Our 2017 event was an amazing success! Here are the speakers and the panels they spoke on for our 2017 event; once again we brought you the people most well suited to speak about the business and politics of cannabis! We look forward to an even better conference in 2018!
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. Thus, surveying the changing cannabis laws in the US and Europe, Alex sees the need for discussion of solutions on an international scale, hence, the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC), the first and only cannabis business conference in the world to have event dates set in multiple 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.
In describing Henry Rollins, the tendency is to try to squeeze as many labels as possible into a single sentence. “Rollins is many things,” says the Washington Post, “diatribist, confessor, provocateur, humorist, even motivational speaker…his is an enthusiastic and engaging chatter.” Entertainment Weekly’s list includes “Punk Rock icon. Spoken word poet. Actor. Author. DJ. Is there anything this guy can’t do?” TV Guide has more concisely called him a “Renaissance Man” but if Henry Rollins could be reduced to a single word, that word would undoubtedly be “workaholic.” When he’s not traveling, Rollins prefers a to keep a relentless schedule full of work, with gigs as an actor, author, DJ, voice-over artist and TV show host to name a few of the roles that keep his schedule full.
Rollins has toured the world as a spoken word artist, as frontman for both Rollins Band and Black Flag and as a solitary traveler with insatiable curiosity, favoring road-less-traveled locales in places such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Siberia, North Korea, South Sudan and Iran.
Henry currently hosts a weekly radio show on L.A.’s renowned NPR affiliate KCRW, in addition to writing weekly columns for the LA Weekly and Rolling Stone Australia. He was a recurring guest star in the FX television drama Sons of Anarchy as neo-Nazi villain ‘AJ Weston.’ In 2013, after previously anchoring shows for IFC and National Geographic, Henry joined the History Channel’s H2 network as host of the TV show 10 Things You Don’t Know About. In 2014, Henry received the prestigious Ray Bradbury Creativity Award in recognition for his lifelong contribution to the arts, his passion for social activism, as well as his intense passion for the importance of maintaining books and libraries.
Henry is well known for his popular spoken word performances, or “talking shows” as he calls them, are a seamless (yet seemingly extemporaneous) mix of political commentary and personal anecdote, full of humor, outrage, pop culture, along with a healthy dose of skepticism. In 2013, Henry was chosen as the keynote speaker at the Association of College and Research Librarians Conference. Keynote speaker at California Library Association Conference.
Lori Ajax was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation on February 4, 2016. She was previously Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) where she had served in multiple positions since 1998, including Deputy Division Chief, District Administrator and Supervising Investigator. As Deputy Division Chief, assigned to the Department’s Headquarters Office, she oversaw several statewide programs. She began her career as an Investigator in ABC’s Santa Rosa District office in 1995 and then transferred to Sacramento to work in the Trade Enforcement Unit where she promoted to Supervising Investigator. In 2006, she was promoted to District Administrator assigned to the ABC Grant Assistance Program (GAP) and the TRACE Unit. She then served as the District Administrator for ABC’s Sacramento, Yuba City and Redding District offices from 2007 through 2011, overseeing the licensing and enforcement operations of 20 counties in Northern California. Ms. Ajax also served as an Investigator at the California Fair Political Practices Commission from 1997 to 1998.
Ms. Ajax spent 10 years in private industry prior to her State government career. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from California State University, Sacramento. She is a member of the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association and the St. Sava Mission Foundation.
Hezekiah Allen was born at home and raised off the grid in Humboldt County. For the last 2 years he has lived in Sacramento and worked as the Executive Director of the California Growers Association, a statewide membership organization of cannabis growers and business owners. In just a few years, Cal Growers has grown to be influential stakeholder in the passage of the landmark Medical Cannabis Regulatory and Safety Act and nearly a dozen other successful pieces of cannabis legislation. Allen also serves on State Treasurer John Chiang’s Banking Working Group which will be active throughout 2017. Hezekiah has a background in international affairs, watershed restoration, public policy and is a lifelong cannabis grower.
