Speakers at MJ Unpacked New York 2022
Helen lived in Hong Kong, Manila, and Florence before heading to New York City to pursue a degree in Finance and International Business at the NYU Stern School of Business. She spent 13 years growing a fruitful career on Wall Street (Lehman Brothers, Barclays, and Morgan Stanley) during which she became inspired by the triple-bottom-line approach taken by the impact investment network that she became aligned with. In this community she encountered an aspirational range of trailblazing social venture founders, regenerative agriculturalists, and the like. Inspired, she retired from finance in 2018 to join the cannabis industry.
Following a successful campaign to push the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission to create pathways to equitable industry access for women and people of color, The High End became the first-ever Certified MBE and WMBE cannabis company in the Commonwealth.
Helen sits on the Leadership Advisory Board at EforAll Holyoke, supporting the organization’s work to accelerate economic and social impact in Holyoke through inclusive entrepreneurship. She is also a Founding Member of the National Cannabis Industry Association's Sustainability Collaboration. And most recently, she was appointed by Attorney General Maura Healey to serve on the Massachusetts Cannabis Advisory Board for her expertise in women-owned business.
About The High End
The High End is a vertically-integrated cannabis company built upon a foundation of transparency, sustainability, and community. Organic Living Soil cannabis; a thoughtful, artisanal culinary program; and elevated, experiential retail. Licensed for cultivation, manufacturing, and retail in Massachusetts, and pursuing licenses for cultivation and manufacturing in their home state of New York.
internationally-known NYC lifestyle company that is synonymous with cannabis culture.
Born and raised in Hamilton Heights, NYC, Vlad and The Happy Munkey are
formidable advocates and leaders in the cannabis space. Vlad is widely recognized for
his deep relationships with the international cannabis elite and his successful
experience in music, hospitality and event production. He provides corporate cannabis
access to the authentic NYC cannabis scene. Under Vlad’s leadership, Happy Munkey
hosts popular VIP events that connect politicians, chefs, doctors, influencers, athletes
and creative artists with each other based on a mutual love of the plant.
Vladimir and his partner Ramon Reyes, co-host the popular Happy Munkey on the
Boulevard podcast where they bring the Happy Munkey to the masses. The podcast
features an eclectic mix of guests who run the cannabis gamut from rap stars to CEOs
to the founder of the Canadian Securities Exchange and can be found on all major
In 2021, Vlad was a featured speaker at many virtual and live Cannabis conferences. He and The Happy Munkey were featured in many mainstream media outlets including CNBC, Bloomberg Business Week, USA Today, Rolling Stone and NBC News among others.
The feather in the cap for 2021 was The Happy Munkey team awarded a Silver Clio for
their groundbreaking “Happy Munkey After Hours'' consumption event at the Original
Immersive VanGogh exhibit. That was on top of their hosting the End of Prohibition
celebration on April 20, the Cannabis industry’s unofficial global holiday, at Bobby Van’s
Steakhouse on Wall Street, presenting New York’s first legal pot party which attracted
over 500 people and massive media exposure, solidifying Vlad’s and The Happy
Munkey as industry leaders in NYC and beyond.
Since the founding of BDSA in 2015, the company has since grown into the most cited data and analytics provider for the cannabis industry.
While growing up in Oakland, California during the war on drugs era, he managed to stay out of trouble and maintain a 4.0 gpa and a full time job while in high school. He was also using and selling cannabis. Cannabis sales to him was another form of employment. In 1999 while on an errand with his grandmother, she had him go to a dispensary, from that day forward his mission was to own one for himself, so he could sale cannabis legally. He worked at and was a vendor for multiple bay area dispensaries from 1999-2004. In 2003 he attempted to become an owner of a dispensary, and was told blacks would never own in this business. In 2004 he was arrested for possession with the intent to sale, and given 10 years of felony probation with a 4 way search clause. Still determined to learn more on the legal side, he attended and graduated from Oaksterdam University in 2008. In true path formation, had he not been arrested, he would not have qualified for the Equity program…
Now as the 1st person to open a dispensary under Oakland’s Social Equity program, he is finally continuing on that path of ownership. His goals and values are still spiritual and family driven. He is looking to change the face of the cannabis industry, one location at a time. Blunts + Moore opened its doors on November 24th, 2018 to a huge crowd, great food, and lifted spirits. A native born son, selling cannabis legally in OAKLAND!!!
as a Department of Defense Contractor serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Leo has worked for companies like L-3 Communications, ITT systems, and Excellis.
