Los Angeles Speaker Bios
U.S. Army Veteran, Combat Engineer Airborne, Operation Iraqi Freedom; Founder, Veterans Cannabis Group
Aaron Augustis served in the US Army and was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He can attest to the medicinal effects of cannabis when dealing with a traumatic life event such as the war in Iraq.
Aaron enlisted in the US Army in June of 1998 from his home state of California. After the attacks on 9/11, Aaron knew it was only a matter of time before he was deployed. His unit was deployed from Ft. Bragg, NC to Mosul, Iraq in April of 2003.
Aaron did not connect with the Veterans Health Administration until eight years after he was discharged from the military. He, like many other veterans Aaron has met, wanted little or nothing to do with the VA or the Department of Defense after he got out. Luckily, Aaron met his local Veterans Service Officer and he encouraged him to get enrolled into the VHA. From there, Aaron found many VHA services to be extremely beneficial and received the health care benefits he earned through serving his country.
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 coalition build, city plan, and the cannabis industry implement responsible policies in Los Angeles, other municipalities, throughout California, and at the federal level.
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.
Marine Corps Veteran; General Manager, Continuum
NHA Treasurer, President & CFO of Advanced Extraction, LLC, National Hemp Association/ Advanced Extraction, LLC
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.”
Deputy City Attorney, Office of the City Attorney, Los Angeles
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.
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.
Shareholder, Margolis Legal
Amy Margolis has been a lawyer for more than 17 years and is the founder and director of the Oregon Cannabis PAC and the Oregon Cannabis Association, which is the largest professional cannabis association in the state of Oregon.
Her primary practice areas are licensing, compliance and regulatory work as well as continuing to represent clients charged with crimes in either state or federal court.
She is also directly involved with the state’s policy discussion around implementation of medical and recreational cannabis and she has been tapped to serve on a number of rulemaking committees, including the following: The Portland Marijuana Task Force; The Clackamas County Marijuana Task Force; HB 3460 Rules Advisory Committee; The Oregon Health Authority Medical Rules Advisory Committee; and The OLCC Licensing, Enforcement, and Compliance Rules Advisory Committee.
She frequently testifies at the Oregon legislature and before local governments on both policy and practical issues surrounding cannabis.
She has spoken across the country on issues such as raising capital, managing investors, the struggles with implementation of legal cannabis and federal obstacles to the industry. She frequently speaks at local events like the Cannabis Creative Conference, the Oregon Business Summit and Oregon Bar Association events regarding all things cannabis. She has also led two Oregon lobbying trips to Washington D.C.
Vice President, CCIA; Founder, Harborside Health Center
Andrew DeAngelo began with the cannabis plant as a teenage activist writing about cannabis law reform in his advanced placement courses at T.C Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. While in graduate school in 1991, Andrew helped collect signatures for Proposition P, which legalized medical cannabis in the City of San Francisco, the first such law passed by any jurisdiction in the United States. Building on this momentum, Andrew then helped organize for Proposition 215, which legalized medical cannabis in the State of California in 1996, the first State to do so. Shortly after he graduated, Andrew was diagnosed with Glaucoma and moved back to Washington D.C to be closer to his family.
Andrew and his brother Steve DeAngelo continued their pursuit of changing medical cannabis laws by raising funds, collecting signatures, and eventually passing Initiative 59, a medical cannabis legalization law in the City of Washington D.C. in November of 1998–a law that was initially overturned by Republicans in the U.S Congress. Andrew also worked with his brother Steve in the successful operation of Ecolution Inc. a hemp clothing company in the 1990s and helped Ecolution grow to over $1 Million in annual revenue. Ecolution was sold when Andrew and Steve decided to leave the Washington D.C area and return to California where medical cannabis was legal and accepted. Andrew’s career in medical cannabis has culminated in his work as Vice President of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, Calif., the largest medical cannabis retail distributor in the world, with annual revenues of $26 Million and with over 156,000 patients as members. Harborside Health Center was the first medical cannabis dispensary in the world to lab test all their medicine, put their infused products into child-proof packaging, and develop inventory control and security protocols that are the industry standard today.
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.
Founder & CEO, SBL Venture Capital llc.
Brian is an entrepreneurial leader with over 30 years’ experience building Companies from the ground up. He has repeatedly produced sustained revenue and EBITA growth in dynamic and changing markets and has proven achievements in regulated businesses including Cannabis across 7 states, consumer goods, transportation and entertainment. Brian has extensive business background in international, multi-cultural environments. He is also an innovator who has created over 2500 products.
