Tahoe Wellness Cooperative
Cody Bass is a national cannabis leader living a life committed to loving and learning about cannabis. Over the past two decades Cody has inspired many people throughout his journey to further the freedom of the cannabis plant. Cody has been appointed to serve on city commissions for drafting regulations which were passed and proven effective. Growing up in a prominent cannabis family his belief is from experiencing first hand the failed policy around cannabis, creating a lifelong commitment to reform cannabis as a crime and create a new cannabis policy.
Cody was born into cannabis, but ventured into cultivating cannabis at the age of eighteen in the hills of Mendocino. He purchased his first parcel of land at twenty five to cultivate cannabis. This property is now licensed with Mendocino County for the legal cultivation for Tahoe Wellness Cooperative. Cody founded Tahoe Wellness Cooperative in January of 2009 and continues to serve as the Executive Director. Tahoe Wellness Cooperative is a model dispensary in the cannabis industry with high standards of testing and sustainability throughout the operations of the cooperative. Cody believes that humanity has a right to all of plant life, saying “for what heals us as humans should never be limited or withheld.”
Cody’s optimism, passion, and overall knowledge of cannabis is the driving force of his everyday life and character. A passion from his youth, his unique perspective has made him a known and respected cannabis advocate and expert.
Seven years ago, MJ Freeway’s Chief Operating Officer Jessica Billingsley co-founded MJ Freeway with a desire to see burgeoning marijuana businesses expand and thrive with smart business solutions in place. To fill a need for cannabis seed-to-sale software solutions, Billingsley and her co-founder launched MJ Freeway in 2010, the first company to bring seed-to-sale software to the market. Since then, featured twice in the INC 5000 fastest-growing companies list, woman-owned MJ Freeway has grown to serve thousands of clients in 5 countries, and processed more than $5,000,000,000 in sales via retail, manufacturing and cultivation management software platforms, as well as consulting services and cannabis licensee application support. In addition, Billingsley has been named to Fortune Magazine’s list of Top 10 Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs.
AC Braddock is the CEO of the industry’s most respected extraction technology company and a career entrepreneur. She has a keen eye for new trends, product placement, business strategy and creating a strong corporate culture and infrastructure for effective growth. These skills, along with her intense interest in botanicals as medicine and humanitarian issues, drive her in educating the industry and those it serves, in safe, healthful methods of producing concentrates.
Ms. Braddock was introduced to concentration technology by Fritz Chess, the Founder of Eden Labs in 2001. She instantly recognized that the highly sophisticated botanical extraction systems he designed would transform the evolving world of medicinal botanicals.
In 2010, Ms. Braddock became CEO of Eden and proceeded to guide the company through exponential growth while also traveling extensively to educate the burgeoning industry on the importance of extraction in the growth of the cannabis industry through medical applications which become a platform for successful legislation in legalization. Obviously, politically minded and active, AC has a developed a reputation as an industry builder, a thought leader in modern business practice, a unifier across industries and an inspirational speaker in this emerging industry.
A founding supporter of several Cannabis Women’s groups, WOW (Women of Weed), MJBA’s Women’s Alliance and Women Grow. She is also a board member of Washington State’s The Cannabis Alliance, NCIA and the Federal Policy Council. AC resides in Seattle, WA where she enjoys surfing, skiing, gardening and learning to play the Upright Bass.
Alex Cooley is the co-founder of the first brand in the first legal recreational state, Solstice. A cannabis production processing company based in Seattle has led to many firsts and many opportunities to shape the industry locally and globally. Through his diligent efforts Solstice created the first ever fully permitted cannabis production facility in Washington State. From inception, Solstice’s goal has been to cultivate the highest quality, most beneficial varieties, including the award winning, CBD-rich Sour Tsunami #3.
