By Rob Meagher and Dave Hodes
Wowza, CBE Press (CBE) is extremely impressed with the credentials and accomplishments of the many women that we reviewed this year who are involved in building the cannabis industry, and we are grateful for the opportunity to be able to share the names, roles and accomplishments of each of the members of the 2017 CBE 75 Most Important Women (actually 81) in cannabis list.
This year’s list includes women representing licensees (producers, processors, and retailers), ancillary businesses, the regulatory arena (state and federal), advocacy and state-based associations, plus a couple of individuals who have made their mark in the past year moving the industry forward, in the unrelenting effort to create a nationally regulated and prohibition-free industry that competes under the same rules and guidelines that other similar industries enjoy.
CBE Press vetted over 250 women this year to compile the 2017 list and, as is the case with any CBE list, we erred on the side of ranking list members based on a variety of factors. But at the end of the day, performance in the form of running a business and achieving solid revenue generation and growth (like expanding footprints domestically and abroad) were overriding factors deciding placement.
This list included women from the following categories:
|Producer, Processor or Retailer:||38|
|Advocacy or Association:||6|
Similar to the 2017 CBE Ancillary Business 150, we experienced a few non-transparent individuals that didn’t want to be included. But as always, we use all the information available to us publicly or through direct conversations, or information exchanges with candidates, to do our best to include, in our opinion, the most deserving candidates.
And as usual, I am sure we missed some folks along the way. We aren’t perfect, and we encourage any and all to let us know who we might have missed so we can include them in the consideration set for future rankings.
This year’s list has been expanded from the 2016 CBE Most Important Women’s list to a total of 75 to make room for other go-getters that are great examples for aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs to emulate. We were very impressed with the listed’s business pedigrees, and included that as part of our consideration criteria, as well as more and more professional managers continues to make dramatic inroads in the industry.
I would be remiss not mention that all that we are seeing occur in the cannabis industry wouldn’t be possible if not for the efforts made by the hundreds of activists and advocates for a prohibition-free industry, and we salute all of the men and women who have tirelessly worked to make this industry possible.
That said, CBE is a business publication and our goal has always been to recognize business performance – the ultimate criteria in measuring success and failure – regardless of the impediments that have to be dealt with by all members of the cannabis community on a daily basis even after prohibition eventually ends.
As was the case last year, this year CBE decided to share the top spot on the list between two exceptional women that I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past several years – Patricia Rosi, CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine and Nancy Whiteman, co-founder/owner of Wana Brands.
These two women share several characteristics that CBE admires and believes are imperative not only in this industry but for success anywhere:
- They both came to the cannabis industry with successful track records and extensive experience in other industries.
- They both are transparent, direct and incredibly focused on the task at hand, and don’t shy away from getting their hands dirty and doing the work necessary.
- They incorporate what they learn into their best practices.
- They lead by example, are motivated by a pursuit of excellence and share the joy in what they do with all around.
- They contribute to the industry and give back to their communities through action.
And.. they are just good solid human beings that I am proud to call my friends.
That said, I would like to recognize Patricia and Nancy as the 2017 CBE Most Important Women in cannabis. And yes, I am biased – these two exceptional women have taken the time to share their successes and challenges with me over the last several years, and selflessly with CBE’s readers and their peers.
Please take the time to review the bios of each and every woman on this year’s list, and join CBE in celebrating all that these women have done to help advance the world’s next great industry.
|2018 Ranking||Name and Image||Job Title||Company||Location||Category|
|CEO||Wellness Connection of Maine||Portland, ME||PPR|
|Patricia Rosi is CEO of the Wellness Connection of Maine, the state’s largest group of medical marijuana dispensaries. Wellness Connection operates four state-licensed dispensaries and one growing facility. Motivated by a newfound commitment to make a positive difference in the lives of others, Rosi joined the board of directors of the Wellness Connection. From there, she advanced to VP of Marketing, then to chief operating officer, and finally to her current position as CEO. As the largest medical marijuana dispensary group in Maine, Wellness Connection is currently serving over 10,000 qualified patients a year.|
|Co-Founder & Co-Owner||Wana Brands||Denver, CO||PPR|
|Heralded as “The Queen of Legal Weed” by Inc. Magazine (May 2017), Nancy Whiteman is co-founder and co-owner of Wana Brands, which produces Wana Edibles, Wana Extracts, and Wana Medicinals. Nancy founded Wana Brands in 2010, and now Wana Brands is ranked the No. 1 edibles producer in sales revenues in the highly competitive Colorado market according to BDS Analytics. Nancy directs the development of partnerships and licensing agreements domestically and internationally. She also leads the company’s strategic vision, and has been instrumental in Wana Brands’ growth into new and emerging markets. Prior to founding Wana, Nancy was a principal with The Whiteman Group, a sales and marketing consultancy, and previously held a range of senior level marketing and business development positions including Vice President, Marketing and New Corporate Ventures for the Paul Revere Insurance Group in Massachusetts. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is on the Board of the Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA), and is a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, and Colorado Leads, which promotes an environment of sensible regulation that creates certainty and sustainability for all companies that have benefited from legalization of medical and adult use marijuana. In addition to being available in nearly 85 percent of Oregon’s dispensaries, the company is also in two-thirds of Nevada dispensaries, and has partnerships in Arizona and Illinois that will bring its products to those states in 2017. Additionally, Wana Brands will launch in 2018 in Maryland and Florida, and is in discussion with potential partners in discussion with potential partners in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and internationally in Canada.