Luke K. Stanton is an attorney, advisor and entrepreneur whose work over the past decade has entrenched him in the American cannabis industry.
Mr. Stanton is the Founder and Managing Partner of Frontera Law Group, one of the nation’s leading cannabis business specialty law firms. Frontera has quickly developed an array of best-in-class cannabis companies, brands, producers and ancillary service providers all working to define standards for an emerging industry. Mr. Stanton has also expanded the Frontera network to include accounting, business advisory, entertainment and government affairs entities. Through these entities, Frontera has worked on projects in more than a dozen state markets across the country, and continues to push the industry to increased levels of professionalism, performance, and integrity.
Mr. Stanton is also a general partner at Skytree Capital Partners, a Nevada-based private equity firm focused on the legal cannabis space, particularly as it relates to the industry’s insurance needs. Mr. Stanton brings his industry expertise to Skytree to focus on identifying businesses and business opportunities that will revolutionize the legal cannabis landscape.
Mr. Stanton received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame before attending Pepperdine University’s School of Law, as well as Pepperdine’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, the nation’s leading Dispute Resolution program, earning his Juris Doctorate and Master’s Degree in the same three years. Mr. Stanton has been featured in Financial Times Magazine, the National Marijuana News, mg Magazine, Cannabis Industry Journal, MJINews, LEFAIR Magazine and Merry Jane, and has made speaking appearances at numerous cannabis and investment conferences, summits and events across the country.
Mr. Stanton’s career, in all of its forms, focuses on helping clients build successful, sustainable and responsible businesses in the cannabis space while working with other industry leaders to create a prosperous future for the industry as a whole.
Amber Morris is the Branch Chief of the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Branch (formerly known as the Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program, or MCCP). Amber oversees implementation of the cultivation licensing program for medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis. She has worked for the California Department of Food and Agriculture for nearly a dozen years in several capacities, most recently as the Environmental Program Manager of the Interior Pest Exclusion Program, where she directed statewide implementation of the Phytophthora Ramorum Program (Sudden Oak Death), Agricultural Detector Dog Team Program, Phytosanitary Export Program, and County High-Risk Pest-Exclusion Program. Prior to her service with the state, Amber worked for the Sonoma County and the Sacramento County agricultural commissioners’ offices. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies and Planning, with an emphasis in conservation and restoration, from Sonoma State University.
Ms. Lencho is co-founder of Supernova Women, an organization for women of color in the cannabis industry that has been affecting change by providing free education and training programs to communities of color throughout the nation regarding national, state, and local policies and business opportunities in the legal cannabis industry. A graduate of Stanford Law School, Ms. Lencho provides regulatory, compliance and intellectual property guidance to California’s cannabis industry. She is a member of the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission, representing the office of the Mayor, and on the board of the California Growers Association. Ms. Lencho has been asked to speak on various topics affecting the industry at business conferences including the International Cannabis Business Conference where she first highlighted for the audience the shortcomings of what is now California’s adult use law. Ms. Lencho is a frequent editorial contributor to coverage of the industry by Black Enterprise, The Establishment, Vice, and Politico. Her forays in to making marijuana law and policy accessible to the masses can be read on multimedia platform The KindLand.
Scott Bonagofsky has been a licensed California attorney since 1997. He was an associate at Brobeck, one of the top technology law firms in Silicon Valley, during the dot com era, and at Morgan Lewis, one of the ten largest law firms in the country, prior to starting his own law firm in 2005. Scott has been a Thomson Reuters Northern California SuperLawyer every year since 2009, and is a member of the National Cannabis Bar Association. Scott is a co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer of the Cannaplex, a 106,500 square foot multi-tenant, multi-use production facility and distribution hub under development in East Oakland, California.
Rebecca Gasca is CEO of Pistil + Stigma, a boutique consulting firm that focuses on the intersection of government, regulatory, and community relations for bleeding edge policy issues. She is co-founder and managing partner of Greenlight Drafts (GLD), provider of cannabis operating procedures, plans, and policies for the emerging cannabis industry.
