“The presenters were top notch and exceeded my expectations.”
   — Cindy V., Alberta, Canada

Note: The speaker submission window has closed and we are now in the vetting and selection process. We will add speakers below as we finalize them. For details on MJBizCon’s speaker selection process check out this FAQ page.

 

Keynote Speakers

Loren Israelsen

President & Co-founder
United Natural Products Alliance

John Vardaman

Former Assistant Deputy Chief (Money Laundering Section)
U.S. Department of Justice

Chris Walsh

Editorial Director
Marijuana Business Daily
Confirmed Speaker List

David Barakett

CEO – ShowGrow
David is responsible for developing the overarching strategy and leading growth through development of new partnerships and expansion of retail locations for ShowGrow, a medical cannabis dispensary with four locations in California and Nevada. Previously he lead a chain of over 20 retail dispensaries employing over 400 people, achieving an 87% year-over-year growth rate. Before entering the cannabis industry, David was once one of the youngest owners – at age 26 – of a Century 21 real estate office.

Corey Barnette

Founder & CEO – District Growers
Corey has operated dispensaries and cultivation facilities since 2008 and currently owns a dispensary in Washington DC as well as a full-service grower and producer of cannabis, concentrates and infused products. Both companies were ranked in the top 100 cannabis businesses by Cannabis Business Executive Magazine in 2015 and 2016. Prior to entering the cannabis industry Corey was an investment banker, and owned and operated several businesses in various industries including pharmaceutical testing and transportation.

Adam Bierman

CEO & Co-founder – MedMen
Adam leads MedMen, a cannabis firm in Los Angeles with exposure across North America. MedMen operates in two areas; offering turnkey services to cannabis license holders and making strategic investments in key markets across the U.S. and Canada. He is also the co-chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Policy Council and a longtime supporter of the Marijuana Policy Project. He helped launch the Pledge 4 Growth campaign with MPP in 2015.

Earl Blumenauer

Member of Congress – House of Representatives
Congressman Blumenauer launched the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus in 2017. As an Oregon state legislator who has fought for marijuana reform for more than 40 years, he helped lead the effort to legalize marijuana in Oregon in 1973, resulting in legislation that decriminalized marijuana. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996 and has championed several legislative efforts to protect medical marijuana patients, allow the federal government to tax and regulate marijuana, and normalize taxes and banking for marijuana businesses in states where it is legal.

Michael Bronstein

President – Bronstein & Weaver
Michael co-founded Bronstein & Weaver, a political consulting and lobbying firm. He also co-founded the American Association for Cannabis & Hemp (ATACH) and was awarded “Corporate Grassroots Advocacy Organization of the Year” by Campaigns & Elections magazine for his 2016 marijuana lobbying efforts. Previously, he worked for the British Labour Party for Prime Minister Tony Blair’s reelection campaign and also in the House of Commons where he served as a parliamentary researcher to Rt. Hon. James Purnell MP.

Avis Bulbulyan

CEO – SIVA Enterprises
Avis has over a decade of hands-on experience in multiple segments of the cannabis industry. He founded SIVA Enterprises where he oversees the development, operation and interaction of the consulting, management, ventures, and brands. By 2012, Avis was overseeing cultivation operations totaling 52,000 square feet, along with 6 dispensaries. He has assisted cannabis companies with raising over 8 figures and has secured licensing agreements for 3 companies to expand nationally.

Kimberly Cargile

CEO – A Therapeutic Alternative
Kimberly has been commended by various government agencies for operating a model dispensary in Sacramento, where she requires their cannabis counselors to participate in weekly continuing education. She studied cellular and molecular biology and later became the general manager of one of California’s first dispensaries. In 2009, Kimberly became a consultant and helped open and reopen dozens of cannabis businesses. She was also recently nominated for the Luminary Award by the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Robert Carp

Principal – Carp Law Offices
Robert is a Harvard-trained government scientist and attorney with a specialty in marijuana dispensary and cultivation laws, dispensary applications and compliance issues. He works with cannabis businesses creating corporate structures to minimize taxation, asset protection and other corporate issues. Robert is the author of several cannabis themed books including "IRS 280E and Its Application to the Cannabis Industry" and "The Marijuana Business Licensing Guide.”

