand. She is also the Chief Visionary Officer of Ujima Tribe Enterprises, LLC founded to foster social equity retail ventures. During Sherri’s foray into the strategy to position social equity front and center as part of cannabis legalization, she has developed a formidable knowledge of cannabis regulation and public policies impacting access to ownership and employment opportunities. Sherri has leveraged her knowledge of organizational development, land-use, construction and community development to help social equity applicants create licensed entities and to structure their ventures for vertical integration within the industry. Sherri is also the CEO of Urban Design Center, which over the past 29 years, has managed the planning and land-use entitlement, proposal development and project management for over $140 million in government subsidized affordable housing, infrastructure and economic development projects.
Sherri is a board member of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, a board member and partner of Integrated Equitable Solutions, a property management subsidiary of Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles, a thought leader for the Leimert Park Village 20|20 Vision Initiative, a 15 year member of the Pacific Coast Regional – Small Business Development Corporation loan committee and the Co-Chair of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Parking Reform Working Group. In 1992, Sherri was appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley to the City Los Angeles Department of Planning Board of Zoning Appeals and served as Vice Chair. Subsequently, in 1993, she was appointed by Mayor Richard Riordan to the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation Commission where she served as President and, thereafter, to the Los Angeles Housing Department’s Rent Stabilization Commission in 1995 as a board member.
CEO, Harvest Health & Recreation
Before launching Harvest in 2011, Steve graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State’s Honors College in 1995 and then from the Washington & Lee University School of Law in 1999. After working for two national law firms, he founded his own boutique firm in 2005. After opening Harvest’s first dispensary in 2013, Steve worked there for several months fulfilling orders, performing reception duties and consulting with patients. Steve founded and now serves on the board of directors for Harvesting Hope, a non-profit organization that supports young children suffering from seizure disorders.
Steve serves as the President of the Arizona Dispensary Association and is a founding board member of the Policy Center for Public Health and Safety. In addition, he has done hundreds of interviews, speaking engagements and provided expert testimony on a multitude of marijuana-related topics.
Sumit Mehta is the Founder and CEO of MAZAKALI, a cannabis investment firm based in San Francisco with offices in Denver and Chicago. MAZAKALI offers capital placement services to family offices, accredited investors, RIAs and institutions via its Outsourced Cannabis Investment Officer (OCIO) service.
Sumit founded MAZAKALI to counteract the negative consequences of business practices that deplete resources by making investments in sustainable cannabis and hemp. By shepherding capital in a responsible and ethical manner, MAZAKALI and its clients envision a world where cannabis investment will play a significant role Beyond Impact. Sumit authors the MAZAKALI GreenPaper™, a leading narrative that has gained authority through knowledge on deep trends in the industry that matter to investors and operators alike.
Sumit serves on the Banking and Financial Services Committee (BFSC) for the National Cannabis Industry Association and is a finance and strategy consultant to The Arcview Group, the largest cannabis focused private investor network in America. Sumit also continues to mentor cannabis management teams and advise private equity cannabis transactions. Sumit and MAZAKALI support NCIA, SSDP and MPP in their efforts to promote cannabis education and awareness.
Prior to joining the cannabis industry, Sumit spent two decades on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch, UBS Investment Bank, Susquehanna International and Raymond James Financial. In 2016, Sumit left an advisory practice at J.P. Morgan to launch MAZAKALI.
Sumit earned an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and a BA with Honors in Economics with minors in Math and Physics from the University of Texas at Austin. Sumit holds investment banking, brokerage and investment advisory securities licenses and resides in San Francisco where he enjoys motorcycles, yoga, craft beer and the great outdoors.
Market Leader, Women Grow Los Angeles and CEO, Jamestown Center Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Susan S. Hwang is a South Korean cannabis business entrepreneur who emigrated at age 12 to the United States. A cannabis industry stakeholder since 2012, Susan cultivates diversity and inclusivity in the cannabis space through her executive leadership roles. She serves as the Market Leader of Women Grow Phoenix and Women Grow Los Angeles, one of the largest professional networks in the cannabis industry. A national spokesperson, Susan has hosted and presented at events in Arizona, California, Washington D.C, and Puerto Rico. Susan is also the owner and CEO of a diverse portfolio of cannabis brands and a national chain of licensed dispensaries. In 2019, she was recognized for her business acumen and entrepreneurship as a Top 40 Under 40 Awardee.
Dr. Swetha Kaul
Chief Scientific Office, Cannalysis ; Board of Directors, California Cannabis Industry Association, Cannalysis Labs
Swetha Kaul serves as the Chief Scientific Officer and Laboratory Director at Cannalysis. Cannalysis is a tech-forward analytical testing laboratory that uses validated scientific methods to analyze cannabis products. Cannalysis seeks to empower customers through technology integrations, big data analytics and access to information. Swetha plays an integral role in driving innovation and exploring novel methodologies. She is responsible for the overall scientific direction and regulatory compliance for the company.