|Founder & CEO of Stavola Medical Marijuana Holdings, Health for Life Inc., President of CGX||Health for Life||Mesa, AZ||PPR|
|Ms. Stavola is the founder of Stavola Medical Marijuana Holdings, Health for Life Inc., GreenMart of Nevada, GreenMart of Maryland, Elemental Health Group of Pennsylvania, and CBD For Life. She has been the driving force behind the development of these thriving cannabis businesses into profitable, strong brands. Prior to her successful career in the cannabis industry, Ms. Stavola was a senior Wall Street executive, where she spent most of her career at Jefferies and Company, most recently as Senior Vice President, Institutional Equity Sales. Earlier this year, The Canadian Bioceutical Corporation (CSE: BCC, OTC PINK:CBICF) appointed Stavola as President of the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, CGX. In her new role, Ms. Stavola will be responsible for the operation of the Arizona business, as well as the Company's other U.S. operations.|
|US Senator||New York||New York, NY||Regulator|
|In March, 2015, Gillibrand co-sponsored The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS) which seeks significant reforms in marijuana policy in the U.S., according to the Brookings Institution. In June, 2017, Gillibrand (D-NY) - along with Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Al Franken (D-MN), and Mike Lee (R-UT) - reintroduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, a bipartisan bill that would allow Americans to access medical marijuana in states where it is legal without fear of federal prosecution. The bill would also permit doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend medical marijuana to veterans to treat serious injuries and chronic conditions. When the CARERS Act was originally introduced in the last session of Congress, it was the first medical marijuana bill ever to be introduced into the U.S. Senate.|
Sally Van Der Veer
|President & Co-Owner||Medicine Man||Denver, CO||PPR|
|Sally Vander Veer, president and co-owner of Colorado’s Medicine Man, runs the day-to-day operations of the 40,000 square foot cultivation facility, four dispensaries and 90 employees. Under her leadership, Medicine Man continues to expand their retail footprint by adopting mainstream retail strategies to expand both customer experience, customer base, and profit. Vander Veer holds degrees in chemistry and business, and spent over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry working for Parke-Davis and Pfizer, first as a research and development chemist and later in sales and clinical trial development prior to entering the marijuana industry.|
|Co-Founder, Chairwoman, & CEO||FGS Inc.||Denver, CO||PPR|
|Brooke Gehring founded Live Green Consulting in Denver, Colorado and first became involved in the medical marijuana industry in 2009. She is co-founder, chairwoman and chief executive officer of FGS Inc., Patients Choice of Colorado and Live Green Cannabis, an industry leading state legal medical and recreational marijuana company holding 26 state and local licenses that operates across four locations in the front range of Colorado, and two large-scale cultivation operations that employ upward of 75 state licensed employees. She serves on the executive board of the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG), which is the largest and oldest industry trade organization in Colorado. She is a sustaining member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), and board member of the Cultivation 2017 conference. She is also on the Cannabis Dispensary Times Editorial Board. Gehring is a founding board member of the Council for Responsible Cannabis Regulation (CRCR), and a funding founder of Women Grow. Gehring also consults in three of the country’s extraction-only markets in Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania. Gehring most recently served on the Colorado State Licensing Authority's A64 Working Groups several times as member and stakeholder for the Production Management, Licensing, Licensed Premises, Transportation and Storage, Taxation, Testing and Random Sampling discussions, along with the Senate Bill 40 work group. Gehring is actively involved in promoting the public policy for Amendment 20 and 64, 280E tax reform, and banking solutions that will continue to help shape the future of this industry.|
|CEO||LaMota Farms||Portland, OR||PPR|
|Rosa Cazares is the CEO of La Mota, one of Oregon’s largest dispensary chains - with fifteen locations so far around Oregon. The company also has a variety of other cannabis businesses and is a force to be reckoned with.
Kristi Knoblich Palmer
|Co-Founder & CEO||Kiva Confections||Oakland, CA||PPR|
|Kristi Knoblich Palmer is co-founder and chief operating officer of Kiva Confections. Founded in 2010, Kiva’s mission is to produce safe, consistent and delicious edibles. Palmer is the driving force behind Kiva’s customer service philosophy, employee development and best practices in manufacturing, business and marketing. She and her team have successfully grown the company to more than 80 employees, serving over 1,000 stores in California, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois. Palmer also holds a board seat on the CCIA as the northern California vice president, and chairs its manufacturing committee. She is one of the co-founders of the California Cannabis Manufacturing Association.|
|CEO||Eden Labs||Seattle, WA||AB|
|AC Braddock is CEO of Eden Labs an innovative organization that designs and builds multiple types of distillation and extraction systems across industries such as nutraceuticals, flavorings, liquor, essential oils, food oils, hops, and many other applications. She is a board member of Pacific Century Holdings, NCIA (National Cannabis Industry Association), the NCIA Federal Policy Council and Washington state's The Cannabis Alliance. Ms. Braddock is also a founding supporter of three Cannabis Women’s groups, WOW (Women of Weed), The Cannabis Women’s Alliance, and Women Grow.|
|Executive Director||Magnolia Wellness||Oakland, CA||PPR|
|Debby Goldsberry has nearly 30 years experience as a leader in the medical and adult use marijuana industry. She is executive director at Magnolia Wellness, an award-winning dispensary in Oakland, California, and is the managing director of the Berkeley Community Care Center dispensary at Amoeba Music. She co-founded the Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) medical cannabis collective in 1999, directing its growth for over 11 years. Goldsberry also owns and operates Emergent Management Consulting, a cannabusiness firm in Oakland. She developed and implemented standard operating procedures for procurement, product safety, patient relations, and business management and operations, which have been replicated by dispensaries around the nation. As a community leader, Goldsberry is active in the campaign to reform the California cannabis laws and to protect patient’s rights. She co-founded and directed Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Medical Cannabis Safety Council (MCSC), and Cannabis Action Network (CAN). She is a former board member at California NORML and of the Marijuana Policy Project, and is a professor at Oaksterdam University, teaching dispensary operations and management. In 2017, Goldsberry published her first book, Idiot’s Guide: Starting and Running a Marijuana Business (Penguin Random House). Goldsberry has been a staff writer at DOPE Magazine and High Times Medical Marijuana Magazine, was a featured blogger at “Smell the Truth” and “Ladybud.” She currently writes for Freedom Leaf and Cannabis Dispensary Magazine.|
|Researcher & Psychiatrist||Scottsdale Research Institute, LLC||Scottsdale, AZ||Advocate|
|After gaining approval from the National Institutes of Drug Addiction (NIDA) in 2014 to study the effects of marijuana in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at the University of Arizona, Dr. Sisley was unceremoniously fired before receiving a $2 million grant from the state of Colorado to study how marijuana affects veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. But an amendment passed by the Senate and the House in 2016 allowing veterans to get medical marijuana in any state that allows the use of therapeutic cannabis was removed during a special committee meeting before the final appropriations bill was approved. In March, 2017, Sisley had been working with Johns Hopkins University as a research partner for the first-ever study of cannabis for veterans, until the university resigned from the study. But she is moving ahead with her study, sponsored by Santa Cruz, California.-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and funded with a $2.1 million grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Sisley is on the faculty at Colorado State University, Thomas Jefferson University- Lambert Center and Humboldt State University, where she has helped contribute and shape all of their cannabis research institutes.|