A California native, Ms. Gasca grew up in San Bernardino, California and much of her work has been informed by California’s experience and its original lack of regulation. Many of Pistil + Stigma’s clients have business interests sprinkled throughout California, and her staff of expert consultants has closely tracked MCRSA and AUMA since their inceptions. Ms. Gasca has retained focus on the importance of California by opening a Pistil + Stigma office in Sacramento last year and employing a team of cannabis consulting experts who regularly stay up-to-date on California cannabis policy at the local and state level. As co-founder of GLD, Ms. Gasca has focused on tailoring GLD product suites to meet the needs of operators in California preparing for state licensure by monitoring many local jurisdictions as they navigate these new regulatory waters. Outside of Nevada and California, Ms. Gasca has advised on medical cannabis licensing proposals with clients and partners in or originating from twelve regulated markets including Puerto Rico and Canada.
As the former lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada, Ms. Gasca has lobbied on data-driven drug policy issues since 2008. She has helped craft hundreds of pieces of legislation, including the origins of Nevada’s medical marijuana patient and dispensary program, first as a public interest lobbyist for the ACLU, and since as the founder of her community affairs firm, Pistil + Stigma. In 2013, her firm was instrumental in crafting Nevada’s legislation regulating medical marijuana dispensaries and independent testing laboratories. After lobbying local governments to adopt reasonable zoning and use requirements, Ms. Gasca worked with the Division of Health throughout the statewide regulatory creation process. With the support of Pistil + Stigma’s team of researchers and consultants, Ms. Gasca’s clients secured 24 Medical Marijuana Establishment licenses in the competitively ranked process, including nine dispensary permits
Ms. Gasca is Spanish/English bilingual and is a former Rotary Goodwill Ambassador to Chile. She has traveled to Nepal and Turkey as a fellow through the US Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs to study governmental practices and civil society interaction. She holds a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in International Business, as well as two certificates in mediation and conflict resolution and a separate certificate in grant writing.
CEO, Co-Founder of Meadow. Dim Sum Connoisseur. Amateur Charcuterie Maker. Passionate about Startups.
Lauren Fraser is co-founder and President of River Collective, a medical cannabis distributor. Prior to starting River, Ms. Fraser was the President of Auntie Dolores, an industry leading edibles brand. She sits on the executive Board for the California Growers Association (CGA) and is a Founding Director of the Cannabis Distributors Association, focused on developing industry best practices and providing support to regulators at the state and local level. Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Ms. Fraser facilitated capital raises and strategic partnerships for early stage companies in technology and lifestyle sectors, managed the human resources department for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, and spearheaded strategic projects for The Vanguard Group. Ms. Fraser holds a Masters of Business Administration degree and Bachelor’s in Finance.
Ben Meaudine is a Co-founder and the marketing manager of True Humboldt, a farmer owned and developed cannabis brand specializing in high-end sun grown cannabis products with an emphasis on streamlining farm to dispensary relationships. Since 2014 Ben has Helped True Humboldt lead the way in the dynamic California medical Cannabis market.
Being a second generation cannabis entrepreneur Ben and grew up in the cannabis industry developing skills and first hand experience in all aspects of the trade ranging from cultivation to retail store operations. Following a passion for organic farming Ben went on to create Green Collar Farms. With eco-friendliness and sustainability in mind Ben engineered and installed a massive 800,000 Gallon rain water catchment system, and implements cover crop and no-till soil management techniques. Since Cannabis grown on Green Collar Farms is cultivated specifically for concentrate manufacturing Ben has realized more than ever how important organic farming methods are to ensure no toxic residues from pesticides, fungicides or synthetic plant growth regulators end up in the finished products.
Being an avid vape centric cannabis concentrate connoisseur Ben recognized a need for higher quality vape hardware in the industry and founded BigFish Vapor Lab LLC in 2014. BigFish Vapor Lab is Humboldt counties premier vape shop and offers a wide range of premium vape products and superior customer service. Ben’s latest project is the addition of a terp lounge at BigFish Vapor Lab where customers will be able to learn about and enjoy the benefits of terpenes in a classsy upscale environment.