Having had 3 battle buddies attempt suicide and 2 being successful. The number of Veteran suicides per day (22) is an issue Leo finds to be totally unacceptable. Leo’s advocacy has seen him testify in NJ Senate Committee to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) added to the NJ Medical Marijuana Program. In September of 2016 NJ Gov. Chris Christie signed bill S-2345 adding PTSD as a qualifying condition to the NJMMP.
Leo is an Advisory Board Member for Cannabis World Conference Business Expo (CWCBE), and National Director of Veterans Outreach with Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana. Leo is Co-Founder of Cannagather NJ and has partnered with organizations like Coalition Medical Marijuana New Jersey, Women Grow, Drug Policy Alliance, The Americans Civil Liberties Union, Cannabis Cultural Association, the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association, and NJ Cannabusiness Association. Leo has testified in NJ Senate Committee for bill S3195 The Taxation and regulation of cannabis for adult use.
As a partner of Heart Community Capital and Co-host of the Smoke and Hero’s podcast. Leo hopes to be a vessel by which the industry works through in the state of New Jersey. Leo is married to Dr. LaShona Bridgewater PhD and has two children: Leo Jr. 15 and Langston 5.
Charlie re-joined Tilray in 2018 as VP, Global Retail to guide the company’s entry into retail cannabis following adult-use legalization in Canada. There he recruited subject matter leaders from companies including Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Uber to design and build a Retail Shared Services organization to efficiently develop and support retail brands through national and international expansion. In addition to leading Tilray’s company-owned retail initiatives, Charlie led Retail M&A activity across North America, conducting extensive market research, due diligence, and investment into public and private firms in the US and Canada.
Charlie currently serves as a consultant to the cannabis industry.
In 2018, she transitioned her career into the legal cannabis industry, where she’s led marketing functions for several of California’s largest operators: Flow Kana, a leading brand of sungrown flower, and Care By Design, a pioneer in cannabinoid wellness. Through her strategy consultancy, Growing Impact, she has helped numerous cannabis clients across marketing, business development, and sales strategy including CannaCraft, Project CBD, Rebel Spirit, Humble & Fume and Loos. As a Fund Advisor with West Creek Investments, Annie also advises and invests in early-stage cannabis companies.
She is a fierce advocate for ESG (environmental, social, governance) and diverse representation in cannabis. Annie serves as a mentor to underrepresented founders through Our Academy and Eaze’s Momentum Accelerator, and as an Advisor to MJ Unpacked, Royal Technology Agriculture, High Confectionary, Garden Society and Cannabis Doing Good.
Annie honed her marketing expertise managing CPG brands at the Clorox Company, later leading trade marketing for Solyndra, a manufacturer of solar panels. She built and led the first marketing teams at Amyris - a biotechnology innovator, Couchsurfing - the world’s largest online travel community, and World Centric - a manufacturer of sustainable food packaging, where she was also responsible for developing national accounts.
Annie holds a BA in Political Science from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she co-founded the HBS Green Business Alumni Association.
legal industry” by former Speaker of the California Assembly Willie Brown. As a lifelong activist,
author, educator, investor, and entrepreneur, he has spent more than four decades on the front
lines of the cannabis reform movement. His most notable business achievements include
co-founding Harborside-one of the first six dispensaries licensed In the United States-now a
publicly-traded company on the Canadian Securities Exchange, with five dispensary locations in
California including one of the first to feature a drive-thru; Steep Hill Laboratory, the first
cannabis analytics company; and Arcview Group, the first dedicated cannabis investment
Steve is the author of The Cannabis Manifesto and an originator of the wellness approach to
understanding cannabis. He played a key role in the passage of Initiative 59, Washington DC’s
medical cannabis law; the passage of Prop 64, California’s adult-use law; and successfully
defended multiple legal attempts by US federal authorities to shutter the doors of Harborside.