Cassandra Farrington & Anne Holland
|Co-Founder & CEO||Marijuana Business Daily||Denver, CO||AB|
|Cassandra Farrington and Anne Holland launched Marijuana Business Daily when the industry was in its infancy and have built a business to business media powerhouse led by Marijuana Business Magazine, MjBizCon the leading tradeshow producer in the Cannabis Industry, the Marijuana Factbook and editorial coverage that spans North America with their recent addition of a Canadian bureau. Inc Magazine ranked Marijuana Business Daily #528 on its 2017 INC. 5000 with $10.1 million in annual revenues with expectations of significant growth in 2017 as well.|
|Founding Partner||Will & Way||Coventry, CT||AB|
|Meg Sanders is a pioneer in the cannabis industry. She was an integral part of the beginning of medical and recreational cannabis in Colorado, and has been fighting for patient access across America, meeting with over 1,000 state legislators and educating them on best practices. She is founding partner of International cannabis consulting firm Will & Way. Sanders previously built one of the nation’s premiere vertically integrated cannabusinesses, Mindful, where she served as CEO for seven years.|
|Founder and CEO||Mountain Medicine||Denver, CO||PPR|
|Jaime Lewis has over a decade of experience leading medical marijuana dispensary operations and managing the production of medical marijuana-infused products. Prior to joining Mayflower Medicinals, Jaime was the Chief Operating Officer of a large Colorado medical dispensary operation, where she was responsible for operations, strategic planning, business development, governmental affairs and community relations. She is the founder of Mountain Medicine, an infused cannabis product manufacturer and distributor to Colorado dispensaries. Jaime is a founding member and former chair of the Cannabis Business Alliance, an influential trade organization that functions as the Colorado industry’s chamber of commerce, and a current board member and chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association, where she serves as a national spokesperson for the regulated cannabis industry. As a NCIA board member and a founder of the Cannabis Business Alliance, Lewis have effectively supported business involvement and trade group engagement. In an effort to ensure NCIA’s federal representation, Lewis worked to strengthen its lobbying efforts. Lewis recently launched NCIA’s infused Products Council, and was instrumental in facilitating a collaboration with the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation on a new Packaging and Labeling Standards Committee. She has provided testimony and guidance to legislators and regulators across the U.S., supporting the creation of responsible regulations.|
Lilach Mazor Power
|Founder & Managing Director||The Giving Tree Wellness Center||Phoenix, AZ||PPR|
|Lilach Mazor Power is co-founder and managing director of The Giving Tree Wellness Center, an Arizona-licensed medical cannabis dispensary.The Giving Tree has two retail locations and 15,000 square feet of cultivation and extraction. A former Israeli soldier, Power earned her bachelor's degree in business and marketing from the New England College branch in Tel Aviv before coming to the U.S. and opening The Giving Tree in 2013. Since then,The Giving Tree has continued to grow, with plans to open dispensaries in Puerto Rico and Maryland in 2018.|
|Bureau Chief||Bureau Chief California Bureau of Cannabis Control||Sacramento, CA||Regulator
|In February, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Lori Ajax as bureau chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control to oversee the implementation and administration of California's seed-to-sale regulations on medical cannabis. Prior to her appointment, Ajax served as chief deputy director at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, after spending 22 years working her way up the ranks and 10 years in private industry prior to joining state government. The Bureau of Cannabis Control is the lead agency in developing regulations for medical and adult-use cannabis in California.|
|CEO & Medical Director||Blue Door Therapeutics/The Giving Tree Wellness Center||Scottsdale, AZ||PPR|
|Dr. Gina Berman earned her doctorate degree from Georgetown University and is board certified in addiction and emergency medicine. She is currently the medical director of two medical cannabis dispensaries in Phoenix and Mesa, where she counsels patients in alternative therapies, oversees the creation and cultivation of high quality, safe medical cannabis products, and advocates the latest research in medical cannabis. Blue Door is the first opioid outpatient treatment center to combine the use of medical cannabis with traditional medicine, alternative and naturopathic therapeutics as an exit strategy for dependence on pain pills (opioids).|
Amy, Keely and Hillary Peckham
|Co-Founders, CEO, COO & CHO||Etain, LLC||Katonah, NY||PPR|
|Amy (mother) has a long background in corporate administration and management; daugher Keeley has agricultural expertise as a horticultural therapist; sister Hillary is experienced with alternative therapies after suffering from chronic pain and muscular atrophy. Etain is one of five registered medical cannabis companies in New York, and the only company in New York state, that is completely women-run.|
|Co-Owner||The Novel Tree||Washington DC||AB|
|Allie McAboy, formerly with the hospitality industry, opened her dispensary with her partner and husband, Chris, a construction management graduate, in 2014, and subsequently created two distinct shops – a medical dispensary and a recreational dispensary. Novel Tree has grown from ten to 30 employees. The McAboys estimate that they serve about 500 recreational-based customers and 25 medical customers per day and is on pace to do nearly $5 million in 2017 revenue.|
|Governor||State of Oregon||Denver, CO||Regulator|
|Kate Brown replaced John Kitzhaber, the longest serving governor in the history of Oregon who resigned amidst scandal in February, 2015. Kitzhaber was less than supportive of the state's legalization efforts. Brown's administration oversees the implementation of Oregon's legalization legislature. It remains to be seen how the oversight of Oregon's medical and recreational programs will progress in light of the number of state regulatory agencies involved. But stay tuned - her leadership will be crucial! She is seeking re-election as governor in 2018. She is also a staunch supporter of legalized cannabis, one of the state's governors who responded to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the summer of 2017 about his unfounded issues with how legalization has evolved in the state.|
|President||GGS Structures||Ontario, CN||AB|
|Leigh Coulter is the President of GGS Structures Inc. a leading greenhouse manufacturer with sales worldwide. Leigh holds a degree in business from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, and she has been asked to speak at numerous events regarding manufacturing and business development. GGS manufactures greenhouses for all crops, as well as manufacturing fabric covered buildings. After years of working with cannabis growers to improve medical marijuana cultivation technologies, and as part of the company’s strategic development in 2013 Leigh established a division within the company dedicated to the emerging legal cannabis industry, and as such GGS is on the forefront of the movement. As part of this division new people were brought into the company to expand the company’s knowledge in indoor controlled agriculture cultivation (CEA) as well. GGS was the first greenhouse manufacturer worldwide to actively promote cannabis cultivation in greenhouses through their website, brochures, and in the media. Leigh believes passionately in “doing the right thing” and that supporting people’s rights to choose how they take care of their bodies is fundamentally “the right thing”. Working with cannabis growers all over the world she has developed the utmost respect for people who want to perfect their craft, and grow their best plants, and everyone on the GGS team is delighted to be part of that mission.