Dean has been a trailblazer in Cannabis related media, helping found Smell the Truth on SFGate in 2011, where he currently serves as Publisher. In 2015, Dean also conceptualized and co-founded New West Summit, which he sold the following year. Prior to entering the Cannabis space in 2011, Dean served as CEO of West Coast Outdoor Media Inc., which he founded 1998, and he help build into one of the largest independent outdoor advertising companies in the Western U.S., with clients such as Apple, NIKE, and Bank of America. New York-based private equity firm Flexis Capital acquired West Coast Outdoor Media in January of 2011. Dean studied Economics and International Finance at San Francisco State University.
Steve Grand received his undergraduate degree from Harvard – magna cum laude. Steve earned his Ph.D. from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on political persuasion. Dr. Grand also has formal training from the University of Michigan Survey Research Center.
Steve has been a consultant, strategist, producer, director and writer for 25 years. He has produced over 750 TV ads and longer format films. He has won a dozen Telly Awards and Pollie Awards for creative media, including the Gold Pollie for Top Political ad in 2010 and 2008 Telly for Best Corporate Branding campaign of the year.
Heading up our west coast office, Steve’s client list includes: Karl Rove and American Crossroads, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Governor Jon Huntsman, Governor Jane Swift, Senator John Hoeven, Senator Pat Roberts, the California Republican Party, the Ohio state Senate Republican caucus, USAID…just to name a few.
Steve Grand has worked for a dozen Governors, 25 members of the US House and Senate, state legislatures and numerous corporations and organizations. He has worked in 45 states and 15 foreign countries. Dr. Grand has taught at the college level and lectured at numerous campaign schools and universities around the country.
His unique combination of abilities in political strategy and planning, media production, survey research, organizational communications, polling and statistical analysis, public policy and his own research in the cognitive processing of metaphor, imagery and symbols in persuasive communication makes him a valuable member of the Wilson Grand team.
Joe Hunter’s experience in the public affairs arena began in 1976, when, while still in college, he joined the staff of John Danforth’s successful first campaign for the U.S. Senate in Missouri. From that beginning, Hunter went on to serve as Press Assistant/Research Director for the 1980 congressional campaign of Bill Emerson, who became the first Republican in almost 50 years to be elected from Southeast Missouri.
With periodic interruptions to work on numerous political campaigns, Joe served on Representative Emerson’s congressional staff until l988, when he joined the Bush/Quayle campaign. In 1989, he was appointed to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the Department of Interior for President George H.W. Bush. In that post, Hunter oversaw congressional and public affairs for several Interior agencies.
In 2002, Hunter was asked by Congressman Chris Cannon of Utah to return to Capitol Hill as his Chief of Staff, a position he held through 2008. Since returning to the private sector in early 2009, Joe has been engaged in communications and public affairs consulting on behalf of clients ranging from Millenniata, Inc., Ceramatec, Patients First, and DC Vote. In 2016, Joe directed the communications effort for the presidential ticket of former Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, garnering the highest percentage of the nation-wide vote for a third party since Ross Perot.
A respected communications professional, Hunter has arranged scores of interviews and appearances for clients with national and international media outlets, including Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, the Wall Street Journal and many others.
Nathan Daschle is the President and COO of The Daschle Group, a Public Policy Advisory of Baker Donelson. Nathan leverages his background in politics and the law to advise clients on the best strategies for reaching their political and policy objectives. In addition to overseeing operations at The Daschle Group, Nathan leads the firm’s international practice, where he advises numerous foreignn governments, political parties, and private entities throughout Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. Previously, Nathan served as the Executive Vice President for Political Strategy at Clear Channel Media & Entertainment, where he ran a business unit dedicated to political advertising. From 2007 to 2010, Nathan was the Executive Director of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), where he managed a $50 million annual budget and staff of more than 20. Over the four‐year period in which he led DGA, the organization set numerous fundraising records and won a majority of its targeted races. Prior to this, Nathan was a litigation associate at Covington and Burling, where he focused on international trade and internal investigations. Nathan has also served in the legislative affairs office of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and the Natural Resources Defense Council, as well as the 1996 U.S. Senate campaign of Tom Strickland (CO). Nathan is also the founder and CEO of Ruck.us, a DIY website builder for political campaigns and non-profit organizations. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his two incredible sons, Henry and Truman, and his two less than incredible dogs, Clover and Roxy.