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 Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Chanda Macias, MBA, PhD is the Chairwoman of the Board of Managers and CEO for Women Grow. She is also 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, while National Holistic ™ Healthcare proudly produces CBD and cannabinoids as an alternative and natural product.
Dr. Macias also expanded her footprint through Ilera Holistic Healthcare which partnered with Southern University -one of two cultivation/processing facilities in the state of Louisiana. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Minority Cannabis Business Association and is a proud member of Americans for Safe Access.
Dr. Macias earned a PhD in Cellular Biology from Howard University focusing in cancer research. She earned her MBA from Rutger’s University in Supply Chain Management. As a Research Scientist, Dr. Macias investigated oral diseases and possible treatment options at Colgate-Palmolive Company, a Fortune 500 Company. She contributed to the launch of several billion-dollar brands. Her innovations have resulted in numerous scientific achievements including publications, compilations, U.S. and Global Patients (World Intellectual Property Organization).
Dr. Macias has four children and resides with her husband in the Washington D.C. metro area.
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, ONE Cannabis Group
Christian Hageseth has been our Chief Executive Officer and a Director since March 2018. Since July 2016 Mr. Hageseth was the President of CCR II, LLC, a marijuana cultivation facility in Aurora, Colorado. Between 2017 and 2018 Mr. Hageseth was the Chief Executive Officer of One Can Franchise, LLC, a firm providing franchising and consulting services to licensed marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities. Since 2015 Mr. Hageseth has been the President of American Cannabis Partners, a venture capital company in Denver, Colorado. Between 2009 and 2017 Mr. Hageseth was the Chief Executive Officer of Green Man Cannabis, a company which owns and operates two medical marijuana dispensaries, two recreational marijuana dispensaries and three marijuana cultivation facilities. Mr. Hageseth received his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Arizona State University.
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.
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.
Dr. Dariush Adli
Founder & President, ADLI Law Group
Dr. Adli is perhaps best known as the “go to” trial lawyer in high stakes intellectual property (patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret) and complex commercial disputes. The reason is clear; for over two decades, Dr. Adli has successfully counseled and represented U.S., Asian and European businesses, from Fortune 500 corporations to startup companies, in intellectual property and business matters. In 2010, after years of successful practice at big law firms, Dr. Adli decided to act on his vision of offering clients the “choice combination” of high-quality work product, typical of bigger U.S. law firms, and the ready access and more affordable fees typical of specialized boutique firms. This vision gave birth to the success, which is ADLI Law Group, P.C.
Dr. Adli is well recognized as a premier strategist in patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and complex commercial disputes and is widely sought after by businesses large and small, seeking effective strategies for protecting their valuable intellectual property assets. In that effort, Dr. Adli partners with businesses to identify their protectable intellectual property assets and to develop customized legal strategies, which are consistent with the businesses’ goals, resources and risk tolerance.
Dr. Adli has a deep understanding of science and technology. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After a few years as a scientist/engineer at a top engineering consulting firm in the Boston area, Dr. Adli decided to pursue a career in law and enrolled in the J.D. program at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1998.
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.
Senior Vice President of Retail Operations, MedMen
David Chiovetti is senior vice president of retail operations for MedMen Enterprises, the
nation’s preeminent cannabis company and the most recognized brand in the emerging
Mr. Chiovetti is charged with executing MedMen’s retail strategy, overseeing the
company’s rapid expansion in California, Nevada, New York and other emerging
markets in North America. He brings more than a decade of success leading similar
endeavors in the apparel and fashion industry. He held senior positions at class leading
brands like Lucky Brand, True Religion and Guess where he oversaw all aspects of
corporate retail including real estate, store design, construction and operations.
MedMen brings class leading operational expertise and unprecedented investment to
the fast changing and fast-growing cannabis industry as it moves from its gray market
legacy to a fully regulated, legitimate and commercially viable market. MedMen is also
one of the nation’s largest financial supporters of progressive marijuana legalization
efforts at local, state and federal levels.
David Friedman is the President of VividGro, the horticultural division of Lighting Science Group Corporation, a leader in advanced-applications of LED technology. Friedman is also the founder of the anther Funds which have invested over $5 Million in 20 cannabis companies. Friedman is the former CEO of MJIC 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.
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 two 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. As a result, Doug developed a strong network of industry executives and insiders which has led to multiple outstanding opportunities for the partnership.
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.
Director of Education, Women Grow; 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.