Dr. Christine Gonzalez and Nicki Gonzalez
|CEO||GfarmaBrands||San Rafael, CA||PPR|
|Dr. Cristina Gonzalez – Chief Executive Officer of G FarmaBrands, responsible for the overall vision and direction of the company on a global scale. Dr. Gonzalez has a commitment to best practices and standard operating procedures to set precedent in the industry. Cristina's corporate and professional leadership skills help accomplish the company's long-range strategy of continued growth. She is a licensed phamacist in two states. Nichole Gonzalez is co-founder of GFarmaLabs. She is a second generation Cuban-American and member of a fourth generation tobacco family and was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day leadership, general management and its protocol for sales, sales training and intellectual property manual development. At Gfarmalbrands, she is in charge of advising GFarmaBrands throughout all areas of the organization including corporate management, sales protocols, intellectual property manual publishing, technology deployment, customers and network operations and licensee relations. Mrs. Gonzalez carries many lessons learned from the cigar industry, this best of both worlds experience is unique and unmatched in the cannabis industry.|
|Shareholder||Harris Bricken||Los Angelas, CA||AB|
|Since joining Harris Bricken in 2010, Hilary Bricken has earned a reputation as an advocate for local businesses. Hilary’s clients - start-ups, entrepreneurs, and companies in all stages of development- reflect the diversity and ingenuity of the west coast’s business climate. The Puget Sound Business Journal named Bricken as one of seven deal makers of the year for 2013. In 2015, she was named to the Puget Sound Business Journal’s top list of “40 Under 40” businesspeople for the Puget Sound region. In 2017, the American Bar Association (ABA) named Bricken one of the top 40 young lawyers nationwide. Bricken also authors a weekly column, "Above the Law," which features content on marijuana policy and regulation.|
Amy Poinsett & Jessica Billingsley
|CEO and COO||MJ Freeway||Denver, CO||Regulator|
|Amy Poinsett, CEO and Jessica Billingsley, Chief Operating Officer, co-founded MJ Freeway Business Solutions. Their company was one of the first movers in providing seed-to-sale and point of sale software to the Cannabis Industry, since then, woman-owned MJ Freeway has grown to serve thousands of clients in 6 countries with consulting and technology solutions and has been recognized three times in the INC 5000 fastest-growing companies list. Prior to founding MJ Freeway Business Solutions, Poinsett successfully directed technology development teams in software application design and research analysis within the financial services, luxury tourism, and medical technology fields. Poinsett serves in a leadership role in the Arcview Investor Network, as a mentor in Canopy Boulder – an incubation organization for cannabis startups - and as a volunteer with local and national women and girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) organizations. Prior to forming MJ Freeway, Billingsley cut her teeth building and managing technology operations with an emphasis on executive management, corporate culture, finance, and strategic relations. Billingsley has been named to Fortune Magazine’s list of Top 10 Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs.|
|General Manager||Evergreen Herbal||Spokane, WA||PPR|
|As the General Manager and Vice President of Evergreen Herbal in Seattle, WA, Jackie manages a team of over 40 professionals manufacturing quality branded cannabis-infused products including the 4.20 Bar™; HIGHDRATE™ and Stone Cold Soda™ carbonated beverages; Sinners & Saints™ candy; Ruby™ infused cane sugar, Trinity™ Pre-rolls; among others. In October 2017 under Jackie’s management, Evergreen Herbal was awarded and recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal as a “Top 100 Fastest Growing Private Company in Washington State”. Evergreen is on pace to generate $4.5 million in revenues this year. Jackie came to Evergreen with significant business experience, she co-founded Vintners Global Resource, an international wine bottle and packaging supplier where she functioned as President. While there, the company was recognized by Puget Sound Business Journal as a “Top 100 Fastest Growing Private Company in Washington State” as well as included on INC. Magazine’s “INC 5000”. She was part of Washington Govenor Locke’s Trade Mission to China back in 2002 and was a competitive tennis player, when in her thirties she qualified for the U.S.T.A. National Championships not once – but three times.|
|2018 Ranking||Name and Image||Job Title||Company||Location||Category|
|Founder and CEO||The Cannabis Marketing Lab||Pismo Beach, CA||AB|
|Celeste Miranda is a successful entrepreneur, advocate and pioneer of the cannabis industry. In 2012 she founded The Cannabis Marketing Lab (TCLM), the first digital marketing agency tailored specifically to serve startups in the legal cannabis industry. TCML has been a launching pad for several other endeavors from Celeste Miranda, including The Cannabis Marketing Lab Radio Show and a cannabis magazine published through the company’s website. Celeste regularly presents at high-profile industry events to share her knowledge of the business and also hosts the DIY Sesh, a traveling instructional seminar that educates cannabis entrepreneurs in a one-on-one or small group setting. Celeste also founded MC4MS, a non-profit with the mission to push policymakers to loosen federal restrictions on testing cannabis for its medical benefits in treating symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Celeste sits on the advisory board for the Cannabis Cultural Association, a group dedicated to helping communities of color to become more involved in the industry and gain better access to medical cannabis and serves on the Board of Directors for Canna Mommy. She is also a regular contributor to CBE Press, generously sharing marketing best practices with our readers.|
|Executive Director||Marijuana Industry Group||Denver, CO||Association|
|Kristi, recognized as one of the country’s 50 most powerful women in cannabis, is the executive director of Marijuana Industry Group, Colorado’s oldest, largest and most diverse trade association for licensed marijuana businesses, where she also served as vice chair and a board member. She recently launched Root Strategies, a national consulting company focused on cannabis strategies and business services. Kristi was an owner, and remains an investor in a group of marijuana cultivation, manufacturing and dispensary business in the Denver area that launched in 2009, considered the beginning of the legal cannabis economy, where she served as COO until December 2015. She is a founding board member of the Fourth Corner Credit Union, the world’s first marijuana financial institution, the founding trustee of CannAbility Foundation, a patient advocacy and resource network for families of children living with conditions and disabilities that can be helped by cannabis and currently sits on the Governor’s Marijuana Education Oversight Committee, Denver's Social Consumption Advisory Committee, the Colorado Task Force for Drunk and Impaired Driving, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment's Marijuana Occupational Health and Safety Workgroup, and Denver's Odor Advisory Workgroup. Kristi has participated in numerous other appointments, workgroups, and rulemaking committees since 2010. Past roles include founding board member and former co-chair of the Association of Cannabis Trades of Colorado and founding board member of Cannabis Business Alliance. Kristi has a BA in Journalism/Advertising from the University of Maryland College Park Honors Program.|
|Owner||Love's Oven||Denver, CO||PPR|
|Peggy Moore is the board president of the Cannabis Business Alliance and the owner of Love’s Oven, LLC, a fully licensed medical and retail marijuana infused products bakery located in Denver, Colorado. She has been the chair of the board of the Cannabis Business Alliance since January of 2016, and the owner of Love’s Oven bakery since November of 2011. In May of 2014, Moore retired from her position as a director of operations at UnitedHealth Group where she led post-merger/acquisition operational integration projects for the past 15 years, and managed customer service operations for the first 17 years of her career.|
|CEO||Simply Pure||Denver, CO||PPR|
|Ms. James is the CEO of Simply Pure Dispensary, In 2009, she and her husband, Scott Durrah, became the first African Americans, legally licensed in America, to own a dispensary and edible company. She is also the founder and Managing Partner of the Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI), a marketing and consulting firm that specializes in cannabis production, dispensing and processing, regulatory framework and political outreach. The company is dedicated to consistently providing innovative solutions through strategic alliances and business development surrounding the legalization of cannabis.|
|Managing Director||Posiedon Asset Management||San Francisco, CA||AB|
|Emily Paxhia is a co-founder and one of the managing directors of Poseidon Asset Management. She is active in the investment decision-making and ongoing investment oversight processes. Paxhia supports policy groups and serves on the board of directors of the Marijuana Policy Project. She has over ten years of experience working as a consultant and researcher.|
|Vice President Public Affairs||Good Chemistry||Denver, CO||AB|
|Meg Collins joined Good Chemistry in March 2015 as Vice President of Public Affairs, bringing more than 30 years’ experience in public policy and strategic communications to the leadership team. Her prior experience includes leading lobbying, public affairs and public relations efforts on behalf of energy, environmental and agriculture clients at the federal and state levels. She is known for her ability to navigate complex regulatory and legislative proposals to achieve sound policies and interact politically at all levels of government.