Professional Honors & Activities
• Named to “The Influencers 50” by Campaigns & Elections, October 2014
• Recognized as one of Time magazine’s “40 under 40” rising stars in politics, October 2010
• Profiled by Details magazine as one of “16 game‐changers in the worlds of entertainment, politics, fashion, and technology” in a piece titled “Mavericks,” September 2010
• Named as one of Washington’s “40 Top Lawyers Under 40” by Washingtonian magazine, July 2006
• Advisory Board Member – EverFi
• Advisory Board Member – Phone2Action Education
• Harvard Law School J.D., 2002, cum laude
• Northwestern University, B.A., with distinction, 1995
Mary Patton is a seasoned business executive and veteran cannabis activist whose professional career path has taken her from award-winning marketing campaigns, working with clients such as Intel and Sun Microsystems for L!VE Marketing, to high profile entertainment industry positions with KZOK FM Radio, Harpo Studios, Rhino Entertainment, and Amoeba Music, before settling full-time into the cannabis industry with a focus on policy reform and business development. What began as a volunteer passion project in the early 1990s, eventually became a life’s mission when she left her career in media, marketing and entertainment, to join top cannabis lobbying organization, The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) as Director of VIP Relations in 2008. Combining business savvy with her production, marketing and communications skills, Ms. Patton enlisted and engaged high-profile celebrity advocates to speak out on cannabis prohibition, organized star-studded fundraising events and helped to change the social narrative and attitudes surrounding marijuana to advance the legalization movement. After leaving MPP, Mary worked with Gov. Gary Johnson’s Our America Initiative, then joined his campaign team on his 2012 run for President of the United States. Since 2010, Ms. Patton has been a sought-after cannabis industry consultant, lending her expertise and advice to cannabis industry start-ups, many of which have gone on to become some of the top companies in the cannabis industry.
John began working in the medical marijuana sector over ten years ago. He pursued a career in law to assist medical marijuana patients with legal challenges relating to access, employment and tenancies. This culminated in 2013 when John assisted with R v. Mernagh at the Ontario Court of Appeal. John is committed to providing Canadians access to high-quality, low-cost medical marijuana and working with the medical community to improve physician education and support for medical marijuana.
Terry Booth is the Founder and CEO of Aurora Cannabis (TSXV-ACB), a producer of medical cannabis and cannabis oils under license from Health Canada. Based in Mountain View County, Alberta, with a 55,200 square foot purpose-built production facility, Aurora is one of the largest and fastest-growing Licensed Producers in Canada. The company has begun construction on “Aurora Sky”, a new highly advanced and automated 800,000 square foot production facility located at Edmonton International Airport. Aurora trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “ACB”, and has a recent market capitalization exceeding $700 million.
Terry founded Aurora in 2013 when the Canadian federal government created a new regulatory regime for the establishment of a national medical cannabis system. Investing $2.5 million of his own capital in start-up funding, he secured a 160 acre parcel of land in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and designed and built what is now widely recognized as one of the most advanced and efficient cannabis production facilities in the world. Terry has assembled a diverse and highly skilled team of experts from a broad range of disciplines to execute on the company’s business strategy and vision to build the world’s foremost cannabis company.
An entrepreneur and Alberta business leader, Terry has served as President/CEO of six other highly successful businesses, one of which, Superior Safety Codes Inc, has received an award as one of Canada’s top 50 fastest-growing companies.
Terry is a strong supporter of many charitable organizations dedicated to ending family violence and violence against women, including the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” campaign. He also regularly participates in reading programs for first grade students.