Swetha holds a BS in both chemistry and biology from the University of Missouri, an MS in Pharmacology and Toxicology and a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Kansas. Prior to joining Cannalysis, Swetha worked at Allergan where she was responsible for leading drug development efforts including analytical method development, formulation research, stability studies, new process development, and optimization of processes.
Vice President of Business Development, BDS Analytics
Tamar Maritz is VP of Business Development at BDS Analytics, the leading market research, analytics and insights firm in the cannabis industry. With a strong background in market research and analytics consulting for some of the biggest fortune 500 tech companies, Tamar brings years of analytical and insight-driven experience to the cannabis industry, already having helped countless existing and up-and-coming operators thrive in the cannabis supply chain over the past 3 years. Coupled with an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and an MBA with a focus on quantitative marketing strategy, she is able to provide a unique perspective and understanding of the industry from both the commercial and pharmaceutical ends.
Assistant Chief Counsel, Bureau of Cannabis Control
Tamara Colson was appointed Assistant Chief Counsel for the Bureau of Cannabis Control on June 2, 2016. She had been Assistant General Counsel at the California Department of Consumer Affairs since 2014. Previously, she was Chief Prosecuting Counsel at the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control from 2011 to 2014, Special Assistant Inspector General in the California Office of the Inspector General from 2006 to 2011, and an Administrative Law Judge at the California Office of Administrative Hearings from 2005 to 2006. Ms. Colson also served as Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 1999 to 2005 and was an associate attorney at Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann and Girard from 1997 to 1999. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law.
Partner, Bad Supper
Taylor is an accomplished, award winning marketer, branding expert and strategic advisor with deep experience and success in regulated category branding, marketing and operations. Taylors experience has run the gamut, having owned and operated various companies including two full service marketing agencies based in Los Angeles for over 8 years. Taylor brings invaluable media relationships, experience, and impressive results having worked with some of the most well known global lifestyle brands, bootstrapped tech startups, and everything in-between.
Over the past two years Taylor has focused most of his efforts in bringing professional C suite experience to the Cannabis, CBD space, gaming and alcohol categories. Taylor cut his teeth in the cannabis industry heading media & advertising efforts in California for the largest delivery company in the industry, Eaze. The initial Eaze campaigns were some of the first major campaigns in the industry, drawing global attention and are referenced as case studies regularly. During the same time, Taylor consulted for Cannabis biotech startup “made by Science” on brands and marketing strategy. mbS was recently acquired by Acreage Holdings for $160 million in one of the larger acquisitions in the space at the time.
Previously, Taylor acted as VP of Marketing and Brand for Siva Enterprises, one of the Top 10 cannabis consulting firms by Entrepreneur Magazine. Here, Taylor gained compliance and regulatory experience ranging from cultivation and manufacturing to retail and delivery in various states across the country.
A founding partner at Bad Supper, Taylor manages projects from the initial brand and product concepts to launch strategy, in market management and overall business strategy for Bad Supper house brands and clients. Bad Supper currently manages and directs all brand and product strategy for large public companies, legacy operators, and everything in between.
CEO, eCard Options
Tom has been in the financial services industry for most of his career. This has ranged from retail financial products to merchant services and regional marketing efforts and strategy. He founded a management partnership and raised money from one of the world’s largest investment banks.
While originally from the south, Tom received his MBA from USC long enough ago to call himself a local in Los Angeles. His recent venture is a healthcare platform that connects patient and doctor in a binary relationship to remove up to 70% of the middle layer costs. AI plays a significant role in the ongoing efficiency gains.
Chaos in a market can present an irresistible challenge. The cannabis merchant payment corner is in unique disruption where many state and federal statutes are in direct conflict. Technology has pushed the boundaries of marketing, revenue stream conversion and inventory management. This makes the cannabis space an exciting challenge to cobble together the right AI tools.
Tom has been a speaker for two decades in financial products and regional marketing efforts. He knows AI can provide exponential gains with significantly reduced costs.
CPA, Arkley Accounting Group
Todd Arkley, CPA, is the owner of Arkley Accounting Group, a Seattle-based accounting firm founded in 2014 for the sole purpose of helping small-to-medium sized businesses within the cannabis industry grow and thrive.
Todd has immersed himself in the cannabis industry’s complex financial and tax concerns, such as IRC 280E, banking, and state/local taxes, while at the same time integrating his extensive accounting and operational background developed over 13 years working for law firms and private industry. He has written and spoken at length regarding accounting and tax issues affecting the cannabis industry at the NCIA Cannabis Business Summit, the Center for Cannabis and Social Policy, the Center for New Revenue, and Marijuana Venture magazine. He also serves as the Treasurer of The Cannabis Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of a sustainable, vital, and ethical cannabis industry.
He is a member of the WSCPA and AICPA and also teaches cannabis taxation classes for CPAs, accounting students, and business owners.