Collins oversees policy development and governmental affairs for Good Chemistry, and leads communications efforts in those areas including the expansion into emerging markets. Collins serves as the liaison for community affairs activities where Good Chemistry has operations. Prior to joining Good Chemistry, Collins was executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance. During her tenure there, she helped members navigate the complex regulatory and legislative proceedings that designed the governing framework for Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana for those over 21 and authorized the licensing structure for recreational marijuana to be sold in retail marijuana stores. Before entering the cannabis industry, Collins was president of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA). While there, she led the association’s response to a controversial overhaul of the state’s oil and gas regulations. As Director of Environmental Affairs for the Colorado Livestock Association, she implemented a government affairs program focusing on air and water quality regulations impacting the Colorado livestock industry at state and federal levels. Collins elevated the livestock industry’s profile in the state and was able to position the association as a key player in the environmental arena. Collins served on the state’s Pollution Prevention Advisory Board (PPAB) from 2002 until 2012, serving as board chair from 2004 through 2008. She was a founding member of Colorado’s Women in Energy organization and serves on the board of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. In 2015, she was a finalist for the Denver Business Journal’s “Outstanding Women In Business” award. Collins graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in environmental conservation. She successfully completed CDR Boulder’s training and certification in “Facilitation & Mediation of Public and Environmental Conflicts”.
|Executive Director/Shareholder||Oregon Cannabis Association/GM Law||Portland, Oregon||AB|
|Amy Margolis is shareholder at Greenspoon-Marder's cannabis law practice group, and 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. She has been involved in the Dispensary Rules Advisory Board, and the Better People panel on the state of medical marijuana.|
|Debbie Bacon along with her partner and husband John, both well-known philanthropists in Medina, opened Green Theory, one of the first recreational marijuana stores in Bellevue, in 2014. Both are very active in the community, helping with programs for youth in need and other social work. Their shop is on pace to do $3 plus million in 2017 according to the I502 database.|
|Executive Director||The Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA)||Seattle, Washington||Association|
|The Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA) was formed late in 2014 and appointed Vicki Christofferson as executive director and lobbyist. WACA represents all levels of licensees including retail, producers, processors, and ancillary businesses. Under her leadership, WACA has become the most influential cannabis trade group in Washington, and has recently expanded its policy efforts to the federal level.|
|Founder||The Ganja Goddess||Seattle, WA||PPR|
|Tara Wells is the owner of Ganja Goddess, one of Seattle’s first recreational shops that opened in 2014 and recently launched their online shop. Wells is active in supporting the development of the industry, and reportedly sees it going in the direction of the alcohol industry. Ganja Goddess would like to develop a lounge where people can consume like they would alcohol, according to a write-up by the Better Cannabis Bureau. She has also been quoted in GeekWire that Ganja Goddess would like to be part of the legal delivery of cannabis. “By licensing existing retailers of cannabis to deliver, that [black] market will be eliminated.” According to the I502 database, ganja Goddess is on pace to do nearly $5.5 million in revenue this year.|
|Sage and her husband Glenn founded Canuvo, a a licensed for seed to sale Maine medical cannabis dispensary in 2010. Sage’s previous professional life before cannabis was sales & marketing. This area of expertise has been invaluable as she has guided the growth of Canuvo from inception. Everything Canuvo has done in the last 7 years to reach its current success was carefully orchestrated and executed. Her mantra for the sustained growth in the cannabis industry is: cash flow management, remain flexible, expect change.|
|Owner/President||Gobi Analytical||Denver, CO||AB|
|Bugi Perrone reports that, since Gobi Labs opened their doors on May, 2014, the company has been developing new methodology and resetting standards. The team now collectively holds over 30 years of analytical testing experience.|
Dr. Lakisha Jenkins
|Dr. Lakisha Jenkins has practiced traditional naturopathy since 2006, but has been around alternative medicine her whole life. She remembers her grandfather preparing herbs for medicinal use. After experiencing the devastating effects of cancer treatments with her daughter - and her subsequent death - Jenkins became more involved in traditional and alternative health therapies.|
|Nicole Smith brings more than 20 years of global marketing and business development experience to her new position as CEO of Evolab. Before Evolab, Nicole was CEO of Mary's Medicinals. Under her leadership there, the company expanded into eight states and won more than 15 awards for its innovative products and marketing approaches. Smith created the cannabis industry's first transdermal products and holds the first patent issued in the legal cannabis market in the US.|
|Diane and her husband Jay are the founders of Canna Advisors, a cannabis enterprise consulting firm, and a founding member and benefactor of Women Grow. She is also a founding member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, and has served many roles within the organization as it has grown, including participation in the Lobby Days in Washington D.C. and writing an industry report. She was a board member of the former Women’s CannaBusiness Network (WCBN).|
|CEO||Vangst Talent||Denver, CO||AB|
|Probably the youngest member of this year's list, Karson founded Vangst, arguably the cannabis industry’s largest hiring resource. Through direct hire, contract to hire, temporary staffing, career fairs and its job board, Vangst has successfully connected over 4,000 professionals with jobs in the cannabis industry. Vangst goal is to continue connecting the best talent on the market with the best jobs in the cannabis industry. Karson is a graduate of Saint Lawrence University and the daughter of Dan Humiston, the founder of The Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition.|
Whoopi Goldberg & Maya Elizabeth
|Co-Founders||Whoopi & Maya Medical Cannabis||Los Angeles, CA||PPR|
|Whoopi & Maya was launched in 2016 by Whoopi Goldberg and award-winning edibles maker Maya Elisabeth, founder of Om Edibles and winner of ten High Times Cannabis Cup awards. The California-based medical marijuana company’s initial offerings included a signature line of herbal medical cannabis products, formulated to provide relief for women experiencing menstrual cramps and discomfort. One year later, Whoopi & Maya products are available in over 300 dispensaries, becoming one of the fastest growing brands in California.|
|President and Chief Scientist||Pure Analytics, LLC||Santa Rosa, CA||AB|
|Samantha Miller is an internationally recognized biochemist and founder, president and chief scientist of Pure Analytics Laboratory, a cannabis analysis facility. As a Beckman and NIH scholar, Miller discovered and published descriptions of new reactions allowing the development of potential new cancer and AIDS pharmaceuticals. Early in her career she oversaw federally regulated laboratories and became an expert in trace-level detection of contaminants.|
|Executive Director||Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation||Los Angelas, CA||Regulator|
