Board Member Directory
Denver Relief Consulting
Ean Seeb is co-owner and manager of Denver Relief. Widely regarded for his expertise in corporate philanthropy, strategic business management, and regulatory compliance, Ean is a highly respected thought-leader aiding the development of a robust national cannabis industry. As a founding partner of Denver Relief Consulting and seasoned cannabis dispensary operator, Ean has significant experience navigating complex legislation and regulatory demands unique to legal cannabis operations. He serves as Chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association and holds leadership positions with charitable organizations focused on a range of social causes, from civil rights to sustainable volunteer farming. His years of humanitarian experience led Ean to conceptualize and develop a cannabis-centric service organization called the Denver Relief GREEN TEAM in 2009.
Originally founded as an organization focused on cleaning up after crowds at public events and offering free wheelchair and bike repairs, the Green Team has since grown to offer an extensive range of vital community services. Ean helped lead the Green Team to form partnerships with other service organizations in Colorado, and the group now provides free labor for volunteer farms and gardens, free food for estranged youth, and free hygiene products for homeless community members. As the Green Team expands its reach beyond Colorado, communities throughout the country are reaping the benefits of Denver Relief’s charitable business philosophy.
A third-generation Denver native, Ean maintains deep roots in his local community. After obtaining a degree in Business Administration from the University of Northern Colorado, Ean co-founded E-3 Events, a community organization that orchestrates arts and culture events. In addition to his charitable work with civil-rights groups and cultural organizations, Ean contributes to the health of his local community through his work with Ekar Farm, an urban farm in Denver that applies sustainable agriculture practices and donates produce to a local food pantry.
Co-Founder & COO
Jessica Billingsley has built and managed technology operations with an emphasis on executive management, strategic relationships, culture, financials, support, accounting, infrastructure, and intellectual property. Jessica’s strategic vision and strong team building skills result in cohesive teams and year over year high revenue returns with large profit margins. Jessica has been a successful founder, owner, director, COO, and CEO of companies with revenue exceeding eleven million ($11M). Jessica is co-founder and COO of MJ Freeway Business Solutions, a woman-owned software company focused on providing a business software platform including point of sale, inventory tracking, manufacturing and cultivation management software for marijuana businesses.
Canna Law Group
Regarded as one of Washington State's premier cannabis business attorneys, Hilary helps cannabis companies of all sizes with everything from corporate structure and intellectual property protection to branding, licensing, and medical cannabis law. Hilary's primary focus is helping cannabis businesses navigate the increasingly confusing and murky legal climate surrounding Washington State medical and recreational cannabis laws. She has represented clients struggling with a host of common problems in the industry, from business license denials, revocations, and injunctions to land-use disputes and moratoria on cannabis businesses. Hilary has also been involved in 280e tax reform and routinely participates in community education panels to continue to inform industry participants about the current and changing cannabis laws in Washington State. Hilary also works closely with lobbyists in Olympia, representing the Cannabis Business Group, a business trade organization focused on I-502 implementation. Hilary is licensed to practice law in Florida, California, and Washington.
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
David is a grandson of Dr. Bronner and President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. He pioneered the use of 100% recycled or hemp packaging; led the initiative to certify Dr. Bronner's soaps, lotions and balms under the USDA National Organic Program; and coordinates certified fair trade projects for all major ingredients. David was the main coordinator of the Hemp Industries Association’s successful litigation against the DEA to protect sales of Hemp foods and body care in the United States. He is a board member of HIA, Vote Hemp, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, and the National Cannabis Industry Association and works to bring back hemp farming in the US. David holds a B.A. in Biology from Harvard University.
The Clinic Colorado
After 10 years in the commercial and land development real-estate business, Max started The Clinic Medical Marijuana Center in 2009 in Denver, Colorado which operates multiple facilities in the Denver Metro area and employees more than 75 people. The Clinic was the first company of its kind to provide health care and 401K benefits to employees, and its support of the National MS Society is a leading example of cannabis business philanthropy. Max is a founding member and board member of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group (MMIG), has participated in the rule-making process for medical marijuana in Colorado, and is a leader among those working on 280E reform. He holds B.A. in Business Information Technology from the University of Montana.
Northwest Patient Resource Center
John Davis is an entrepreneur and drug policy activist in Seattle, Washington. After managing the oldest and longest running medical cannabis dispensary in the state, Compassion In Action, John founded Northwest Patient Resource Center where he currently serves as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer.