Acting locally he has helped to shape multiple City of Seattle ordinances and author the ”collective garden model” of safe, legal access for medical cannabis patients. Standing on these successes Alex and Solstice have been very active at the state level and were key resources to the WA Liquor and Cannabis Board to develop the rules for the implementation of I-502, Washington’s cannabis legalization. In addition to working with multiple state agencies Alex has worked with the Washington State Legislature to craft better laws for patients and adult use consumers.
In recent years Alex has been crisscrossing our country speaking at industry events helping to guide the industry in a positive direction and last year lobbying the US Congress to reform federal policy. Only very recently Alex has worked to shape international policy at the UN General Assembly Special Session on Global Drug Policy.
Throughout all of this action Alex has never lost touch with his passion for the plant and recently celebrated 10 years of cultivating the plant. He also maintains his day job at Solstice, acting as the Vice President helping to manage the day-to-day operations, craft the long-term vision and maintain the same mission that the company was founded on 5 years ago.
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 TheArcview 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.
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.
Berkeley Patients Group
Etienne is Vice President and Co-Owner of Berkeley Patients Group (BPG). BPG is the nation’s oldest, and most respected medical cannabis dispensary in the country, established in 1999. For more than 17 years, Etienne has helped position BPG as a model medical cannabis dispensary, with a vision to lead the emerging industry as it expands, evolves and becomes more professional. He has founded medical and recreational cannabis retail, cultivation, and processing facilities in Berkeley, Emeryville, Incline Village, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and West Hollywood.
As a business owner, Mr. Fontan is focused on making operations predictable, while continually working to improve the quality and affordability of medicine for patient members. Mr. Fontan has an extensive background as an engaged activist and public speaker dating back to 1993, seeking to make cannabis legal and safe. Starting in 1993, he was a director of 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 and industrial hemp rights. He is a combat veteran of the first Gulf War and now lobbies on veteran’s behalf for the use of cannabis to treat PTSD and post-war injuries.
In 2011, Mr. Fontan 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 supply logistics of the Dutch regulatory system. Mr. Fontan is a founding board member continuously serving on National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Board of Directors, including as Board Chair during 2012-2013.
Buds & Roses
At Buds & Roses, Aaron’s goal is, quite simply, to create the ultimate cannabis shopping experience for new and experienced cannabis users. This means consistently cultivating, sourcing and retailing only the safest and highest quality cannabis products available on the market. Further, Buds & Roses takes great care to employ highly-trained, certified, and knowledgeable staff to individually understand and meet the needs of its valued customers. Since 2010 Aaron and the Buds & Roses team have been recognized for their efforts with consistent customer and revenue growth, as well as being the proud recipients of 26 High Times Medical Cannabis Cup awards.
Aaron takes immense pride in the personal relationships that he has forged over the years with his team, customers, suppliers, members of his local community, and those advancing the safe and responsible use of cannabis nationally and internationally. As an impassioned trailblazer in the industry, Aaron has made a personal commitment to be an instrumental and educational voice at the local, state, federal and global levels for cannabis users, advocates, and industry players everywhere. As part of this commitment, Aaron holds leadership roles as an active board member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the California Cannabis Industry Association, and the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance.
Greenbridge Corporate Counsel
Khurshid Khoja is the founder and Principal of Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, a business law firm which advises start-ups, established businesses and other social enterprises within the legal cannabis industry and ancillary industries. Greenbridge represents clientele from across sectors in the legal cannabis industry: non-profit advocacy organizations, medical marijuana collectives, consulting firms, publishing companies, consumer electronics manufacturers, infused products producers, agricultural equipment manufacturers, software companies, trade associations and others.
Khurshid currently serves on the founding Boards of the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) and the Illinois Cannabis Industry Association, as General Counsel to the CCIA, and as a member of the Advisory Council of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Advisory Board of the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation. While serving as The Arcview Group’s counsel, Khurshid helped Arcview CEO Troy Dayton launch the Arcview Investor Network, the legal cannabis industry’s first private investment network — providing advice on securities laws compliance, drafting membership and other critical path agreements.