|Cat Parker, the former California coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, was recently announced as the executive director of the five-member Los Angeles Cannabis Commission, which will provide input on cannabis rules for the city. In an article in the LA Times announcing her new job, Packer said the department will protect Los Angeles' neighborhoods, children, the environment and the legal cannabis businesses.|
|Executive Director||Hemp Industry Association||Phoenix, AZ||AB|
|In 2013, Colleen Keahey began advocating for industrial hemp legalization in the state of Tennessee. She founded the first state chapter of the Hemp Industries Association, known as the TNHIA. After successfully presenting to the Tennessee General Assembly, the hemp law that was considered a "non-priority" became law with near unanimous support. She was recruited by Vote Hemp as national outreach coordinator. Vote Hemp is the nation's single-issue non-profit advocacy organization founded in 2000 by members of the hemp industry to remove barriers to industrial hemp farming in the U.S. through education, legislation and advocacy.|
|Editor||Cannabis Business Times||Valley View, OH||AB|
|Noelle Skodzinski is the editor of Cannabis Business Times, which she co-founded with previous owner Tim Hermes in 2014. The brand has grown to serve cannabis cultivators with business and cultivation intelligence through its monthly magazine, weekly enewsletter, daily website, digital magazine edition and mobile app, as well as through the annual Cannabis: Cultivation Conference, to be held March 12-14, 2018, in Oakland, California. Skodzinski’s role recently has expanded to include serving as the founding editor of Cannabis Dispensary magazine - a business magazine exclusively dedicated to dispensary owners and other senior management- - which was launched in November, 2017. An industry veteran with more than two decades of experience in publishing, she was named among the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Cannabis in 2016.|
|Lezli possesses more than two decades of professional experience across cannabis, government relations, pharmaceutical, mental health, and nonprofit industries. More than twelve years with Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals laid the perfect foundation for Lezli’s role as Executive Director of the first chain of vertically integrated medical cannabis operations in Phoenix, Arizona. Lezli’s proven success in the highly regulated pharmaceutical industry, combined with her firsthand experience working in the nascent cannabis industry, provided the perfect experience to create Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (FOCUS). Founded in 2014 as the Cannabis Health and Safety Organization, FOCUS addresses the many short comings in quality, safety and consistency that became evident with the explosive growth of the global legal cannabis industry. FOCUS is an international, non-profit, cannabis standards development & third-party certification organization dedicated to protecting public health, consumer safety and safeguarding the environment. FOCUS is not an advocacy organization, nor an industry trade association. FOCUS does not accept membership dues or fees for standards development. This autonomy fosters a principled, objective environment that serves end users, and acts as the much-needed bridge between industry and regulatory.|
Dale Sky Jones
|Executive Chancellor, Oaksterdam University||Oaksterdam University||Oakland, CA||AB|
|Dale Sky Jones took over as president and CEO of Oaksterdam University in 2012, now hosting over 30,000 students from more than 30 countries. She served as the chairwoman of the board for the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform for seven years, stemming from her experience as the spokeswoman and legislative liaison for the Prop 19 Campaign in California. She was named by Marie Claire as one of the most influential women in the industry. Jones has a voice in setting national priorities and is an expert commentator on current events. She is a founding board member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, ReformCA and Californians to Regulate Medical Marijuana.|
|Co-Owner||L'Eagle Services||Denver, CO||PPR|
|Amy Andrle is one half of L’Eagle Services, an all-natural and sustainable recreational dispensary and cultivation facility specializing in clean cannabis based in Denver, Colorado. Along with the efforts of her husband John, Amy has positioned L’Eagle as one of Colorado’s most respected and highly lauded cannabis dispensaries, leading the industry by championing organic cultivation methods, responsible pesticide use, sustainable business practices, and strict industry compliance. Established in 2010, L’Eagle has positioned itself as a premier establishment that prides itself on offering the cleanest product while also investing the time to educate consumers-both novices and connoisseurs-on the intricacies of the cannabis plant and its derivatives. L’Eagle is the first--and currently only--cannabis dispensary to earn recognition as a Certified Green Business from the City and County of Denver Department of Environmental Health. Prior to working in the cannabis industry, Amy, who holds a graduate degree in nonprofit management, was an executive at a cultural art organization, where she gained an appreciation of cooperative compliance and collaboration. Successful business partnerships were paramount then, and these tenets continue to carry over into her marijuana career. Today, in addition to being a mother and running day-to-day operations for L’Eagle, Amy actively participates in outreach by contributing her time serving on the City of Denver’s Cannabis Sustainability Work Group, and as a founding board member of the Cannabis Certification Council. She also provides consulting services for legal marijuana companies looking to improve sustainability in their operations.|
|Director of Public Affairs||Native Roots||Denver, CO||PPR|
|Shannon Fender joined Native Roots Dispensary in December 2016 as Director of Public Affairs. With 20 locations in Colorado, Native Roots is among the largest and best known cannabis brands in the country. Shannon is responsible for the company’s federal, state, and local government relations initiatives, directing political and legislative activity, as well as Native Roots’ philanthropic affairs, community engagement, and strategic communications. In May of 2017, Shannon was elected by her industry peers to serve on the Board of the National Cannabis Industry Association, where she also serves on the organization's policy council. Shannon is highly involved in federal industry lobbying efforts on reforming 280E regulations withe The New Federalism Fund.
Cannabis policy has been a focus of Shannon’s professional work since voters passed Amendment 64 in 2012. Notable achievements at the Colorado legislature include lobbying the General Assembly to: remove burdensome surety bonds on cannabis business licenses; continue to allow multi-serving liquid marijuana edibles; exempt topical marijuana products from Colorado’s recreational one ounce equivalency rule; prevent a THC product potency cap; and, harmonize the non-residential purchasing differential from one-quarter ounce to one ounce. She was among the initial participants on the ‘No on Initiative 139’ campaign which brought industry leaders together to prevent a constitutional amendment on THC potency caps. Prior to joining Native Roots, Shannon was the Senior Associate at a well-known Denver lobbying and business development firm, Sewald Hanfling Public Affairs, where she represented cannabis clients Dixie Brands and Medicine Man. She is known in political and professional circles as being collaborative, charismatic, and diligent. Her ability to bring diverse stakeholders together to affect change is among the qualities that make her successful as a cannabis executive. Shannon is a graduate of the University of Colorado Denver where she obtained a degree in political science with an emphasis in public policy. She has been awarded several leadership honors including the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s ‘Impact Denver’ program in 2016 and the Colorado Business Women’s ‘Young Careerist’ award in 2014.