John has worked on cannabis policy for over 20 years with the leaders of the policy reform movement. His first board position served was for Hemp Initiative Projects of Washington State in 1993 where he served as the organization’s Treasurer. He started volunteering for Seattle Hempfest in 1994 and was elected to the production company’s Board of Directors in 2001 where he currently serves as the Chairman of the Board. John works on the political strategy on behalf of the organization and works with Vivian McPeak on negotiations with the stakeholders and the Special Events Committee of the City of Seattle.
John is a founder of the Coalition for Cannabis Standards and Ethics (CCSE) and currently serves as the Executive Director of the industry group. He also chairs the CCSE Access Point Subcommittee. John is on the Board of Directors of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), the Cannabis Defense Coalition (CDC), and is on the Advisory Board for Blue Sage Microbes and Life Sense Technologies. He taught “The Business of Cannabis” at Care Wellness. John’s current project is working with Jamen Shively and former Mexican President Vicente Fox in creating an international dialog about cannabis policy reform.
The ArcView Group
Troy Dayton cofounded The ArcView Group in 2010 with Harborside Health Center’s Steve DeAngelo. ArcView is responsible for a number of business innovations in the industry, including The ArcView Investor Network (responsible for more than $10 million in angel investments), ArcView Market Research (produces the State of Legal Marijuana Markets report), and Cannasure Insurance. Formerly he was the Marijuana Policy Project’s top fundraiser and now serves on the board (with 75% of the votes in a 3-way race for the seat). Troy co-founded Students for Sensible Drug Policy (now on over 200 campuses), helped start Renewable Choice Energy (named #1 green power provider by EPA) and worked on the Flex Your Rights film BUSTED (seen by millions). His work gathering legalization support from religious leaders in 2006 made national headlines. Troy is regularly featured in the national media as an expert on the cannabis industry. Troy is a founding board member of National Cannabis Industry Association. He is a graduate and former leadership team member at the Interchange Counseling Institute and blogs about Burning Man at Burner Love.
Founder & Executive Director
Harborside Health Center
Steve DeAngelo has almost four decades of activism and advocacy in the cannabis reform movement. In 1998 Steve played a key leadership role in the passage of Washington D.C.’s medical cannabis initiative, Initiative 59. In October 2006, Steve launched Harborside Health Center (HHC) to bring a new model of professionalism and integrity to the industry. Harborside quickly gained recognition for its free holistic care clinic, laboratory tested medicine, low-income care package program, and wide array of other patient services. In 2007 Steve was involved the creation and development of Steep Hill Labs, California’s premier medical cannabis analysis laboratory, and Steve is the founder of the ArcView Group investor network.
Vice President and Co-Owner
Berkeley Patients Group
Étienne Fontan is Vice President and Co-owner of Berkeley Patients Group (BPG), a leader in the medical cannabis industry since 1999. Mr. Fontan has founded dispensaries in Berkeley, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, and in the state of Maine. For more than a decade, Étienne has helped position BPG as a leading medical cannabis dispensary, focusing on leading the emerging industry as it expands, evolves, and becomes more professional. Mr. Fontan is a founding board member continuously serving on the NCIA Board of Directors, including as Board Chair during 2012-2013. In 2011 he was invited by top medical cannabis researchers in the Netherlands to undergo training and tour the Medical Cannabis program as run by the Dutch government. While there, Mr. Fontan learned how to perform laboratory tests on medical cannabis and studied to understand supply logistics of the Dutch regulatory system.
As a business owner, Mr. Fontan is focused on leading the industry to make operations predictable, while continually working to improve the quality and affordability of medicine for our patient members. Mr. Fontan has an extensive background as an engaged activist dating back to 1993, seeking to make cannabis legal and safe. Starting in 1993 he was a director with the Cannabis Action Network and traveled through 47 U.S. states speaking at rallies, teach-ins, and tours, and reaching out to the general public on all cannabis-related issues. Mr. Fontan lobbied local, state, and federal governments across the country for cannabis rights, industrial hemp, and veterans’ rights issues. He is a combat veteran of the first Gulf War and now lobbies on veterans’ behalf for the use of cannabis for PTSD and post-war injuries.