His media projects include the starring role in Weed Wars, the first cannabis-oriented reality TV
show, produced by the Discovery Channel in 2011; a new online TV show, Ask Steve DeAngelo,
available on Green-Flower.com; and extensive appearances on most major media outlets
including CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CNBC, and The New York Times.
Steve is the recipient of the 2015 High Times Lester Grinspoon High Times Lifetime
Achievement Award and was named one of the most influential people and "gatekeeper of the
industry" in 2015 by the International Business Times. In 2016 he was named one of the seven
“Most Powerful People” in America’s cannabis industry by Fortune. Most recently, he was
honored with the Peter Tosh Equal Rights Award and inducted into the Marijuana Business Daily
Hall of Fame.
Steve believes that an ethical and politically engaged industry will be the most powerful force in
spreading cannabis reform to every corner of the planet. As Founder of the Last Prisoner
Project (2019), he will not stop until the last cannabis prisoner is free. As host of the Radio Free
Cannabis podcast-launched in 2020, his role as an activist seeking global unity for equal justice,
advocating for human rights around the world, for cannabis legalization across planet earth, and
the end of criminalizing medicinal plants worldwide, continues.
Since the launch of ZolTrain two years ago, Danny has worked with over 20 cannabis brands to develop product education in an engaging platform for dispensaries and consumers alike.
Moon Made Farms is located in Southern Humboldt County, 33.3 linear miles from the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by oak, madrone, bay, Douglas fir, and buckeye trees that provide a rich ecosystem that supports wildlife and the fertility of the soil. In respect for those who walked here before us and for those who will be next in line, Moon Made Farms is guided by lunar farming and regenerative farming techniques—not innovations but ancient practices revisited. We embrace lunar farming for germinating seeds, planting, transplanting, watering, and harvesting. We’ve built “ancient” gardens to honor this historic process, the concept being that this garden could have been built a thousand years ago or a thousand years in the future. Nature provides us with the greatest grow room on Earth - no artificial lights can ever fully replicate the cosmic lightbulb we call the sun. In the heart of the Emerald Triangle we liberate the plants and grow them under the sun and moon as nature intended. We believe that this influence affects plant health and contributes to the plant’s unique ability to heal and inspire, allowing the genetics of the plant to fully express itself in a way that is intimately tied to this unique environment. Our cannabis plants are a true expression of this place.
Neal was hired by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) in late 2002 to oversee all their state lobbying and ballot initiative efforts. While at MPP, he had the honor of leading and/or being a key member on many of the teams that passed the laws that created the markets, that in turn created the regulated industry. After leaving MPP in 2009, Neal continued his cannabis policy reform work as a consultant, playing key roles in ending cannabis prohibition and opening new markets in several states. Overall, Neal has worked on cannabis policy reform and industry regulations in over two dozen states throughout the course of his career.
In 2015, Neal was hired as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at LivWell Enlightened Health, one of the largest employers in the cannabis industry. Soon after, he was elected to the board of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). While serving in these positions, Neal became heavily involved in the federal cannabis lobby, and founded the New Federalism Fund (NFF) in early 2017. NFF is widely credited with professionalizing and greatly expanding the federal cannabis lobby, which directly led to Neal founding the Cannabis Trade Federation (CTF) and being named CEO in 2018. In that role, Neal led the cannabis industry federal lobby, including representing the industry in the first hearing on legalizing cannabis in the history of the U.S. Congress. Neal would later be elected to the board of CTF after stepping down as CEO in 2020 and served as a founding director of the U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC).
