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ICBC BERLIN | SPEAKERS

Dr. Ingo Michels

Head of Unit of Federal Drug Commissioner of the Ministry of Health, Germany.

A sociologist and advisor for treatment of drug dependency, Dr. Michels has served as Head of the Drugs and Prison projects department of the German AIDS-Hilfe in Berlin, as Drug Commissioner of the Federal State of Bremen, Germany, and as Head of the Office of the Federal Drug Commissioner, Federal Ministry of Health in Berlin, Germany.

In 2007 he worked as a Consultant for the German International Development Organization GTZ (Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit – Association for Technical Cooperation) on “HIV prevention among injecting drug users through harm reduction capacity building and advocacy” in Vietnam, Ukraine and Pakistan. Dr. Michels has published widely in international journals on substance use.

U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

Currently serving his 13th term in Congress, Dana Rohrabacher represents California’s scenic 48th District. He also serves as Chairman of the Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is Vice Chairman on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Rohrabacher is a strong voice for lower government spending and taxes. His record of fiscal restraint and pro-growth policies has won him acclaim from the National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Steve DeAngelo

Steve DeAngelo, Executive Director of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California, is a cannabis industry leader, movement strategist and lifelong activist. Steve writes and speaks widely on the subject of cannabis, and his creation of the world’s model medical cannabis dispensary has been extensively covered in national and international news media.

His past accomplishments include organizing I- 59, Washington D.C.’s medical cannabis initiative; Hemp Tour, which brought hemp to the heartland; and Ecolution, Inc., which produced hemp garments and accessories 1990-2000. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Maryland, Steve is a founding, charter member of ASA (Americans for Safe Access); on the board of the Emerald Growers Association and the star of the Discovery Channel mini series, “Weed Wars” which is currently rolling out internationally.

Linn Baumgardt

As Leafly’s Director of Marketing, Linn Baumgardt continuously strives to elevate the cannabis industry by breaking through barriers and partnering with mainstream companies such as Pandora and Twitter. Linn’s creativity, strategic mindset and drive to push boundaries have been invaluable in establishing Leafly as the fastest-growing privately held company in the Pacific Northwest. By analyzing market trends and legislation around the world she created a custom algorithm that has become the standard for how Leafly approaches new regions and global markets. 

In addition, Linn launched Leafly’s largest media campaign, Leafly Vote, in support of cannabis legalization in nine states. Prior to Leafly, Linn worked with companies such as Microsoft, Discovery Channel, and consulted for clients such as Amazon, Sprint,

and Red Box. 

Dr. Jokūbas Žiburkus, PhD

Dr. Jokūbas Žiburkus, PhD is a neuroscientist with over 20 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. He is a tenured Associate Professor at the University of Houston where his research is focusing on epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and Alzheimer’s disease. The laboratory’s current focus is on cannabinoid actions in the brain and novel treatments for neurological disorders. Žiburkus is a recipient of both the Global Lithuanian Leader Award for intellectual capital dissemination and the University of Houston’s Teaching Excellence Award. He is a recognized public speaker with a widely watched Tedx Talk entitled, “There is something you should know about epilepsy and cannabis.” Žiburkus currently serves on several prestigious scientific, business, and editorial boards, including Dravet Syndrome Foundation’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. He is also a co-founder of CannTelligence,an educational and biotechnological innovation hub for cannabis industry-related projects.

Georg Wurth

Georg Wurth is a former local politician of Germany’s Green Party. He has lead the German Hemp Association (DHV) since its foundation in 2002. The organisation is one of Europe’s biggest organizations calling for the regulation of recreational and medical cannabis. With 150,000 Facebook fans and more than 3 million Youtube views, the DHV is powerful on social media. After winning a popular vote, Georg became the first cannabis lobbyist to speak to German Chancellor Merkel about reform. In 2014 Georg’s reform campaign idea won one million Euros on a televised show, after which he launched Europe’s first cinema spot campaign against prohibition.

Ophelia Chong

Ophelia Chong is the creative genius behind Stock Pot Images and Asian Americans for Cannabis Education (AACE). She is driven to help shape the new conversation of Cannabis and is guided by one mission: to advocate for the legalization of cannabis and offer truthful reflections of the faces and communities that embrace cannabis. 