Troy Dayton

CEO – The Arcview Group
Troy is the Co-founder of cannabis investment and research firm, The Arcview Group. The Arcview Group created the Arcview Investor Network where more than 625 high net-worth investors have pumped more than $103m into 137 cannabis-related ventures and raised more than $2.9m for the legalization effort.

Becky DeKeuster

Founder & CEO – Calyx Concepts
Becky has nearly 15 years’ experience in distributed and vertically integrated cannabis businesses and now runs a consulting firm where she provides broad-spectrum support to medical and adult-use companies. Her experience in the industry also includes communications, regulatory compliance, and policy development at local and state levels. Additionally, Becky is the former director of the Berkeley Patients Group and the co-founder of the Wellness Connection of Maine.

James Eaves

Professor – Laval University
James received his Ph.D in agricultural and resource economics and currently teaches courses related to entrepreneurship and finance in Canada. His award-winning research, which has been discussed in numerous outlets including the Washington Post and Newsweek, focuses on agricultural markets and understanding the financial viability of new technologies. Most recently James created a simulation of the profitability of growing cannabis using a vertical farm and a greenhouse in various states.

Cassandra Farrington

CEO & Co-founder – Marijuana Business Daily
Cassandra heads up the industry-leading daily news website Marijuana Business Daily and its family of content resources for the B2B cannabis marketplace, including two national conferences. Previously a Vice President at Citi, she earned her MBA from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.

Rick Fisher

EVP, Operations & Distribution – Canndescent
Rick oversees Canndescent’s operations and distribution team, driving retail growth through sustaining partnerships with dispensary and delivery owners. He helped drive early-stage growth for the company, raising one of the highest recorded initial seed rounds of funding for a cultivator. He launched his career as co-founder of Bargain Network where he managed more than $120 million in advertising and more recently led marketing efforts as CEO of Permilia, his own digital agency.

Steve Flaks

VP of Sales – BioTrackTHC
Steve oversees commercial sales and business development efforts for BioTrackTHC, which provides business management and government oversight software for the cannabis industry. Previously, he spent 10 years in sales, business development and leadership in the telecommunications industry, specializing in consulting and providing data networks to large companies across the Western United States.

Thomas Fleming

Chairman – Link To Banking
Tom has over 48 years of experience in both the financial services industry and Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) compliance. He previously served as the assistant director for the Office of Compliance at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). In 2013, he founded Tom Fleming & Associates to help businesses with banking compliance issues and in 2015 co-founded Link to Banking to develop a software solution to enable banks to confidently serve the cannabis industry.

Lauren Gockley

Head Chocolatier – Coda Signature
Lauren was named one of Dessert Professional’s top 10 chocolatiers in North America. Prior to entering the cannabis industry she worked in Parisian pastry shops, later finding a place at Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York. She now brings her expertise to the cannabis industry, where she and her team won the Cannabis Cup for “Best Edible in Colorado” in April 2016 and now have products carried in over 185 dispensaries.

Michael Gorenstein

CEO & Chairman – Cronos Group
Mike and his team seek to accelerate growth of medical marijuana companies in Canada and have investments in various licensed producers, with 100% ownership of several vertically integrated companies. Previously he co-founded Alphabet Ventures, a New York based investment vehicle, and was an attorney where he advised on over $100 billion in cross-border and domestic M&A, securities and leveraged finance transactions for clients that included Goldman Sachs and AT&T.v

Mark Grindeland

CEO & Co-founder – Coda Signature
Mark co-founded Coda Signature, an award-winning infused products manufacturer in Colorado, in January 2015. He has been a founding member of five companies, served on the board of directors for the Colorado Technology Association and the Corporate Advisory Council for the Business Marketing Association, and was honored by the Business Marketing Association of Colorado as “Marketer of the Year.”