Dr. Lakisha Jenkins
California Cannabis Industry Association
Dr. Lakisha Jenkins, N.D., R.H. (AHG) holds a Doctorate in Naturopathy, a B.S. in Holistic Nutrition and is a registered professional herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild. She is Founder and CEO of The Kiona T. Jenkins Foundation of Natural Health (Kiona Foundation Inc., 2003), a 501(c)(3) holistic health nonprofit organization. The Kiona Foundation and its subsidiary, The Farm’acy – a nonprofit agricultural cooperative, operate two natural health cooperative outlets, Kiona’s Farm’acy. Located in both Tracy and Oakdale in the agricultural heartland of northern California, Kiona’s Farm’acy has provided holistic health services to the Central Valley since 2010. In addition to The Kiona Foundation, Dr. Jenkins also serves as founding director and President of Jenasis Cooperative Incorporated – a business and employment coop; Brown Hills Ranches, Inc. – a collection of ranches and farms dedicated to providing organic and sustainable agricultural products; JECOI Adventure Academy – a private K-12 school with an emphasis on character building and ethics; and the California Cannabis Industry Association – the California state affiliate of NCIA and trade organization dedicated to uniting the cannabis industry in California and allowing it to speak with one voice at the state and local levels.
Buds & Roses Collective
Aaron Justis, 37, is president of Buds & Roses Collective, Inc., a "licensed" dispensary in the City of Los Angeles, and is a founding member of NCIA. Aaron is on the steering committee of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance (GLACA), a voluntary association of dispensary operators founded in 2006, and sits on the Studio City Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. Aaron is co-owner of Kushman Veganics (KV), which has developed cultivation best practices for maintaining high-quality and pure cannabis. KV is branding its form of "clean" cannabis as "Veganics."
Aaron became a cannabis activist in 1997, when he was 20 years old, and has worked at the local, state and federal level to bring about cannabis policy reform. He's worked with and spoken alongside leaders inside and outside of the cannabis reform movement, including Jack Herer, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Harvard's dean of public health Dr. Julio Frenk. Aaron has traveled extensively across the U.S. and overseas to attend and speak at drug policy conferences, universities, and other forums. He also has extensive experience speaking about cannabis issues with mainstream print and broadcast media, from Al Jazeera to Men's Health Magazine.
Aaron is an entrepreneur at heart. He has owned multiple successful businesses, including real estate, wireless communication and satellite TV sales and installation, and hemp clothing. In 1998, Aaron and his J-Wear Clothing Company won the High Times Cannabis Cup (HTCC) award for Best New Hemp Product. He and his team went on to win 19 HTCC awards, more than anyone else in the world. He also works as a cannabis consultant for the entertainment industry, including a current major motion picture. Aaron, his wife and two children moved from Rockford, IL to Los Angeles to work in the cannabis industry, taking a $50,000 a year dispensary and building it into an organization that will gross millions this year.
Dixie Elixirs & Edibles
As one of two original founders of the Dixie Elixirs and Edibles company, Colorado’s premiere licensed marijuana infused products manufacturer (MIPS), Tripp Keber now serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Dixie Brands, Inc. Widely hailed as one of this nascent industry’s indispensable leaders, when Tripp isn’t thinking about the future vision of Dixie and the industry, he is supporting the efforts of the National Cannabis Industry Association, where he is a founding member and current Board Director. Additionally since 2013, he has served as a Board Member of the Marijuana Policy Project as well as an Advisory Board member of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group in Colorado. In his current role as CEO of Dixie Brands, Inc,, Tripp gets to work on the really “fun” stuff and is responsible for the overall strategy, licensing, marketing, branding and expansion efforts related to the Dixie brand both domestically and internationally.
Prior to building Dixie into a cannabis leader, Tripp served as Chief Operating Officer for Bella Terra Resort Development Company, and EVP of Business Development for Sagebrush Realty Development.
He has a BS in Political Science from Villanova University and currently resides in both Aspen and Denver, CO with his family. He is involved in several charitable organizations located within his community, but his greatest philanthropic passion is assisting in the research and development of cannabis support for veterans suffering from PTSD.
Founder and Managing Partner
Kris Krane serves as the Founder and Managing Partner at 4Front Advisors, a medical cannabis dispensary consulting firm that is dedicated to ensuring the highest standards of operations and compliance in the industry. 4Front Advisors has experienced unparalleled success in helping clients navigate the complex regulatory process necessary to obtain medical cannabis business permits in state-regulated markets. Under Mr. Krane’s leadership, the company has invested heavily in intellectual property and talent in order to develop and maintain best-in-class operating standards for retail dispensaries, largely based on best practices from the retail, hospitality, pharmacy, and medical cannabis industries.