Neal got his start in politics as part of one of the biggest upsets in modern American political history, Jesse Ventura’s victorious campaign for Governor of Minnesota in 1998. In addition to cannabis, he excels at managing multi-state legislative lobbying campaigns, ballot initiative/independent expenditure campaigns, 360-degree integrated marketing campaigns, building diverse coalitions, managing federal lobbying campaigns, and any leadership role where he is charged with managing an organization, department, or team. A talented communicator who excels at crisis communications, he has served repeatedly as a corporate and campaign spokesperson. Neal has appeared on stage at dozens of cannabis industry conferences and has regularly appeared in both national and local TV, radio, and print media throughout his career.
Neal was born, raised, and currently lives in NY with his three children and his better half.
An experienced, entrepreneurial digital executive with a demonstrated record of building lucrative brands from the ground up, Meredith has worked at the intersection of thought leadership and execution, launching businesses in fast-paced, high-growth settings. Combining creative talent and analytical chops, she is skilled in leading organizations with strong creative and product DNA, bringing discipline and rigor while maintaining vision and passion. A thoughtful and decisive leader, Meredith is expert at managing multiple agendas in quickly changing environments, and is respected for building effective, dynamic teams.
Most recently, as President of Follain, a privately held, early-stage clean beauty retailer, Meredith oversaw strategy and operations across digital, brick-and-mortar, and wholesale channels. In the first year, she led the successful transformation of the digital and physical customer journey through personalization and embedded content, driving +80% YOY growth, improving customer lifetime value by 3x, and creating a cadre of brand loyalists.
She also led the creation of the Follain proprietary product line, advancing the mission of accessible clean beauty and positioning Follain as an important international skincare brand.
Meredith holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from MIT. She serves as an advisor to several early stage, female-founded businesses, as well as on the executive steering committee for the Wayfund Alumni Syndicate. She lives in Melrose with her husband and two children, and in her spare time, she enjoys biking, hiking, and outdoor-focused travel.
Miss Grass has been featured in Refinery29, Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter, W Magazine, Byrdie, LA Magazine and more.
Vince, a 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 executive, currently holds a position as a Board Director of the Cannabis Distribution Association (CDA) to help shape regulations for the betterment of the cannabis supply chain. He graduated from the University of Virginia with degrees in Computer Science, Economics and Statistics.
Saints made its first recreational sales in January 2016. Although Lawrence has grown cannabis in every imaginable style and circumstance, Saints specializes in organic, living soils with the highest quality inputs. In addition to the high-quality cannabis, Saints works with artists all over the country to curate preroll box designs that support emerging artists, bands, minority groups, political movements, etc. Lawrence established Saints Joints with grassroots concepts and a DIY attitude.
Saints Joints launched a line of prerolls in January 2016, when only a few other brands offered a similar product within the entire world market. Saints is currently the largest preroll multistrain pack in Washington, and multi-packs now contribute to half of Saints sales revenue. The quality of the cannabis is apparent as Saints sells out of all products in approximately 50 of its partner stores within hours of announcing its weekly available sales list.
In 2019 Saints produced and began offering a brand of popular sun-grown preroll line entitled Sunrīs and Sunset. SunrĪs and Sunset sources locally sourced sun-grown cannabis and combines it with unique and beautiful packaging.
As recreational and legalization of cannabis grew around the country, the opportunities for Saints Joints followed. In January 2020, Saints signed a licensing contract with Stash House Distribution in Oklahoma.
Native Humboldt grows small-batch, sungrown, craft cannabis which is cared for by hand using only the pure light of the California sunshine. Native Humboldt Farms is tucked gently into a indigenous farmed Oak grove alongside the existing natural vegetation allowing the preservation of the natural habitat. Lindsey grows using living soils, she breeds microbes, and she uses native and farmed vegetation to create plant ferments to nurture her sungrown cannabis plants.