Dean Guske

President – Guske & Company
Dean has nearly 30 years of experience as a CPA. He is licensed in Washington State and Oregon, and his firm helps 300 cannabis businesses in numerous states develop tax strategies and best practices.

Jennifer Hanser

Vice President, Business Development – Tilray
Jennifer is responsible for developing Tilray’s global cannabis research and production efforts via supply chain and distribution deals. She also supports strategic product, marketing, sales and operations initiatives at the company. Jennifer began her career on Wall Street and later worked in licensing and product development in roles at AOL, MLB Advanced Media, FIFA, Sony Music and Bitly.

Tom Haren

Attorney – Seeley, Savidge, Ebert & Gourash Co., LPA
Tom is a member of the Regulated Products Practice Group at his law firm, representing clients applying for cultivator, processor, and dispensary licenses in Ohio. He is also a former GOP nominee for the Ohio Senate and was actively involved in getting Ohio’s attorney ethics rules changed so that Ohio cannabis companies could have access to legal services.

Andrea Hill

Attorney – SkyLaw Professional Corporation
Andrea is a corporate and securities lawyer based in Toronto, Canada. She works with a broad variety of clients in the cannabis space including publicly-listed licensed producers of marijuana, license applicants and ancillary businesses such as tech and marketing companies focused on the cannabis industry. She is also an adviser to professional investment banking analysts, business strategists and policy influencers.

Tanya Hoke

Managing Director – Galen Diligence
Tanya specializes in conducting due diligence on management teams and senior executives, helping clients to identify business, legal and reputational risks prior to proceeding with high-value investments and long-term partnerships. She now consults with clients in the legal cannabis industry on best practices in investigative due diligence. Tanya has been advising since 2007 in a range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and financial services.

Stephanie Hopper

Founder – Root Strategies
Stephanie brings 13 years of consulting experience to the cannabis industry, where she specializes in helping companies create and implement processes and procedures to keep compliant with government regulations. Previously, she was the chief operating officer of a dispensary and grow for two and a half years as well as a board member and the legislative chair for an industry group in Colorado.

Dale Hunt

Partner, Patent Attorney – Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP
Dale holds degrees in botany, plant genetics, molecular and cellular biology and law and has been a patent attorney for over 20 years. He has worked throughout his career with plant breeders and has obtained hundreds of U.S. patents for clients, including plant and utility patents. He has also worked with clients to protect and commercialize their plant varieties throughout the world. Dale is a member of both the National Cannabis Bar Association and the Board of the Open Cannabis Project.

Loren Israelsen

President & Co-founder – United Natural Products Alliance
Loren has been deeply involved in commercial and regulatory issues facing the global dietary supplement industry since 1980, having navigated many of the same hurdles cannabis businesses are facing today. As head of the United Natural Products Alliance - a trade association that represents over 100 natural products, dietary supplement and related companies - Loren is responsible for the organization’s overall vision, direction and management. Previously, he served as the vice president and general counsel to the American Herbal Products Association and as an expert panel member to the Department of Defense /RAND study on dietary supplement use among military personnel.

Greg Jones

General Manager – Bronnor Corporation
Greg made the transition to the cannabis industry in 2015, joining a Denver-based contract manufacturing company of marijuana infused products. He has 20 years of experience in the FDA-regulated pharmaceutical industry, creating infrastructure and expanding operations, managing regulatory inspections and developing multi-site production strategies to ensure alignment with organizational goals.

Scott Jordan

Director of Business Development – Dynamic Alternative Finance
Scott has arranged over $25 million in loans and equipment leases for cannabis business owners over the past two years. After cementing his first cannabis loan in 2009, he made it his full time focus in 2014. Prior to entering the cannabis field, Scott was a mortgage broker and then owned a loan brokerage company and provided commercial real estate loans and lines of credit for business owners.