After graduating from the Art Center College of Design in 1989, she traveled the world for a few years and found her calling in photography. She began her career as the photographer for David Carson at Raygun Magazine, Sony Music, Mercury, Epitaph, and Interview Magazine. She went on to become the creative director at Strand Releasing, distributing over 50 films to the Sundance, Toronto, New York, Venice, Berlin and Outfest film festivals.  She moved into the stock and assignment photography business next. Since 1999, she has specialized in marketing and designing for photographers, photography monographs and photography agencies. 

Ophelia teaches Marketing and Self-Promotion to photography students at the Art Center College of Design since 2010 and is an art director in the MFA writing program at CalArts since 2008.

Ravi Spaarenberg

One of the people most responsible for the company’s success, both in Amsterdam and abroad, Ravi Spaarenberg is one of the most recognizable faces of Sensi Seeds. He is the current executive director, together with his brother, Che Dronkers. 

Prior to his current position, Ravi gained his experience by starting at the bottom of the ladder and working his way up. This led him to work at, then manage, the main Sensi Seed Bank and other Sensi locations in Amsterdam for many years. Together with his elder brother Alan Dronkers, he developed several genetic programs and later contributed to successfully evolving Sensi Seeds’ presence internationally, by setting up the company’s wholesale department to answer growing European demand. 

Ravi’s hands-on approach and undying passion for the cannabis plant make him a logical choice to lead the company his father established. “I’m happy that at Sensi Seeds, the staff is united by their love for the plant and a drive to improve things.” 

Michael Knodt

A Berlin based journalist, Michael is also affiliated with Vice Magazine in Germany.

Alex Rogers

Visionary entrepreneur and political activist, Alex Rogers, is the founder and CEO of three thriving ancillary cannabis businesses. Cutting his teeth as an activist in the early nineties under the tutelage of Jack Herer, Alex has a deep proprietary knowledge of the industry. He has played a key role in professionalizing and mainstreaming the cannabis industry, building one of Oregon’s most popular medical marijuana clinics in a matter of a few years, and the first ever to advertise medical marijuana on network TV in America. He also founded and runs the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference (OMBC), the state’s biggest and longest running cannabis business conference. Living in five different countries throughout his life, and able to communicate in all respective languages, Alex considers himself an international citizen, thusly spawning his latest creation, the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC). The ICBC is the first and only cannabis business conference in the world to have multiple dates set in multiple different countries.  A Magna Cum Laude Graduate in Political Science, he has used his knowledge of law and politics to push cannabis policy forward all over the world.

Ognjen Brborovic

Born 1972 in Zagreb, Croatia. Graduated on Medical School, University of Zagreb in 1998. In 2005 finished postgraduate studies in Public Health and successfully finished residency in Public Health. In 2010 acquired PHD with the thesis Association of formal education and pressure for changing health habits to self-perceived mental and physical health. In 2014 he became Assistant Professor at the Department of Healthcare Organization.

 He is author in 20+ scientific papers published in peer reviewed journals.

Since 2003 he is one of the directors of symposium Media and Health that each year gathers most prominent Croatian journalists, politicians and professionals in health & healthcare area. In 2012 he became vice-president of Croatian Public Health Society, one of the societies of Croatian Medical Association.

As a vice-president of Croatian Public Health Society he advocated medical usage of cannabis on numerous occasions, in private encounters, public lectures and media. At the end of 2014 Croatian Minister of Health appointed him as a President of Minister Committee on Medical Cannabis that has successfully finished first phase of work with legal changes necessary to deliver cannabis medicine to patients. Committee’s further tasks are to track medical usage and abuse of cannabis, suggests improvements, indications and guidelines for medical professionals.

Ed Rosenthal

Ed Rosenthal is the world’s leading expert on the cultivation of marijuana. In his more than forty years as the “guru of ganja,” he has written or edited more than a dozen books about marijuana cultivation and social policy that cumulatively have sold over two million copies. His “Ask Ed”® marijuana advice column ran in High Times for several decades and still appears internationally. One of his books on marijuana cultivation is the only book of its type to be reviewed by The New York Times.