Todd Winter Esq.
Managing Partner, WINTER LLP
Prior to founding WINTER LLP, Mr. Winter served as General Counsel to Kittrich Corporation for seven years at its worldwide headquarters in Southern California. Kittrich is a multi-national privately held consumer-products company with offices located throughout the U.S., Canada, China and Hong Kong and has over 500 employees.
In addition to his previous role at Kittrich Corporation, Mr. Winter worked as an associate attorney at Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara, LLP in their Newport Beach office, where he concentrated on business litigation and business transactions, including complex construction litigation, products liability, contract disputes, copyright and trademark litigation and corporate transactions.
Todd earned his B.A. in Economics, with Minors in Japanese and Marketing from the University of Iowa in 1993. Shortly thereafter he started his first career in the high-tech software industry. During the mid-90’s, he worked for two international (Israel and UK) software companies until he ultimately landed in California where he worked as the Western Regional Manager N.A. for a Belgian software and hardware manufacturer in the printing and packaging industry. Todd worked in this capacity prior to and during law school at Chapman University School of Law, where he earned his J.D. in December 2003.
Mr. Winter was admitted to the California Bar in June of 2004 and the Arizona Bar in May 2005. He is also a founding member of the NCIA.
Founder & CEO, OpenNest
Tyler Wakstein is the CEO and Founder of OpenNest. He is a business development executive and creative director who is passionate about using business as a tool to drive positive social change. An active investor and advisor to many great companies including: Luce Farm, Calm, Seed, Bubble, 42 Birds, The Fund and High Times. Previously, he was a partner at Summit Series, a globally recognized event series for today’s brightest leaders. Tyler sits on the board of The Wholistic Foundation and the Life is Good Kids Foundation.
Co-Founder & President, Think BIG
Willie Mack is a brand marketing executive, creative director, and photographer with over 20 years of experience in creative and executive leadership in New York City and Los Angeles. He has led teams to execute award-winning marketing campaigns for clients that include Absolut Vodka, Estée Lauder, GQ, Microsoft, Montblanc, Persol, Ray-Ban, TED, the Obama Administration, Vanity Fair, and Wired Magazine.
He is also a co-founder of Think BIG, where he serves as the company’s president and leads its executive management and strategic vision. He became involved with the company when CJ Wallace, founder of Think BIG, was his client at Flint Studio. Willie was drawn to the company because he shares CJ’s vision of removing the stigma associated with cannabis use, both for healing and to stimulate creativity. Willie has used cannabis to inspire his creativity for most of his adult life. He credits it with driving his photography and his work on creative campaigns for global brands.
Before starting Think BIG, Willie most recently served as Chief Marketing Officer for Starling Brands, Inc. and Jayden’s Juice, a CBD-rich cannabis strain thousands of people worldwide have used to treat symptoms associated with severe epilepsy, anxiety, autism, pain, and cancer in addition to using it for general health and wellness.
In 2015, prior to his work with Starling Brands, Willie founded Flint Studio, an LA-based cannabis branding studio. In 2011, he founded Bleecker SP, a boutique creative studio based in LA and NYC. He also served as Head of Marketing for Bionic Yarn, an eco-textile innovation company that spearheads global ocean plastic pollution campaigns.
Yelena Katchko Esq.
Founding Member and Equity Partner, Katchko, Vitiello & Karikomi, PC
Mrs. Katchko is a founding member and equity partner of Katchko, Vitiello & Karikomi, PC. Mrs. Katchko attended the Pepperdine University School of Law where she received her juris doctorate. She is admitted to practice before all courts in the state of California.
Mrs. Katchko focuses her practice on corporate law, licensing, and regulatory compliance with a heavy focus on Southern California’s commercial cannabis industry. Mrs. Katchko is known as a powerhouse within the cannabis industry and has represented medical cannabis clients in the City of Los Angeles since 2009. Backed by eight years of dedicated cannabis experience, Mrs. Katchko is able to represent all cannabis related businesses includes medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, and investors.
Mrs. Katchko’s experience includes involvement in shaping the Medicinal and Adult Use cannabis regulations in both the City of Los Angeles and the State of California through pro bono affiliations, local alliances and town halls. She has developed significant experience in local government matters by being an integral part of discussions with officials on the ever-changing cannabis regulatory landscape and by working closely with lobbyists to advocate on behalf of her clients. Mrs. Katchko also serves as affiliated counsel to the United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA). Mrs. Katchko’s representation of commercial cannabis businesses includes representation in general corporate formation and compliance, corporate conversion, licensing and regulatory compliance, and transactional matters, among others.
Prior to founding the firm, Mrs. Katchko worked as a litigator and honed argumentative and writing skills in the courtroom. Mrs. Katchko applies that skillset to her current practice today by standing for the rights of the individuals and entities she represents in the emerging cannabis industry.