Kris Krane

President – 4Front Ventures
Kris serves as a principal and managing partner at 4Front Advisors, a medical marijuana dispensary consulting firm dedicated to ensuring the highest standards of operations in the industry, and as president of 4Front Ventures, a holding company dedicated to professionalizing the cannabis industry. He has dedicated his career to reforming the nation’s failed and misguided drug policies.

Emily Leongini

Associate – Arent Fox
Emily is part of Arent Fox’s FDA practice group and focuses her practice on a variety of highly-regulated regulated products including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, foods, alcoholic beverages, and cannabis. She counsels clients in the cannabis industry on licensing and permitting requirements, labeling and promotional review, good manufacturing practices, and more. Previously, Emily worked at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for nearly six years.

Jeff Lowenfels

Author & Columnist
Jeff is the author of three best-selling, award-winning soil books and a leading proponent of organic growing practices. Previously, he was the former president of the Garden Writers of America and a member of the Garden Writers Hall of Fame. He also served as an attorney for more than 40 years in Alaska.

Chanda Macias

Owner & MMJ Consultant – National Holistic Healing Center
Chanda earned a PhD and an MBA focusing on supply chain management. She now owns one of five dispensaries in Washington D.C. Previously, Chanda worked for Colgate Palmolive researching oral diseases. She contributed to the launch of several billion-dollar brands including Total toothpaste, and her innovations resulted in three U.S. Patents.

Jim Makoso

Vice President & Co-founder – Lucid Labs
In 2015, Jim founded Lucid Labs, an essential oil extraction and refinery business focused on cannabis processing using a scientific approach. He was one of the original investors and later Vice President of the vaporizer company Vuber Technologies. Previously, Jim served as a licensed finance and investment professional in New York and Miami at several investment banks and brokerage firms.

Amy Margolis

Shareholder – Greenspoon Marder
Amy’s primary practice areas are licensing, compliance and regulatory work. She is the founder and director of the Oregon Cannabis PAC and the Oregon Cannabis Association, and is directly involved with the state’s policy discussion around implementation of medical and recreational cannabis. Previously Amy worked as a public defender, started her own practice in 2007 and in 2014 helped found a firm in Oregon focusing on cannabis representation.

Sumit Mehta

Founding Partner – Mazakali
Sumit provides comprehensive consulting services to emerging and established entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry. He also works as the finance and strategy consultant to The Arcview Group and is the managing partner of Emerald Ventures - an investor in the cannabis space since 2013. Previously, Sumit spent nearly two decades in financial capital markets, working for various companies including J.P. Morgan Securities.

Tim Moxey

Founder – BotanicaSeattle
Tim currently runs one of the leading specialty edibles companies in Washington state and is leading the business through expansion into three new states and Canada. Previously, Tim founded Nuun, a pioneering hydration company, and built specialist triathlon wetsuit company Blueseventy. He also worked in the Australian division of a strategic management consulting firm and before that was at the British investment bank Barclays de Zoete Wedd.

David Niccum

Founder & Consultant – Pure Cannabis Consulting
David has been in the marijuana industry since 2009, having helped develop marijuana dispensaries and grow operations and focusing on areas such as compliance and policy development. Prior to entering the cannabis industry, he was a personal banker, real estate investor and project manager, as well as a bookkeeper and manager for a multi-location business with over $20 million in sales.

Emily Paxhia

Managing Director – Poseidon Asset Management
Emily and her brother founded Poseidon Asset Management in 2013 to invest exclusively in the cannabis industry. Since its launch, Poseidon has invested in over 28 marijuana-related companies across multiple verticals such as technology, data analytics, agtech, real estate, media, biotech, cultivation and industrial hemp processing. Emily previously served as a brand consultant and researcher for companies like Time Warner, Viacom and American Express.