Lindsey also holds a type 6 manufacturing license in California, as well as a California cannabis distribution license. She is currently in the process of building out two cannabis retail facilities in California as well. One retail is a brick and mortar store in Humboldt County, and the second is a non storefront delivery service in the City of Oakland. She is focused on building a sustainable regenerative fully integrated supply chain to ensure the best quality products reach consumers.
Lindsey is on the policy committee of HCGA the Humboldt County Growers Alliance which supports over 300 farms in Humboldt County, and she is highly involved in policy reform in the CA regulated market. She is also a Cannabis Ambassador for the 2022 California State Fair.
An industry pioneer with extensive cultivation, regulation and consumer sales experience, Sanders has led Canna Provisions since its launch in 2019 to become a $100mil vertically-integrated cannabis company after having worked with, consulted for, started or raised capital for well over 30 dispensaries and in five different states (and counting).
As one of the most celebrated and experienced successful female cannabis CEOs in the industry with over 10 years of US cannabis industry experience, featured everywhere from the WSJ to the New York Times, 60 Minutes, as well as Le Monde, NPR, NBC, Der Spiegel, BBC, High Times, CBC and many more.
In addition to launching and partnering with hundreds of different cannabis brands, Meg has used her expertise to assist local and state regulators seeking input, feedback and beta testing for various systems related to tracking, growing and selling medical cannabis. Previously, Meg has been honored to participate with the White House, FBI, NSA and other national organizations in a workshop hosted by the National Science Academy.
As former CEO of Colorado-based Mindful, Meg Sanders headed up the largest woman-led cannabis company in America, and built one of the most respected and most recognized cannabis producers and infused products manufacturers with medical and recreational dispensaries operating across the state of Colorado, and in the state of Illinois.
Meg played a key role in the establishment of regulations for the legal marijuana industry in Colorado, and continues to be a sought after resource to assist countries, states, counties, and municipalities in forming their Medical and Adult-Use Marijuana Programs.
Punit is a native of Charleston, SC and received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems and graduated Summa Cum Laude with General Honors from Clemson University. He also received his MBA from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.
As a Black entrepreneur working in the cannabis industry, Smith is extremely passionate about being on the frontlines of creating a more equitable space. He is committed to working with a diverse set of vendors and supply partners within his companies and always looks to partner with organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Smith earned his Marketing degree from the University of Notre Dame, where he played football as a defensive end under legendary coach Lou Holtz.
Michael is a corporate personality profiler, but his clients often call him a mind reader. For over 20 years he has helped organizations across the country, both large and small, predict the future success of job applicants to ensure they hire only “A” players. Throughout his career Michael has assessed over 50,000 candidates. It's safe to say that he knows how people think, relate, and behave. Spremulli is able to predict, with pin-point accuracy, the probability of an applicant being successful in the position they are being considered for. When clients ignore his advice (yes – this sometimes happens) they regret it, because a hiring disaster often occurs. Michael has helped hundreds of companies save tens-of-millions of dollars by avoiding costly hiring mistakes at all levels within an organization. He is excited to bring his experience and expertise to the cannabis space to help you take the headaches out of your hiring process.
Michael's no-nonsense, humorous, and occasionally irreverent approach to speaking and consulting consistently focuses on one goal – helping you take the guesswork out of hiring top performers.
He's led a range of national brand launches, executed several national multi-channel consumer campaigns, and helped companies meet an array of business objectives. He enjoys solving complex business problems by combining data-driven research and analytics with award-winning creativity. His passion for growth has led him to work across a diverse portfolio of industries from pharmaceuticals (Abbvie, Pfizer) to consumer package goods (Tampax), apparel (Under Armour), and spirits (Rémy Martin Cointreau and Sam Adams).
At Theory, Thomas oversees all marketing and branding, including digital, social, packaging design, public relations, media buying, and customer service. Today, they are an industry leader in the cannabis space for their start-up mentality and for helping bring cannabis into the social fabric in emerging markets.
Outside of Theory Wellness, Thomas spends his time playing tennis and nordic skiing, listening to vinyl records, and enjoying a home-cooked meal with his wife Liz, their son River, and their dog Bird.