|2018 Ranking||Name and Image||Job Title||Company||Location||Category|
|Founder, CEO||OG Analytical||Eugene, OR||AB|
|Bethany Sherman founded Oregon Growers Analytical in 2013 under the inspiration of creating a safer environment for her family and community. Born and raised in Oregon, Sherman studied environmental and political science in Eugene at Lane Community College before moving on to University of California - Berkeley to study marketing. Sherman is also the director of the Cannabis Safety Institute, a not-for-profit organization aimed at providing recommendations for sensible cannabis regulation across the US. Her involvement in the industry led to the appointment on the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) Recreational Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee's technical subcommittee for laboratories and traceability.|
|Owner||National Holistic Healing Center||Washington DC||PPR|
|Dr. Chanda Macias, the Owner of the National Holistic Healing Center Medical Marijuana Dispensary (NHHC) in Dupont Circle, Washington D.C., is a Cell Biologist (PhD) with extensive experience with cancer and infectious disease research PhD from Howard University, and extensively trained at the Howard University Cancer Center studying breast cancer where her studies included a focus on developing a model to understand how prostate cancer metastasizes to bone. At Colgate Palmolive Company she researched oral diseases and possible treatment options which contributed to the launch of several billion dollar brands. Her innovations have resulted in three (3) U.S. Patents, and eleven (11) Global Patients (World Intellectual Property Organization), and numerous scientific publications. She has served as the Director of STEM Education in the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Sciences. Dr. Macias has also managed several federally funded grants, and have trained MD’s, PhD’s, and advanced undergraduate students in biomedical research. To top it all off, Chanda has a MBA from Rutgers University (Newark) in Supply Chain Management.|
|CEO||Green Leaf Labs||Portland, OR||AB|
|Rowshan Reordan is a licensed attorney in the state of Oregon and the founder and owner of Green Leaf Lab, the first cannabis analytical laboratory in the nation to be licensed and accredited by a state agency. Established in 2011, before cannabis testing was part of the discourse in the cannabis industry, Reordan’s mission has been to help create accuracy and integrity in the cannabis industry. She has participated in testing committees for both Oregon’s medical marijuana and recreational marijuana programs. She has presented at a variety of educational seminars and conferences, and collaborated with leaders in and outside of the industry, to promote consumer safety and standardization in analytical testing.|
|Executive Director||California Cannabis Industry Association||Denver, CO||Association|
|Lindsay Robinson was named executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association in January, 2016. Prior to that, Robinson was the director of development for the Marijuana Policy Project. She oversaw MPP's national fundraising and membership strategies. She was one of the primary fundraisers for both Amendment 64, the 2012 ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Colorado, and Ballot Measure 2, a similar initiative that made marijuana legal in Alaska in 2014.|
|Commissioner||Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission||Boston, MA||Regulator|
|In September 2017, Shaleen was appointed by the Governor, Treasurer, and Attorney General of Massachusetts to lead the agency tasked with implementing our marijuana law, along with four other commissioners. She previously helped connect marijuana businesses with employees as a co-founding partner of THC Staffing Group, an inclusion-focused marijuana industry recruiting firm. Additionally, she is an an attorney specializing in marijuana regulations.She has helped draft marijuana laws and provided regulatory expertise for leading consulting firms including Vicente Sederberg and 4Front Advisors. She has earned several awards for her advocacy work and efforts to bring more women and people of color into drug policy reform, including the Hunter S. Thompson Young Attorney Award and the High Times Freedom Fighter Award. Shaleen is a Trustee of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and a founding board member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association and Marijuana Majority.|
|General Manager||Urban Bud||Tacoma, WA||PPR|
|Chandra Hall is the General Manager and Miracle maker at Urban Bud. A Washington native, Chandra started her career path with the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound where she ran daily operations and implemented programs at six main branch sites and 15 outreach sites. Her time at the non-profit organization was critical to her success in life and to finding her way to the cannabis industry. Chandra began her cannabis career in 2013 at Rainier Wellness Center as a budtender. Within three months, she was general manager of Urban Bud. Urban Bud started with several challenges and obstacles but with her business savvy and ability to network and build relationships, the business grew three fold. Urban Bud is projected to do nearly $5.0 million in 2017 revenues. Chandra has a passion for educating the public on cannabis and its medicinal properties. Having had several family members battle multiple types of cancer she truly believes that cannabis is our gate way to a cure. She is a member of the National Cannabis Chamber of Commerce and an advocate for the medical use of cannabis.|
Laurie Zrenda & Meredith Elmer
|Co-Owners||Thames Valley Alternative Relief||Uncasville, CT||PPR|
|Laurie Zrenda is a 1987 graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy. After working 27 years in retail pharmacy, she and her niece, Meredith Elmer, applied for a medical marijuana license in Connecticut in 2013. After being awarded one of the first six licenses in the state, Zrenda and Elmer opened their dispensary, Thames Valley Alternative Relief, in September, 2014. The patient count has grown from 118 registered patients to over 3,300 patients.|
|General Manager||Herbn-Elements||Seattle, WA||PPR|
|Andrea Sligar, after a 17 year career in event planning, opening Herb(n) Elements cannabis shop in Seattle in 2015 with her husband and nephew utilized Sligar’s many skills sales & marketing, high level organization, creative problem solving, vendor relations, customer loyalty, networking and a sense of humor. The business has grown to 28 employees. Herbn Elements celebrate the ever-growing diversity of cannabis products, accommodating all tastes and priorities.|
|Owner||Mahatma Concentrates||Denver, CO||PPR|
|For the past 7 years, Shannon has built a nationally and internationally recognized cannabis brand based in Colorado. Mahatma Concentrates was founded in 2009 and has established itself has a high end boutique Extraction Lab and wholesale concentrate processor for the marijuana industry. Mahatma is currently focusing on expanding to other states such as Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Puerto Rico.|
|Board Member||California State Board of Equalization, Assemblymember Speaker Pro Tem, San Francisco Supervisor||San Francisco, CA||Regulator/Advocate|
|Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Emeritus Fiona Ma was elected to the State Board of Equalization (SBOE) on November 5, 2014 and represents close to 10 million people in 23 counties from the Oregon border to Santa Barbara County. The 5,000 person tax agency affects every taxpayer in California and has broad regulatory and adjudicatory powers and is the only elected tax board in America.
Ms. Ma was elected to represent the 12th Assembly District from November 2006 to November 2012 (after serving the maximum three terms). She was the #112 woman to ever be elected to the California Legislature and the first Asian woman to ever serve as Speaker pro Tempore since 1850 (first Legislature). Ms. Ma first became interested in politics as a small business owner advocating on behalf of other small businesses. She was an elected delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business under President Bill Clinton and later was elected a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 2002-2006.
In the Assembly, Ms. Ma authored groundbreaking legislation to protect consumers, prevent the spread of Hepatitis B, and increase access to quality healthcare. As a joint author of Proposition 1-A (Nov 2008), she was the legislature’s leading advocate to bring high-speed trains to California. Additionally, Ms. Ma has been and continues to be a leader in promoting trade and fostering relationships between California and Asia.
She is running unopposed to date, for State treasurer in California. Ms. Ma received her B.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY), her M.S. in Taxation from Golden Gate University (SF), and an MBA from Pepperdine University. She has been licensed in California as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) since 1992. Fiona can be reached at [email protected]
|Shareholder||Emerge Law Group||Portland, OR||AB|
|Kiley focuses her practice on business and corporate transactional law. She has extensive experience assisting clients with business structuring, entity formation, mergers and acquisitions, corporate securities, and commercial loan transactions. She also specializes in franchise law and alcohol regulatory law. She serves as chair of the firm's Cannabis Compliance and Licensing practice group, and has helped many cannabis businesses navigate state and local marijuana rules and regulations, obtain recreational and medical marijuana licenses, and avoid common pitfalls unique to the cannabis industry.|
Dr. Rachel Knox
|Co-Owners & Founders||Green Flower Media||Ventura, CA||AB|
|Dr. Rachel Knox, MD, MBA is one of four co-founders of The American Cannabinoid Clinics (The AC Clinics), a title she proudly shares with her mom, dad and sister - Drs. Janice, David and Jessica Knox. She also serves as Medical Chair for the Minority Cannabis Business Association. Dr. Rachel (as she is commonly called in a shared setting with 3 other Drs. Knox) received her medical and business degrees from Tufts University after completing her undergraduate studies at Duke. She trained in Family and Integrative medicine before pursuing additional study in the areas of Functional, Cannabinoid and Cannabis Medicine, and is a current member of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine. Dr. Rachel speaks nationally as a clinical cannabis expert, and is recognized as a Doctors for Cannabis Regulation Ambassador. She also serves in the Portland Minority Cannabis Cabinet, on the Portland Cannabis Tax & Community Budgeting Committee, and is a nominee for a Governor-appointed seat on the Oregon Cannabis Commission.|
|Director, Operations||INDO EXPO||Denver, CO||AB|
|Originally from Miami, Florida, Stephanie set her sights on living and working in NYC. She attended Hofstra University in New York, graduated with a BA in Business Administration in 1996 and moved into Manhattan. In early 2000’s Stephanie began working at ENK, the leading Fashion Trade Show production house in NYC. Working in every facet of event production, Stephanie learned from the ground floor and over time became the Director of Fashion Coterie. Producing Coterie, with 1400 booths, over 40,000 attendees, working in union environments, she learned what there is to love and hate about the event and trade show business. With a birds eye view, she followed the changing times, and in 2012 Stephanie left Manhattan and moved to Denver Colorado. Stephanie immediately entered the event business in Denver, taking the Events Director postion at the Denver Mart, and oversaw the production of all in-house events such as the nationally recognized Gift Show and Apparel Shows. In 2013, Stephanie partnered with Chris Olson, a master grower and together conceptualized and built INDO EXPO Trade show and PipeLine Productions. Through these two entities the pair began building their dream event businesses. Their mission via these entities was to provide a professional forum for those working within the cannabis space. In 2015 Stephanie and Chris moved to Southern Oregon and recently began building Carpenter Hill Farms “while we love running INDO EXPO, we also wanted to be out on the farm and get back to #farmlife... in this day and age it’s amazing to be able work remotely” said Stephanie.