Prior to forming 4Front, Kris served as Director of Client Services for CannBe, where he helped develop many of the best practices that have become the backbone of 4Front Advisors’ operations. Kris was trained in the medical cannabis industry at Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CA, the largest medical cannabis dispensary in the country.
Kris has dedicated his career to reforming the nation’s failed drug policies, having served as associate director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws from 2000-2005 and executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy from 2006-2009.
During his tenure at SSDP the organization experienced rapid growth, increasing from chapters on 40 college campuses in 2006 to over 200 in 2009. During this time SSDP led a successful campaign to scale back the law that automatically denies federal financial aid to students with drug convictions, removing the penalty's retroactivity and restoring aid to tens of thousands of students.
Kris currently serves on the advisory board of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the board of directors of Common Sense for Drug Policy. He served as Associate Editor of the ArcView Market Research reports in 2011 and 2013, which analyzed the value of the legal cannabis market.
Jaime Lewis is the founder and owner of Mountain Medicine, a leading marijuana provider in Colorado renowned for its quality products, patient services, community engagement, and philanthropic efforts. Since 2010, she has applied industry best practices to advance the company’s mission to provide safe and legal access to marijuana infused products and improves patient quality of life through the therapeutic benefits of marijuana. Jaime’s business management and entrepreneurial skills have contributed to Mountain Medicine success. In addition she has experience in retail and Medical marijuana dispensary in Denver, with a background in culinary arts, Jaime’s career trajectory into the medical marijuana industry began by creating compassion edibles for HIV/AIDs patients in San Francisco. In 2009, she moved to Colorado and founded Mountain Medicine, a marijuana-infused product manufacturer. She continues to oversee product development, quality control, and product consistency – the main tenants of the philosophy behind the company she founded. Jaime is founder and Chair of the Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA), which serves as the policy voice for the cannabis industry in Colorado. CBA reflects her priority to develop sound policies and respect for the industry as it grows. She is a current board member of the National Cannabis Industry Association and has been active in campaigns to advance the interest of the industry. As a business woman and industry advocate, her participation in these organizations reflects her passion and commitment to support responsible industry policies, promote patient access, and enhance the emerging industry’s role in the economy.
President & CEO
The Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center
Gerald J. McGraw, Jr. is the President and CEO of the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence RI (“TCS”), the first medical marijuana dispensary licensed and regulated by the state of Rhode Island. Prior to conceptualizing and founding TCS, Gerry owned and operated an electrical contracting company. He is a licensed master electrician, having worked on hundreds of construction projects throughout the Northeast and beyond. Gerry served as a licensed caregiver in the Rhode Island program providing medicine for a patient with a chronic neurological disorder. He has advocated for the state’s program in legislative and other public forums, and retains deep relationships with key decisions makers in federal and state government.
Guardian Data Systems
Lance Ott is a 14-year veteran of the electronic payment processing industry. His core competency and expertise covers every aspect of merchant services including credit and debit card processing, PCI security, fraud and chargeback management, technology implementation, and payment consulting. Lance has a broad knowledge of the industry and has continuously demonstrated mastery not only of sales, but also pricing and interchange; business process, operations and workflow; products and solutions; risk; and regulatory, compliance, and security matters.
Lance is the former Vice President of National Bank of California Merchant Services and currently operates as CEO of Guardian Data Systems, Inc. Guardian was created specifically to provide secure, reliable, and transparent financial services for our cannabis community. Lance is a cancer survivor and fierce advocate of alternative medicine, including medicinal cannabis. Lance firmly believes that safe access to medical cannabis must be provided as medicine for any patient in need.
Lance has demonstrated the courage of his convictions by fashioning a network infrastructure of medical cannabis-friendly banks, institutions, processors, and software/hardware developers to provide the medical cannabis dispensing collective with a safe, legitimate venue for all commerce-related and logistical challenges they may encounter. Lance has taken it upon himself to offer preeminent expertise for a unique and complex business model. Lance believes that proper regulation coupled with technology will bring credibility, legitimacy, and transparency to our emerging and evolving industry. Guardian Data Systems is a Sustaining Member of NCIA.
Erich Pearson is a recognized leader in the cannabis industry – a long-time advocate, legislative consultant, dispensary operator, cultivation expert, and NCIA board member.
A proponent of medical cannabis regulation, cultivation, and best practices since 2000, Erich served on the San Francisco District Attorney’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Group and consults on state and local medical cannabis policy and legislation.