Andrew Perraut

Principal – Radiant Strategies
Andrew served in the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2008 to 2014. In that role, he supervised FDA and USDA policies relating to food and nutrition, tobacco, biotechnology, veterinary medicine and agriculture. He now specializes in regulatory policy and brings his expertise to a wide variety of industries, including the marijuana sector. Previously, he researched and wrote about regulations and transparency at the Mercatus Center, a think tank associated with George Mason University.

Tony Perzow

CEO – You Suck At Negotiating
Tony has trained top executives from leading Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, Red Bull and Pepsi. He was a negotiation trainer at the Karrass Organization and vice president of negotiation training at Strategic Pricing Associates. Now an author and CEO of his own company, Tony is bringing his negotiation training strategies to the cannabis industry.

Robert Platshorn

Founder – The Silver Tour
Robert founded The Silver Tour to teach seniors about the benefits of medical marijuana. He participated in the initiation of the medical marijuana legislation in Florida and lobbied for access nationally. Robert also produced a half-hour show called “Should Grandma Smoke Pot?” and was seen on Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show.” At a young age he founded Dynamic Reading Institutes, which expanded to fourteen schools in three countries.

Patrick Rea

CEO & Co-founder – CanopyBoulder
Patrick is a 17-year veteran of startups, growth companies and big corporate entities. He now runs CanopyBoulder, a seed-stage, mentorship-driven business accelerator and investment fund that has made over 50 investments in the cannabis industry. Previously, Patrick worked in venture capital, investment banking, strategic consulting and B2B media and events in the natural products industry.

Kyra Reed

Founder – Markyr
Kyra is a veteran of the social media industry and a community-focused brand innovator. She brings her expertise to a wide variety of industries, including cannabis companies, and was named a “social media pioneer” by Entrepreneur Magazine. Prior to creating Markyr Digital, Kyra spent 15 years working with dozens of companies. Her work has been featured in media outlets including TechCrunch, the New York Times and NPR.

Brett Roper

COO & Co-founder – Medicine Man Technologies
Brett is an adviser to many companies and investors in the cannabis industry. He and his team have worked extensively supporting application submissions for multiple clients throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Brett has an industrial and commercial real estate development background, in addition to serving in various professional advisory capacities to other private, pre-public and public companies.

Meg Sanders

CEO – Mindful
Meg has been with Mindful, a cannabis producer and infused products manufacturer, since the company’s inception in 2010. She has played a significant role in its meteoric growth, now operating medical and recreational dispensaries throughout Colorado and soon Illinois. Meg was a key part of the establishment of regulations in Colorado and still assists local and state regulators seeking input for systems related to tracking, growing and selling cannabis.

Christian Sederberg

Partner – Vicente Sederberg
Christian provides real estate, transactional and regulatory assistance to marijuana businesses. He was an integral part of Colorado’s Amendment 64 campaign, leading the legislative implementation team. Christian also sat on the executive committee of the Committee for Responsible Regulation, which coordinated the campaign to establish statewide excise and sales taxes on the sale of adult-use marijuana. Prior to the cannabis industry Christian focused on real estate, private equity, commercial, and corporate transactions.

Steph Sherer

Founder & Executive Director – Americans for Safe Access
As the founder and current head of Americans for Safe Access, Steph works to promote safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. She teamed up with the American Herbal Products Association to create cannabis business standards for distribution, cultivation, analytics, manufacturing, packaging and labeling. Steph also is the director of innovations for the International Cannabis and Cannabinoid Institute and founding member of the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition.

Todd Sherer

Director of Business Development & Co-founder – Kind Growth Capital
Todd is a 25-year veteran of the finance industry and has provided over $50 million in debt financing to cannabis companies. He is also the director of business development for two commercial finance companies, where he has originated over $150 million for dozens of borrowers. Additionally, Todd has served as treasurer for a regional utility authority, chairman of a planning board and district chairman of a political party.