|Founder & Owner||Herb's House||Ballard, WA||PPR|
|Jacobson, a medical marijuana patient who loves to bake, opened Herbs House in 2013 as a woman-friendly, family-friendly social gathering medical marijuana collective dispensary that she describes as “a little out of the box.” In 2015, they expanded to include recreational. She said that, as a lady entrepreneur, she is thrilled to create an environment where “even my mother can feel comfortable accessing cannabis.” Herb's House is on pave to generate $3.25 million in 2017 revenues.|
|Musician and Advocate||Wine Tincture||Los Angeles, CA||PPR/Advocate|
|Etheridge has been treating herself with cannabis ever since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, and has been an outspoken proponent for the benefits of using medical marijuana. She recently launched her own brand of cannabis products, Etheridge Farms.|
|Vice President Business Development||Tilray||New York, NY||AB/PPR|
|Jennifer brings a strong background of strategy and deal-making to Privateer Holdings, where she is responsible for developing Tilray’s business globally through supply chain and distribution deals, as well as strategic product, marketing, sales, and operations initiatives. After starting her career on Wall Street, Jennifer amassed over a decade of experience in business development and management from roles at AOL, MLB Advanced Media, FIFA, Sony Music, and Bitly. At Tilray, she continues her record of transforming industries by working with category-defining brands to leverage their assets and craft accretive partnerships and develop strategic initiatives. At Sony Music, Jennifer was responsible for precedent-setting deal activity in the music industry and working with industry trade bodies like the RIAA. She negotiated a partnership with Spotify to launch the on-demand streaming music category, and represented Sony in industry-level broadcast and internet radio discussions. While on the executive team at Bitly, Jennifer led the company’s key strategic initiatives and business development including data licensing and platform partnerships. She launched Bitly's Platform Partner Certification Program to align with the leading marketing technology companies like Adobe around product integration, sales, and marketing.|
|Executive Director||Americans for Safe Access||Washington DC||Advocate|
|Steph Sherer is founder and Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists, and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. Sherer has become the foremost international leader and expert on medical cannabis patient advocacy and, alongside American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), has created the first industry standards in the areas of distribution, cultivation, analytics, manufacturing, packaging and labeling. Her direct experience with the medical benefits of cannabis and her political organizing background led her to form ASA in 2002 with the purpose of building a strong grassroots movement to protect patients and their rights. Sherer has trained over 100,000 individuals across the country on civic engagement regarding medical cannabis.|
Dr. Cara Christ
|Director||Arizona Department of Health||Phoenix, AZ||Regulator|
|Dr. Cara Christ has worked for the Arizona Department of Health Services for more than nine years in multiple positions. In May, 2015, Dr. Christ was appointed as director by Governor Doug Ducey. Dr. Christ started her ADHS career in 2000 as an infectious disease epidemiologist.|
|President||The Holistic Center||Phoenix, AZ||PPR|
|Cindy Abbott is the president of The Holistic Center in Phoenix, Arizona, a licensed medical cannabis dispensary. She got into the medical marijuana business as a result of her own issues treating her multiple sclerosis. She said that she tried marijuana because she couldn’t take pain pills and now treats her MS with high THC, tinctures and vapes to help “keep her mellow.” She is a graduate Boston University.|
|Director of Operations||Monkey Grass Farms||Kirkland, WA||PPR|
|Monkey Grass Farms is one of the state's largest growers - a Tier 3 producer/processor in north central Washington. Many of Monkey Grass Farms owners and employees developed their expertise in the industry through using and growing medical marijuana.|
Ariel Clark & Nicole Howard Neubert
|Attorneys||Clark Neubert||Santa Monica, CA||AB|
|Clark founded and became the chair of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force. Dedicated to finding a workable alternative to Prop D, the task force raised awareness through an aggressive grassroots organization and a series of town halls. This effort has led to the task force working directly with the city of Los Angeles in the ongoing effort to develop effective rules for cannabis business permitting, zoning, and other regulatory issues.
Nicole Howell Neubert is a California cannabis business attorney. As a counselor and industry advocate, Nicole serves as outside general counsel to numerous cannabis operators, providing advice on corporate and business matters, entity formation and operation, M&A, local and state permitting and compliance, and business litigation. She is also actively involved in local and state legislative and regulatory efforts, most recently as a member of California State Treasurer John Chiang’s Cannabis Banking Working Group.
Nicole previously practiced criminal and civil law at the San Francisco firm Clarence Dyer & Cohen LLP and Farella Braun + Martel LLP, where she worked on a range of complex business litigation, parallel civil, criminal, and regulatory actions, high stakes tort, trade secret, and employment litigation, and trust and estate disputes. She serves on the Board of California NORML, as Policy Committee leadership for California Growers Association, and is actively involved in other industry-related organizations, including the California Cannabis Industry Association and the National Cannabis Bar Association. Nicole teaches legal courses at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, which enables her to share her knowledge with students, and provides her with important insights into the evolving needs of the community.
|State Senator (D) NY||New York||New York, NY||Regulator/Advocate|
|After creating a medical marijuana program in the state of New York, NY State Senator Diane Savino, along with state Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, has continued pushing to expand the law that the Cuomo administration watered down to create one of the most restrictive state marijuana programs. One bright spot: The New York State Senate in June, 2017, passed legislation sponsored by Savino to add post traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions treatable with medical marijuana in the state. Savino currently serves as chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Banks and has previously served as chair of the Labor Committee, the Civil Service and Pensions Committee and the Children and Families Committee.|
Maria McFarland Sanchez Moreno
|Executive Director||Drug Policy Alliance||New York, NY||Advocacy|
|Maria Sanchez-Moreno brings nearly thirteen years of international and domestic drug policy experience from her work at Human Rights Watch, where she served as co-director of the U.S. program. She has big shoes to fill following industry advocate Ethan Nadlemann.|