Currently Rosenthal consults for commercial growers throughout the world, both independently and as a team member of Quantum 9, a cannabis consulting service. He is also on the faculty of Oaksterdam University, the leading trade school for the cannabis industry. His classes teach pupils how different techniques can be used to improve the yield and efficiency of their gardens.

Beyond the garden, Rosenthal views marijuana law as a crucial social issue and has been active in promoting and developing policies of civil regulation. In 2003 he was tried in federal court for cultivation in a trial where the jury was not allowed to hear that he was deputized by the City of Oakland to provide marijuana for patients. His trial shifted public opinion in favor of state medical marijuana laws. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Green Aid: The Medical Marijuana Legal Defense and Education Fund.  Rosenthal has also served as an expert witness for federal, state, and civil marijuana cases for over thirty years.

Books by Ed Rosenthal include: Protect Your Garden, Marijuana Grower’s Handbook (2010), Marijuana Pest & Disease Control, Medical Marijuana 101, Why Marijuana Should be Legal, and The Big Book of Buds series.

Debby Goldsberry

Debby Goldsberry has 25 years as a leader in the medical and adult use marijuana industry. She co-founded the Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) medical cannabis collective in 1999. Directing its growth over 11 years, with 70 employees and up to 1,000 customer visits per day. At BPG, Ms. Goldsberry 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, she co-founded and directed Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Medical Cannabis Safety Council (MCSC), and Cannabis Action Network (CAN). She is a board member at California NORML, is a former board member of the Marijuana Policy Project, and teaches procurement and patient relations at Oaksterdam University. She has proven experience in business and human resources management, public and government relations, and product development and marketing. Ms. Goldsberry is currently the Ambassador at Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, CA and at Bloom Well in Bend, OR, two model medical cannabis dispensaries.

Guenter Weiglein

Of the legal cannabis users in Germany, three patients have been able to take their cases against the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) for not allowing them to grow their own plants since the imports are incredibly expensive and not covered by health insurance.

Günther Weiglein is one of the three cannabis patients who the German court allowed the ability to potentially grow his own medicine.

Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith is the co-founder and executive director for the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) – the only national trade association representing the social and political interests of legal cannabis businesses in the United States. Founded in 2010 and now representing nearly 1,000 member businesses, NCIA maintains offices in Washington, D.C. and Denver, Colorado.

Prior to launching NCIA, Aaron distinguished himself as a public advocate for common sense marijuana policy reforms — first under the auspices of a California-based medical cannabis advocacy group, Safe Access Now, and later as the California state policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project. Aaron’s opinion pieces have appeared in major newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, and he has been a frequent commentator on national television news networks. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Aaron is currently based in Denver, Colorado.

Kirk Tousaw

Kirk Tousaw is a barrister and advocate for law reform. His primary practice areas are Medical Cannabis Regulatory Compliance, Cannabis Criminal Defence and Strategic Litigation. 

In addition to the daily practice of law, Kirk advocates for law reform. He sits on the all-volunteer Board of Directors of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. He also sits on the Board of NORML Canada, MAPS Canada and the Sensible BC Society. Kirk drafted the Sensible Policing Act, a recent ballot initiative in BC that garnered more than 200,000 signatures.

Kirk has written and spoken extensively on issues related to drug policy, privacy, religious freedom, and criminal justice policy. In addition, Kirk has had the privilege of testifying several times before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights of the House of Commons and also before the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. In 2015 he litigated the first medical cannabis case to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Ross Mirkarimi

Ross Mirkarimi was elected the thirty-fifth Sheriff of the City and County of San Francisco, and served until 2016.  Prior to becoming Sheriff, he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (City Council) for two terms.  Throughout his 22 years of public service, Ross has been an outspoken advocate for the legalization of cannabis – the only Sheriff in California’s 58 counties.  In 2005, Ross was the first municipal legislator in California to author a comprehensive regulatory framework for legalizing medical cannabis. He received NORML’s “hero of the year” award in 2006. Appointed by the State Senate, Ross also served on the California Costal Commission between 2009-2011.   Since leaving public service, Ross is consulting governments domestic and abroad on criminal justice reforms, and implementation of cannabis regulations.