Co-Founder and President, Canopy HIP Developments LLC; Strategic Advisor, CBD and Hemp, Canopy Growth USA; Chairman, National Hemp Association; President, , Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council
Geoffrey W. Whaling is Co-Founder and President of HIP Developments LLC, a wholly owned division of Canopy Growth Corporation and Strategic Advisor, CBD and Hemp to Canopy Growth USA, the world’s largest Hemp and Cannabis Company, with operations in 12 countries, based in Smith Falls Ontario Canada. He has volunteered for five years to advance the hemp crop and serves as Chairman 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 Member of the Board of Directors of the National Farmers Union Pa Chapter, 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
Gia Morón is Executive Vice President for Women Grow. With 25 years of experience in public relations, she oversees the company’s internal and external communications. In addition, to her day-to-day duties, she also works closely with the CEO on business and relationship development opportunities. 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. Gia is also the Founder and CEO of GVM Communications, Inc., a public relations, brand and business development consulting firm in which she launched in 2012. 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, Gia 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.
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).
Executive, Indigo Hotel
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.
Jim has spent his legal career advising individuals, non-profit organizations, closely-held businesses, and Fortune 100 companies on tax law, including U.S. federal, and multi-state tax controversies. Located in Harris Bricken’s Seattle office, Jim currently represents a wide variety of clients in the cannabis industry, including ancillary businesses. His nuanced knowledge of the unique federal and state taxation challenges faced by this industry makes him a formidable legal partner to cannabis businesses.
Jim frequently writes for Harris Bricken’s Canna Law Blog, and he also regularly speaks on local, state, and federal tax issues, especially those related to the ever-changing cannabis industry and the regulations governing it. He is a former chair of the CLE (Continuing Legal Education) Committee of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) and he recently served two terms (2014-2016) as Chair of the State and Local Tax Committee of the WSBA.
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).
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.
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 (essentially magna cum laude).
Regulatory Officer and Industry Liaison, Elixinol LLC
Joy Beckerman, who has been involved in the hemp industries for over a quarter of a century, is a powerhouse leader in the hemp industry, and she represents Elixinol in our hemp industry memberships and alliances. In addition to being a valuable part of the Elixinol family, she’s also President of the Hemp Industries Association®, Vice President of the U.S. Hemp Authority™, Executive Vice President of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, and Principal of Hemp Ace International.
After opening the first hemp store in the State of New York in the early 1990s, Joy served as Secretary to the Vermont Hemp Council upon passage of the inaugural Vermont hemp bill in 1996. In mid-1998, she commenced an extensive dual career as a compliance and complex civil litigation paralegal, supporting some of the West Coast’s most distinguished attorneys. She is an internationally respected voice, writer and renowned public speaker on a spectrum of hemp industry and movement subjects, and Joy was named “National Hemp Activist of the Year” in 2014 by the Hemp Industries Association, in addition to other industry accolades for her contributions.
Partner, 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 Coral Cove Health & Wellness, writer speaker, and 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 she 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”.
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.
Of Counsel, Hoban Law Group
Kevin H. Fortin is Counsel to Hoban Law Group. He is a Patent Attorney licensed to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. His practice is limited exclusively to patent matters before the USPTO. He has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University and a JD from the University of San Diego School of Law. He is a member of the California State Bar. He has been involved in the Colorado Cannabis industry since 2008 after spending 13 years practicing law in Silicon Valley.
Mr. Fortin has been involved in numerous contract negotiations and patent licensing deals. He has closed licensing deals worldwide. He has served in various capacities during nearly 25 years as a patent attorney, including senior associate in one of the largest patent law firms in the U.S., as senior licensing counsel in a multinational corporation, and owner of his private firm.
Mr. Fortin has an avid interest in sustainable agriculture, nutrition, health, and organic food.
Founder, Greenbridge Corporate Counsel
Khurshid Khoja is Founder of Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, a minority-owned and woman-managed business law firm founded in 2012, representing clientele in California, Washington, and Hawaii from across numerous sectors in the legal cannabis industry, on regulatory, start‐up, corporate, intellectual property, finance, and other commercial and transactional matters. Khurshid is a business lawyer with over a dozen years of experience in transactional matters, including advising clients and employers on: state and federal banking, corporate, finance and securities laws in multiple highly-regulated industries (including cannabis, insurance and energy); antitrust, unfair competition and trade association laws; intellectual property; commercial contracts; government relations; and regulatory compliance.