Noah Stokes

Founder & CEO – CannaGuard Security
Noah and his team provide security systems for licensed growers and retailers and have worked with over 4,000 companies nationwide, completing over 350 installs with a 100% inspection approval rate. Noah helped craft rules and regulations for recreational marijuana in Oregon. In 2011, he founded a residential and commercial security company and more recently founded The Cannabis Distribution Company, a licensed wholesale/distribution business in Oregon.

Jeanne Sullivan

Chief Inspiration Officer – Sullivan Adventures
Jeanne is an adviser and investor focused on dynamic cannabis entrepreneurs. She is also part of the Arcview community advising many entrepreneurs and investing in several growth stage companies and MMJ license applicants. In addition, Jeanne is a longtime tech investor and co-founded StarVest Partners, a venture capital firm in New York.

Jeremy Unruh

Director of External Affairs & General Counsel – PharmaCann
Jeremy oversees legal issues, compliance, legislative and public affairs at PharmaCann, where he interfaces with officials and develops investor relationships. He has been instrumental in building out the functions of the eleven PharmaCannis cultivation centers and dispensaries in Illinois and New York. Jeremy has 15 years of experience as a government prosecutor and lawyer, with a focus on internal compliance investigations in the financial and healthcare sectors and product liability defense.

Brittney Uribe

Chief Marketing Executive – GFarmaLabs
Brittney spearheads GFarmaLabs’ marketing creative direction, executes campaigns and manages the social media team at the company, which makes cannabis products. She is also responsible for monitoring analytics and maximizing exposure. Brittney was the assistant facility manager for the California territory production facility before joining the marketing department. Previously, she was the box office manager for the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

John Vardaman

Former Assistant Deputy Chief (Money Laundering Section) – U.S. Department of Justice
John served at the U.S. Department of Justice for 10 years identifying and addressing threats related to the financial system and national security. During his time at the DOJ, he co-authored a crucial memo outlining how financial institutions can bank marijuana-related businesses. John has 15 years of senior federal government experience in the enforcement and application of federal laws and policies concerning the Bank Secrecy Act, money laundering and other financial crimes. Currently, he is vice president and general counsel of Hypur, which provides technology products that enable financial institutions to confidently bank cash-intensive businesses securely and profitably.

Ashley Walgren

Post-Harvest Manager – Giving Tree Wellness Center
Ashley leads the effort in developing new and cutting edge post-harvest processes as Giving Tree expands to a large-scale production grow facility, now one of the fastest growing medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities in Arizona. Previously she worked for the Chicago Botanic Garden as a field botanist working in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Ashley also has prior experience working with other medicinal plants post-harvest.

Chris Walsh

Editorial Director – Marijuana Business Daily
Chris has been quoted as one of America’s foremost cannabusiness experts by Dow Jones, Harvard Business Review, NPR, CNBC, the New York Times and many other media outlets. He served as founding editor for Marijuana Business Media during our launch in 2011 and now leads the entire editorial and research team here. Previously, he worked for nearly 15 years as a business reporter and editor at daily newspapers. He has an MBA from Regis University.

Emily Walter

Sales & Marketing Manager – Nanolux Technology
Emily has been a brand and product manager in this industry since 2005 and currently manages a B2B sales team in the horticultural manufacturing space, selling to hydroponic shops, garden centers and electrical supply companies. Previously she coordinated logistics and inventory management for a commercial chemical company, and has implemented CRM’s for various companies. Emily also grew medical crops in California for several years and currently writes a column for Garden Culture Magazine.

Nichole West

Vice President – Sweet Leaf Marijuana Centers
Nichole is a cannabis compliance specialist with over nine years in the cannabis industry. She has helped companies throughout Colorado, Oregon, Maryland and Nevada obtain 19 MJ business licenses. Nichole now works with Sweet Leaf, a multi-state, vertically integrated chain of dispensaries, grows and extract processing facilities that grossed over $60 million in 2016. Previously her focus was on California cannabis real estate acquisitions and brokering.