Mr. Lustig holds MSc and MBA degrees from McGill University. He began his professional career in the pharmaceutical industry at Merck & Co. In 2000, he started his capital markets career in institutional equity research in the Life Sciences sector at Orion Securities. For the next 14 years, Mr. Lustig worked as a Director at GMP Securities L.P. and as Head of Capital Markets at Dundee Capital Markets before becoming a Principal at KES 7 Capital. Mr. Lustig founded Cannabis Royalties & Holdings Corp. in early 2015.
Chuck is a true pioneer of the North American cannabis industry having founded Canopy Growth (formerly Tweed Marijuana) and building it into 500,000 square feet of thriving marijuana grow capacity as it’s CEO. Today Canopy Growth is worth over $1 billion and recognized as a world class cannabis producer.
Chuck is currently CEO of Nesta Holding Co., a private equity firm focused on US cannabis opportunities and Chairman of National Access Cannabis, a clinic chain helping patients access the Canadian federal cannabis program. Chuck also sits on the boards of Aurora Cannabis (TSX.V:ACB), Supreme Pharmaceuticals (CNSX:SL) & CannaRoyalty (CNSX:CRZ).
Chuck is a chartered professional accountant. He obtained his MBA from Queen’s University and a BASc in Computer Engineering from the University of Ottawa.
An “Urban Girl – Suburban Mom”, Dasheeda Dawson is a Cannabis executive, digital growth hacker, and brand strategist. Target to THC, she has successfully launched and managed multi-million dollar brands for Target Corporation, Victoria’s Secret and Fullbeauty Brands prior to transitioning into the Cannabis industry. From Ava + Viv™, Target’s groundbreaking entrance into the plus-size industry as the first to leverage bloggers to Victoria’s Secret Sport piggybacking being “Best in Bras” to become “Best in Sports Bras” — Dasheeda has taken her “Think Big, Start Small, & Act Fast” mentality to deliver game-changing insights that completely shift the direction of a business, driving strong brand engagement, customer acquisition and rapid sales growth. She is an award-winning strategist with a rare blend of analytical and creative know-how cultivated through 15 years of leadership, entrepreneurial, and business development excellence within digital-focused brand management, including her work with other noteworthy brands such as Johnson & Johnson, Shea Moisture & United Way. An adaptable team leader and change agent, her signature strength has been the ability to engage and inspire brand teams with “Real Talk + Real Training”, empowering innovative, yet data-driven risk-taking to drive profitable sales growth for start-up or turn-around businesses.
Brooklyn-born and Jersey educated, Dasheeda received her MBA in Marketing and Strategic Management from Rutgers Business School, where she was the 2011 recipient of the school’s two highest leadership awards during her tenure. She received her undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from Princeton University ten years prior. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Dasheeda is currently the Founder & President of MaryJane Marketing, LLC., a digital-focused Cannabis consulting firm.
Founder and Publisher of Culture Magazine, Jeremy Zachary is an established publisher, media marketing, brand identity specialist and business development consultant. Founded in 2009, Culture Magazine is a cannabis lifestyle magazine with seven markets nationwide and over 2.5 million readers globally. Zachary premiered the first edition of Culture in June 2009 with one market, and only three years later expanded to add four more markets, continuing the expansion every few years with more markets. Through his expertise in publishing and media marketing, Zachary has helped Culture grow exponentially in its reach to consumers and readers, distribution—both in print and digitally, and its innovation—utilizing new technologies and creative media outlets before others. Zachary has led this Culture Magazine to become the premier lifestyle magazine in the cannabis industry, changing the perception about cannabis and its consumers.
Derek McCarty is the head of marketing at hmbldt. Derek has over 15 years of experience in marketing and advertising. Before joining hmbldt, he served as the business lead on brands like Budweiser, Google and Target at some of the top agencies in the industry.
Erin is recognized as the first medical license owner for marijuana in the world and she has lead the renegade and outlaw industry into a business model which is both sustainable as well as mainstream. By accomplishing this no small feet she has become THE visionary in the cannabis space. With a rare combination of 13 years experience in the mortgage industry as a business owner, audit and funding leader, title company closing executive, mortgage loan expert, and loan originator, Erin has become an expert in start-ups, leadership and what it takes to succeed in the cannabis space.