Among other honors, Khurshid has been named to the annual Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars list on multiple ocassions. He has been profiled in multiple editions of the The State of the Legal Marijuana Markets report, and his early days as the General Counsel of MendoGrown (later the Emerald Growers Association) are chronicled in Doug Fine’s book Too High To Fail. He has been a featured presenter at numerous ArcView Investor Network conferences, the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section Conference, the National Marijuana Business Conference, the California NORML Conference, the Students for Sensible Drug Policy National and Regional Conferences and at numerous National Cannabis Industry Association conferences, symposia and speaker events, among other conferences.
Khurshid earned his J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where he served as President of the Class of 2001.
Kris Krane serves as the Founder and Managing Partner at 4Front Ventures, 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 executive chef at Mountain Medicine, a leading producer of medical and recreational cannabis edibles in Colorado. With a decade of experience in marijuana-infused product manufacturing and dispensary operations, Lewis is a leading voice for corporate responsibility and compliance in the cannabis industry. She is a founder and former chair of the Cannabis Business Alliance chamber of commerce and is the National Cannabis Industry Association’s current board chair. A formally trained chef, Lewis began her cannabis career making medical marijuana-infused edibles for HIV/AIDS patients in California. She formerly served as chief operating officer overseeing the expansion of one of Colorado’s most respected dispensary operations and managed all cultivation, dispensary, and infused product activities and led the licensing process and physical build out of the company’s second location.
An industry veteran, Christie Lunsford has 10+ years of diverse experience developing the cannabis and hemp industries. Her consulting company, Endocannabinoidology has mentored countless businesses to success in the industry nationally and has recently launched Budding Professionals, an 8-week executive level cannabis intelligence course designed to assist those executives transitioning their skills.
In the early days of the cannabis industry Christie distinguished herself as a leader by supporting National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) as a founding member and currently serves on its board. Additionally, she’s contributed to the 2013 American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Cannabis Committee, and currently sits on the Advisory Counsel and Standards Development Committee for FOCUS: The Cannabis Health and Safety Organization. Christie was the 2015 recipient of the Cannabis Woman of the Year Award from Cannabis Business Awards.
In addition to consulting projects across the U.S., Christie’s currently is involved in an educational project based on the History of Hemp and developing The Hemp Biz Conference, an exploration of hemp history, technology and advancements that will reframe our understanding of the world.
Mcallister Garfield, P.c.
21 years working on marijuana law reform, including founding Sensible Colorado in 2004 and serving as chair of its Board of Directors through adult use legalization in 2012.
McAllister Garfield has 15 lawyers, licensed in 5 states: Colorado, California, Oregon, Illinois and Florida.
Sean represents some of the largest infused products manufacturers in Colorado, which have been expanding to multiple states through licensing agreements and independent operations.
Sean’s firm has a Tribal Law Group that represents Native American tribes in multiple states seeking to do cannabis/hemp projects
Sean has litigated several groundbreaking cannabis cases, including defending the nation’s first cannabis products liability case, suing state regulators over enforcement actions, litigating pesticide standards, negotiating settlements for some of the most serious rules violations, litigating local bans on cannabis dispensaries; and assisting in authoring state and local ballot initiatives.
Sean handled the only federal prosecution of a licensed dispensary owner in Colorado, who was charged wrongly with federal money laundering and achieved a favorable outcome.
Sean is focused on being a top corporate counsel to dispensaries. His work involves all aspects of corporate formation, dissolution, governance, M&A, IP, promissory notes, civil litigation and land use matters.
Sean is a regular speaker at the nation’s largest cannabis conferences and is regularly quoted in the national press.
Sean has won several awards recognizing his advocacy for cannabis reform, including: Friend of Reform Award, Sensible Colorado, 2013 and 2015 MVP Award at the Cannabis Business Awards, and 2016 and 2017 named a Top Marijuana Lawyer by Denver’s 5280 Magazine.