Khurshid is also a dedicated industry advocate. He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Cannabis Industry Association and regularly performs pro bono trademark and intellectual property work for NCIA. He was recently appointed to NCIA’s Policy Council, which advises the NCIA Board on federal legislative and political strategy to reform federal cannabis laws and protect the legal cannabis industry. Khurshid also serves as a founding board member of the California Cannabis Industry Association, and has served as CCIA’s outside General Counsel since August 2014. In that capacity, he also represents CCIA on California State Treasurer John Chiang’s Cannabis Banking Working Group, which is exploring state and federal solutions to make banking accessible to the legal cannabis industry. In addition, Khurshid serves on the Advisory Council of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. He has previously served on the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation, and as General Counsel to The ArcView Group and the Emerald Growers Association (now the California Growers Association).
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.
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 Reports 101 (CR’s television show), web video and social media.
President, Cannaclub at UCLA
I am a graduate of UCLA with a degree in Sociology & Mathematics. I co-founded the University’s first official cannabis student group, Cannaclub at UCLA. Under my leadership, Cannaclub expanded to 10 universities across the nation. Our mission is to empower students interested in the cannabis industry while making a social impact. We host informational panels, fundraisers, networking events, job fairs, and cannabis classes. As former President of Cannaclub, I organized cannabis events, conferences, and developed academic cannabis curriculums. I was also an intern for the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative (CRI), UCLA’s program studying cannabis.
I most recently worked at 3C Consulting, an international cannabis consulting and business development firm where I was responsible for business development, cannabis license applications and acquisitions, project management, product/brand management, and internal/client personnel. I’ve helped develop legal cannabis businesses in numerous states and countries and became proficient in utilizing project management platforms and biz dev strategies.
I worked at three medical cannabis dispensaries in Los Angeles as store associate, manager, and marketing manager. I was Dispensary Manager for a total of 3 years. I oversaw day-to-day operations, conducted administrator duties, inventory management, logistics, HR and training, as well as long-term planning and development. I assisted an indoor grow operation at a vertically integrated dispensary.
I also did customer experience management for a cannabis-tech delivery company, where I advised on cannabis consumption and products through a live-chat platform, as well as researching and compiling any data from academic sources/articles to better answer consumer questions. I have experience with customer support management and CSM programs.
Overall, I’ve been in the cannabis industry for 7 years. I have dedicated my entire adult life studying and working with this plant.
Director of Community Outreach, Harvest Health & Recreation
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.
Founding Member, Chernis Law Group
Michael received his juris doctorate from Fordham University School of Law in 1994, where he was a member of the Fordham Law Review. He graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A. in Political Science in 1989.
After law school he joined the New York office of the preeminent Jones Day law firm as an Associate in the litigation group. Jones Day attracted Michael because of its international practice as well as the firm’s white-collar crime practice.
Six years later, Michael joined Schulte Roth & Zabel, a New York-based firm known for its litigation and hedge fund practice. Michael continued to defend individuals and large corporations in complex commercial litigation and white-collar criminal cases.
So in 2006 he joined the premier white collar criminal defense firm Hafetz & Necheles in New York, where for more than two years he worked on several high profile cases involving executives from AIG, KPMG and other large institutions.
Michael arrived in Los Angeles in 2008 and soon thereafter opened a West Coast office for a New York based law firm. It became his entre into medical marijuana litigation and he soon developed a stellar reputation in the rapidly-evolving area of Cannabis law.
In 2014 Michael formed Chernis Law Group P.C., specializing in the marijuana industry and representing business owners, corporations and individuals in regulatory issues, civil cases and criminal defense.
His is one of the most important voices helping to shape cannabis law in California.
Dr. Michelle L. Shuffett, MD MD
Health & Wellness Consultant; National Scientific Director, Columbia Care Inc.
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, patient and consumer preferences, analytics, and content with a passion for creating meaningful, holistic solutions.
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 medical marijuana. 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.
COO, ONE Cannabis Group
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.
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.
Attorney, Dill Dill Carr Stonbraker & Hutchings, PC
Nick J. Richards is a practicing tax attorney, adjunct professor of law and legal specialist to the United States cannabis industry. He is a partner at Dill Dill Carr Stonbraker & Hutchings and is tax counsel to Vicente Sederberg, two prominent and well connected law firms leading the way in U.S. state legalized cannabis. Nick represents and advises cannabis businesses and owners throughout the U.S. regarding taxes, business practices, acquisitions, and I.R.C. Section 280E. With his involvement in ongoing IRS and State audits, Nick has current up to date information that he uses to help cannabis clients correctly report and navigate Section 280E and state cannabis taxes. Nick began his legal career in the IRS where he was a Trial Attorney, Special Assistant United States Attorney and Staff Attorney to the IRS Chief Counsel. After 11 years with the IRS, Nick began representing individuals and businesses and was one of the first attorneys to represent a cannabis company in an IRS 280E audit. Nick graduated from law school at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and he is licensed to practice law in California and Colorado.