Susan Audino, PhD

Susan Audino obtained her PhD in Chemistry with an analytical chemistry major, physical and biochemistry minor areas.  Susan was the recipient of NSF Chemometric Graduate Fellowship and was a visiting scientist at NIST where she completed her graduate research.  She currently owns and operates a consulting firm to service chemical and biological laboratories, is an A2LA Lead Assessor and Instructor, and serves as a Board Member for the Center for Research on Environmental Medicine in Maryland.  She is also serving as Quality and/or Technical Director for several laboratories and has worked with a variety of laboratories to establish and/or improve their quality management and technical operations. 

Susan has been studying the chemistry and applications of cannabinoids and provides scientific and technical guidance to medical marijuana dispensaries, testing laboratories, medical personnel, and regulatory agencies. Dr. Audino’s interest most directly involves marijuana/cannabis consumer safety and protection, and promotes active research towards the development of official/consensus test methods specifically for this industry. Her perspective is that inadequate testing is worse than no testing.  In addition to serving on Expert Review Panels, she has been working closely with AOAC to develop interest and movement toward the development of scientifically sound methodologies for the cannabis sector, and is chairing the first such AOAC Cannabis Working Group.

Ngaio Bealum

Ngaio Bealum is one of the premiere cannabis comics in the United States and you’ll see why he has performed at just about every Hempfest on the West Coast and too many cannabis-related events to even keep track of. He has appeared on Comedy Central, BET, MTV and many other networks and shows across your television dial.  Very recently, he was a featured guest on the hilarious podcast of Doug Benson (Super High Me, Half-Baked), Getting Doug With High. In addition to his cannabis comedy, he is the former editor of West Coast Cannabis Magazine and has been a tireless activist for legalization. While Ngaio’s comedy is hilarious whether you are a full-fledged member of the cannabis community or not, it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Chris Driessen

Chris Driessen is the President of Organa Brands, the Colorado-based parent company of O.penVAPE, Bakked, District Edibles, Magic Buzz and Organa Labs products. Organa Brands is home to the largest consumer cannabis brands in the United States, with ancillary and CBD products in eight European countries. As President, Driessen is responsible for all aspects of day-to-day operations, corporate strategy and overall performance of the organization. 

Driessen’s competitive background managing sales efforts for Starwood Hotels and Resorts allowed him to prepare Organa Brands as an international house of brands. Through intensive sales and brand training with Starwood (and other international hotel enterprises), Driessen understands the necessity for brand development and delivering a unique consumer experience. This background paved the way for Driessen to contribute to O.penVAPE becoming the most widely recognized and globally distributed brand in cannabis.

O.penVAPE’s dramatic revenue growth for the past several years is in part due to Driessen’s ability to lead and motivate his sales teams. With his sales leadership experience with Konica Minolta Business Solutions, one of the largest technology companies with offices in 49 countries worldwide, he brings systematic practices and highly developed organization skills to Organa Brands. He is responsible for tripling the size of Organa Brands’ licensee network within the United States and expanding the company’s international presence into both Europe and the Caribbean. The company revenues have grown 10X under his leadership as both a sales leader and executive.

As President, Driessen drives higher revenue by increasing efficiency and overseeing new product and upcoming brand roll outs in the THC and CBD markets. Chris directs all operations at Organa Labs, the Organa Brands Fulfillment Center and the Organa Brands Corporate Office. 

Chris Driessen is committed to industry advocacy, corporate responsibility, scientific research, product innovation and safe access to cannabis.

Charles P. Rutherford II

Charlie is the Business Development Director at Boveda and his personal story is what informs Boveda’s mission in maximizing the quality of cannabis. In 2013 Charlie was hit on his motorcycle by a careless driver, resulting in amputation of his left foot. Desperate for a more effective and safer relief for phantom limb pain than increasing amounts of opiates, Charlie reluctantly turned to cannabis. In one night, he went from skeptic to believer. The quality of life that cannabis provides allows Charlie to compete in golf, mountain biking, downhill skiing and marksmanship. The only difference before and after the accident, he says, is that now he gets much better parking.