Sean’s Firm is a sustaining member of NCIA. He also supports CCIA, NORML, DPA, MPP, Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, and National Cannabis Bar Association.
Guardian Data Systems
Lance Ott is a 16 year veteran of the financial services industry. His core competency and expertise covers every aspect of banking and electronic payment processing. Lance has extensive experience in merchant services including credit and debit card processing, PCI security, fraud control, chargeback management, technology implementation and payments 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. 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.
Since the inception of Guardian Data Systems, Lance has become a ubiquitous presence at cannabis industry conferences and events produced by the National Cannabis Industry Association, International Cannabis Association/Cannabis World Conference, MMJ Business Daily, Native Nations Events and Secure Cash Transport Association. He has been regularly featured in national media and his profile is highlighted in the third edition of Arcview’s Annual State of Legal Marijuana Markets Report. Last year, Mr. Ott was ranked #38 in the top 100 most influential cannabis business executives by Cannabis Business Executive.
Lance has methodically constructed a network of cannabis friendly banking institutions, processors and software/hardware developers to provide all manner of medical cannabis commercial concerns with a safe, legitimate venue for all transactions and logistical challenges. He has positioned himself to be among the preeminent professionals for a very unique and complex business model. His conviction is that proper regulation coupled with appropriate technology applied to an ever evolving market will result in a thriving and unimpeachable industry.
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.
Lance is currently serving his second term on the Board of Directors for the National Cannabis Industry Association and has served as a member of the ethics subcommittee. Guardian Data Systems is a Sustaining Member of the NCIA. Lance is also a Certified Payments Professional “CPP” as certified through the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), which is the largest association in the payments industry. The purpose of the ETA is to influence, monitor and help shape the merchant acquiring industry by providing leadership through education, advocacy and the exchange of information.
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.
In 2010 Glenn Peterson was awarded one of only eight licenses in Maine for cultivating and dispensing medical cannabis. Entirely self-funded, Glenn grew a personal investment of $250,000 into a multi-million dollar vertically integrated business that includes a 5,100sq. ft dispensary and 118,000 sq. ft cultivation facility. Though painful at times, operating seed to sale has forced Glenn to fully understand all aspects of cannabis: cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution. He is also the former President of the Maine Association of Dispensary Owners and has authored and lobbied for numerous successful legislative bills improving Maine’s cannabis program, as well as a former Arcview member and Sustaining member of NCIA.
Ean Seeb is a legal cannabis industry pioneer, entrepreneur, advocate, and thought-leader, most recognized for his recent sale of and exit from Denver’s oldest dispensary, Denver Relief to long-time cannabis enthusiast Willie Nelson, and for the boutique full-service cannabis consulting firm he co-founded, Denver Relief Consulting. He proudly serves on the board of Boston-based Manna Molecular Science as a general director.
Ean brings broad industry alliances, knowledge of ancillary products, and operational acumen to Manna Molecular’s innovative infused products brand and delivery forms. He appreciates the positive impacts of 3D-printing technology on the cannabis space — foremost accuracy and reproducibility in dosing — and supports Manna’s efforts to improve the delivery of cannabis by uniting sophisticated science and agile manufacturing.
Ean has significant experience navigating complex legislation and regulatory demands: He served as the National Cannabis Industry Association’s (NCIA) Chair (’13-’15) and Vice Chair (’12–’13). He holds leadership positions in charitable organizations focused on a range of impactful social causes including civil rights, history and arts and culture. The Denver Relief GREEN TEAM, which now boasts over 35 cannabis industry and community sponsors, is a direct product of his civil and entrepreneurial leadership in the cannabis community. Ean has translated these values to Manna Molecular Science since its founding, and continues to do so as its representative at NCIA. In addition to his work at Manna Molecular Science, Ean works with dozens of cannabis or cannabis related companies and is partners in Quark Distribution, Vapor Slide, Whaxy, Silver Sage Wellness, Cresco Labs, sits on the Board of Directors of MassRoots, and more.
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.
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.