Erich was instrumental in the passage of both San Francisco’s Medical Cannabis Dispensary Act and the law enforcement “lowest priority” resolution of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. As a result of Erich’s work he was appointed in 2007 by Supervisor David Campos to sit on San Francisco’s Medical Cannabis Working Group.
In 2010 Erich launched SPARC, a nonprofit medical cannabis dispensary providing safe, consistent and affordable medical cannabis to patients in San Francisco. SPARC provides high quality, lab-tested cannabis to qualified patients, and collaborates with local hospices, residential care facilities, and dispensaries to successfully supply medical marijuana at no cost to seriously ill patients.
SPARC’s award-winning design by Larissa Sand of renowned Sand Studios has been featured in the New York Times, Wired Magazine, and was cited by FastCompany as, “The Apple Store of Marijuana Shops”.
A sleek décor doesn’t mean higher prices. SPARC drives greater access through lower prices, touting a high quality $28 eighth, every day.
How does SPARC do it? By growing cannabis more efficiently. Erich’s expertise is constructing and managing large indoor cultivation facilities. With a robust Research & Development team, Erich is meticulously focused on developing the optimal environmental recipe for high-yield cultivations using unique systems of lighting, ventilation and design.
SPARC is a Founding & Supporting Member of NCIA.
Erich holds a BS in Construction and Project Management from Purdue University.
Owner & Managing Director
Walking Raven Retail Marijuana Center
Luke has actively been in the cannabis industry since 2009. Since taking control of his company’s operations in 2011, he has changed the entire culture of the shop and successfully completed the process of converting all 3 licenses from medical to retail. Within his organization he is responsible for all finance management, staffing, compliance reporting, marketing/inventory control, and public relations, among other things.
Luke has been featured on many media outlets, such as CNBC, national CBS, and numerous local news stations. He is also actively involved in multiple cannabis trade organizations, lobbying efforts, and advocacy groups.
As a young cannabis entrepreneur, Luke is motivated by the ideal to shift cannabis sales nationwide from the black market to reputable professionals who contribute to their communities and operate peaceful business practices. Luke strives to bring a sense of professionalism to the industry, and he has made his shop one of the most reputable in the cannabis community.
Christian Sederberg, Esq., is the co-founder of Vicente Sederberg LLC, a law firm with offices in Boston and Denver providing legal assistance to businesses and individuals in the medical marijuana community. In his capacity as an attorney focusing on medical marijuana, Christian has served on the Colorado Department of Revenue Medical Marijuana Regulatory Advisory Board and the Denver Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. In December 2012, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper appointed Christian to the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force as the representative of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. Vicente Sederberg is a Founding Member.
National Cannabis Industry Association
Aaron Smith is co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. Prior to launching NCIA, Aaron distinguished himself as a public advocate for marijuana policy reform — first under the auspices of a California-based medical cannabis advocacy group, Safe Access Now, and more recently as the California state policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project. Aaron has successfully built coalitions with elected officials on both sides of the aisle in order to advance marijuana law reform legislation in the state capitol and among the voting public. 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. Aaron is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona and Denver, Colorado.
Scott Van Rixel
Scott J. Van Rixel is the Founder and CEO of Bhang Chocolate Company and PURECBD Inc. He has been involved in the wholesale manufacturing of food products for over 20 years. He is a Certified Chef d’Cuisine and a Master Chocolatier. He has been proud to serve on several boards for the betterment of the cannabis Industry, including a current term with NCIA. Bhang Chocolates has raised the bar in the cannabis edibles category since being founded in 2010. They are proud to be the first company in history to have acquired full product liability insurance on a consumable containing cannabis. Their products are currently available through five different states and two countries. PURECBD Inc. is their newest venture, focusing principally on hemp and high-CBD product development. Bhang has been a proud member of NCIA since its inception and has been honored to sponsor several NCIA events.
Attorney at Law
Henry G. Wykowski & Associates
Henry Wykowski is a San Francisco-based trial attorney representing numerous cannabis dispensaries throughout California in tax matters. He was the tax attorney in the landmark case Californians Helping to Alleviate Medical Problems (CHAMP) v. Commissioner. In CHAMP, the IRS sought to disallow the dispensary’s cost of goods sold and expenses, and impose a tax on gross sales, thereby establishing a precedent that would tax dispensaries out of business. The CHAMP decision recognized the right of dispensaries to offset sales with cost of goods sold, a significant victory for medicinal cannabis dispensaries. Henry has spoken on tax issues at numerous events including several NORML national conferences and NCIA events.