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.
CEO, Kahner Global
Noa is the founder of Kahner Global where she builds strategic partners for the firm’s conferences and events business. Previously, Noa was Vice President of Business Development at Opal Financial Group, where she focused on family office and pension events. While there, she secured over $6million in conference revenue and worked with some of the largest financial brands, including: Allianz Global Investors, Deutsche Bank, and Guggenheim Partners. Her role was instrumental in building what is now the largest family office conference in the country. Noa is also credited with building the company’s international conference division and has developed relationships spanning a variety of investors and funds all over the world.
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 strengths are in his leadership, teamwork, integrity, and resilient drive. Being creative, logical and resourceful allows Omer to find solutions and opportunities others don’t.
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 digested by industry attorneys into easy to read summaries. Any cannabis industry participant can empower oneself by reading and analyzing what courts and regulators are saying about the issues affecting one’s business.
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.
Founder and Managing Director, Breakwater Venture Capital
Paul Rosen is a noted career entrepreneur, management consultant and public speaker. Over the last 6 years, he has become one of the most active entrepreneurs and investors in the emerging global cannabis industry. Paul is the the founder and Managing Director of BreakWater Venture Capital. He also the founder, CEO and Chairman of Tidal Royalty Corporation (RLTY.U.CN), a publicly traded royalty financing business focused on the emerging regulated U.S. cannabis industry.
Paul Rosen was a co-founder of PharmaCan Capital Corp., and served as President and CEO for three and a half years. While CEO Paul led the companies investment strategy, and under his leadership the company made direct investments into The Peace Naturals Project, The Whistler Medical Marijuana Corporation, ABcann Medicinals Inc( now Vivo Cannabis – TSXV: VIVO)., The Hydropothecary Corporation ( now HEXO – TSXV:HEXO) , Evergreen, Vert Cannabis, and Cannmart, as well as the acquisition of In The Zone Produce Inc. (subsequently rebranded as ‘OGBC’). While CEO, the company listed on the Toronto Stock Venture Exchange, and Paul sat on the Board. On October 6, 2016 PharmaCan Capital announced a corporate rebranding to The Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON; TSX: CRON). Paul sits on the Board, and chairs the Audit Committee, of iAnthus Capital Holdings (IAN.CN), a publicly traded New York based investment bank. Paul also sits on the Board of Hill Street Beverages (BEER.VN), and advises several companies across multiple industries.
Paul has enjoyed a distinguished speaking and media career. He has appeared on/in Bloomberg, CNN, BBC Business, Nasdaq TV, Yahoo Finance, Barron’s, BNN, Huffington Post, The Street, The Economist, National Public Radio, Cheddar TV, Business Insider, Medium, The Financial Post, The National, Canada A.M., The Globe and Mail, Vice Media, Merry Jane & Marijuana Business Daily.
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).
Senior Editor, Seeking Alpha
Rena is a Seeking Alpha senior editor, manages RSS content 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
Richard Pio Roda
Principal, Meyers Nave
Richard D. Pio Roda is a skilled and experienced strategic advisor and transactional attorney specializing in the areas of municipal and special district law, technology transactions, land use, real estate, contracts and procurement for corporate, non-profit, and government agencies throughout California.
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. From 2004 to 2007, he served as the Assistant City Attorney for the cities of Milpitas and Oakley.
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
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.
Vice President of Distribution and Sales, Emerald Family Farms
Roxanne Martinez is the Director of Sales for Emerald Family Farms. She has a strong background in sales, distribution, and manufacturing, coupled with a business degree focused on sales strategy and years of experience working with leading fortune 500 companies, enabling her to provide a unique understanding of the industry from all angles.
Roxanne has been working in the cannabis industry for well over a decade. She owned and operated a lucrative delivery service while working a cooperate 9 – 5 pm. She was also a successful broker and consultant. She fully leaped over into the cannabis space leaving her corporate gig in 2015 and never looked back!
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.
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.
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
Board of Directors, California Cannabis Industry Association; Chief Scientific Office and Laboratory Director, 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.
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.