As the CEO of Strainwise, Erin is committed to growing the brand through powerful and successful client interactions, education, and pushing the envelope by continuing to positively disrupt the growing marijuana business world.
Along with her position as a mother and step-mother of four children, her additional experiences include her diverse background of charity and non-profit work, along with her volunteer work with several large Down Syndrome organizations, hospitals, homeowners associations and national sports groups.
Drake Sutton-Shearer is a serial entrepreneur who left his native New Zealand to found a boutique entertainment talent management firm where he represented multi-platinum and Grammy-winning music talent. He transitioned the firm into consumer application development and branded lifestyle programming for premier entertainment companies, including Warner Bros, SONY and Universal. Additionally, Drake has founded, led and sold a music publishing company, social virtual gifting platform company (#1 on Facebook) and an interactive social research company incubated at the Wharton School. He is also the inventor and holder of multiple patents with social and technology applications.
Drake was recruited to lead Brand Solutions and Strategy at the third-fastest growing Internet company in the US, Prodege LLC. While there, he built and led their brand solutions group and oversaw record quarterly growth engaging directly with media agencies and brand teams including Razorfish, Mediacom, Starcom Mediavest, Horizon, Lunchbox, R/GA, Quigley-Simpson, Microsoft, Pandora, CBS, Hearst Media, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Complex Media, Invoca, Jet.com and many more.
Drake’s 20+ year track record of building branded media and lifestyle driven marketing businesses led him to his most recent venture as co-founder of PRØHBTD Media, the leading Video Production and Content Marketing Studio in the Cannabis industry. He has been featured on the cover of MG Magazine, CNN, Variety, SFGate, Huffpost, Billboard and MJINews and is a featured panelist and speaker at numerous Cannabis events including CWCBE and New West Summit.
David Downs is the Cannabis Editor for the San Francisco Chronicle. He contributes stories across SFGate.com, the SFChronicle.com and in print. Additionally, he coordinates, assigns, contributes to and/or edits cannabis-related stories across The Chronicle’s sections. Downs also develops new media products, services and events in the cannabis space.
Before joining The Chronicle, David was a freelancer with clips in Scientific American, and The New York Times. He was the Senior Editor of Cannabis Now magazine, syndicated columnist of Legalization Nation for the East Bay Express, co-founder of The Hash podcast at TheHash.org, and a cannabis reviewer for CULTURE magazine. Downs has a degree in English Literature from UC Santa Barbara, and was a Fellow at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. He’s the author, co-author, and contributing author, or editor of four marijuana books, including The Medical Marijuana Guidebook (Whitman, 2016).
This four-time NBA champion is a big cannabis fan, and we look forward to his thoughts on the recent passage of legal adult-use cannabis in the state of California.
Steve Bloom is editor-in-chief of Freedom Leaf magazine. He also publishes and edits CelebStoner.com, one of the leading sources for marijuana and celebrity news on the web since 2007.
Steve was named editor of Freedom Leaf in November 2014.
He’s co-author of Pot Culture: The A-Z Guide to Stoner Language and Life (Abrams Image, 2008) and Reefer Movie Madness: The Ultimate Stoner Film Guide (Abrams Image, 2010).
A former editor of High Times, Steve produced the Stony and Doobie awards shows, and the Hempilation benefit albums for NORML during his more than 15 years with the magazine, from 1989 to 2006.
He was the recipient of NORML’s Media & Culture Award in 2004.
Steve’s also appeared as a moderator, panelist and speaker at many marijuana-reform events, including the NORML conference, the Drug Policy Alliance conference, the International Cannabis Business Conference, Seattle Hempfest, Boston Freedom Rally, Cannabis Peace March, and Cypress Hill’s SmokeOut and Spring Gathering events.
He and Willie Nelson founded the Teapot Party in 2010.
He’s also the author of Video Invaders (Arco, 1982) and Watch Out for the Little Guys (St. Martins Press, 1989).
He lives in Bronx, NY.
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.