Speakers at MJ Unpacked Las Vegas 2022
Vivien’s coverage of the tobacco and cannabis sectors earned her industry accolades including a spot on Institutional Investor’s All-America Research Team on several occasions. In 2022, Vivien was selected as one of the most influential names in cannabis on Forbes’ “The Cannabis 42.0” list. She was also named to MJBiz Daily’s list of “20 Women to Watch in 2019” and selected by Business Insider as a “Rising Star of Marijuana Investing.” Prior to joining Cowen and Company in 2014, she spent over nine years at Citi covering consumer staples. Vivien holds a BA from the College of William and Mary and an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
In 2016, Ricardo launched Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency to work directly with business leaders in highly regulated industries, including cannabis and psychedelics. Named Marketer of the Year by AdCann in 2019 and 2021, Ricardo has received numerous accolades for his trailblazing work throughout the media paradigm, and continues to columnize for AdWeek, mg and other publications. Grasslands won a 2021 Clio Award for its Public Relations program.
Ricardo is considered to be the world’s first (and “most prestigious” according to Vice) marijuana editor; one of Brookings Institution’s 12 Key People to Watch in Marijuana Policy; one of Time magazine’s 140 best Twitter feeds; one of Sensi magazine’s 24 Cannabis Pioneers Who Matter.
Wendy is also a serial entrepreneur. Outside of WBS Equities, LLC, Wendy brings decades of experience in strategic planning, execution, and exits for rapid growth start-ups. She loves being a part of the explosive growth phase of companies and working alongside founders to provide strategic leadership and guidance to help create dynamic and forward-thinking organizations.
Wendy serves on the Board of Directors of Green Thumb Industries, Inc. (GTI) (CSE: GTII) (OTC: GTBIF). Green Thumb is a national cannabis consumer packaged goods company and retailer, is dedicated to providing dignified access to cannabis while giving back to the communities in which they serve. Green Thumb manufactures and distributes a portfolio of branded cannabis products including Beboe, Dogwalkers, Dr. Solomon’s, incredibles, Rythm and The Feel Collection. The company also owns and operates rapidly growing national retail cannabis stores called Rise™ and Essence. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Green Thumb has 16 manufacturing facilities, 75 retail locations, licenses for 111 retail locations and operations across 15 U.S. states. Established in 2014, Green Thumb employs over 4,000 people and serves thousands of patients and customers each year.
Prior to joining Native Roots, Alex worked at Level 3 Communications, Quiznos Corporate, RevGen Partners doing IT consulting in a number of capacities, and has continued to run an at-risk youth non-profit organization – The Danny Dietz Foundation.
Alex holds a degree in Computer Information Systems with a minor in Computer Science from the University of Colorado Boulder. Alex is a Colorado native with a wife and two sons that are the center of his world.
Bohb has held a number of, objectively, ‘the best jobs that could possibly exist in marketing’. As Global Chief Experience Officer at Starcom/Publicis Groupe he was able to pursue scale of vision. As Head of Invention at Mindshare he was able to lead commercial planning for portfolios of enviable brands. In his current role as Chief Marketing Officer of Jones Soda & Chief Brand Officer of the newly minted cannabis brand, Mary Jones, Bohb gets to focus his passion on a beloved iconic brand while creating a new one in a swirling category still defining itself.
“I always thought the goal of success was the freedom to try new things, not to be trapped repeating a successful formula.” - Todd Rundgren. “Agreed.” - Bohb Blair.
Prior to that experience, Greta practiced law at firms in California and Arizona after earning a J.D. from the Gonzaga University School of Law with an emphasis on public interest law and international law. She also is active in shaping the cannabis industry beyond the C-Suite, serving as president of the Utah Cannabis Association and a member of the Arizona Dispensary Association. In addition, Greta regularly engages with Arizona and Utah regulatory bodies, including the Arizona and Utah Departments of Health Services and the Utah Department of Agriculture. Outside of her professional capacities, Greta is also a proud mother of three.
Currently operating 26 retail locations in Oregon and recent expansion into California, Groundworks Industries is on a mission to bring wonder, wellness and fun through the best cannabis experiences in the industry.
Previously, Ryan was CEO for Native Roots Cannabis Co. and Garden Variety. Ryan first joined the cannabis industry in 2016 at Native Roots Cannabis Co. as Chief Retail Officer and took the reins of the organization leadership as CEO in 2017. During Ryan's tenure Native Roots grew from 13 to 20 retail locations, became the first licensed US retailer in the Canadian marketplace with its Garden Variety retail brand, developed a CBD retail concept in Native Roots Wellness and built out a team and strategy to significantly grow the manufactured product portfolio.
Prior to joining, Ryan was a manager for RevGen Partners leading the education practice charged with business development and delivery of products.
Mr. Buffalo has worked as a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating Officer for the American Cannabis Company, a OTCQB traded company (AMMJ). Currently running his own cannabis advisory company ‘Buffalo Cannabis Advisors,’ he is a talented influencer working in the US and internationally. As a frequently requested speaker for a variety of industry panels, Mr. Buffalo seeks to educate audiences how to observe market trends, evaluate ramifications, review and improve cannabis legislation, financing, banking, operations, branding and marketing. He advises corporate leadership with recommendations on acquisition targets, advises directors/executives on mergers and evaluates the long-term vision of the company. Combining the corporate world and cannabis, Mr. Buffalo has extensive hands-on experience in private and public sector engagements. He has been a three-time judge for Investor Hot Seat to raise capital in alternative investments, including agriculture,
fintech, and cannabis. He has starred in multiple podcasts, panels and penned numerous articles over the past 7-years covering topics including helping clients acquire licenses, design, construct, financing, merger & acquisitions, exit strategy, operational issues and advise management to implement vertically integrated business plans. He has been featured in an article in Business Sight Magazine that highlights the Top 10 Most Remarkable Companies in 2020, describing American Cannabis Company’s (ACC) unique enterprising business structure from inception to operations and Mr. Buffalo’s leadership behind the success.
In addition to his responsibilities with the CSE, Richard is a director of two private companies: Tetra Trust Company, Canada’s first qualified custodian for cryptocurrency assets, and Blue Ocean ATS, LLC, a US broker dealer which operates an ATS providing after hours trading in US equities. Richard is also a member of two not-for-profit boards: the Empire Club of Canada, and the Private Capital Markets Association. He was also recently named to the Ontario Securities Commission’s “Market Structure Advisory Committee”.
A member of the Law Society of Ontario since 1987, Richard is a graduate of the University of Ottawa (B.A. ’81) and the University of Toronto (LL.B. ’85). He has also completed the executive development programme at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
"Dr. David", as most people know him as, has raised capital, expanded several companies, and has employed over 300+ people. He has been in the medical field for 18+ years, has started 10+ companies since 2006 with several exits, successfully opened 8 cannabis companies in the United States since 2010, and served on cannabis boards in the states of Nevada, New Jersey, and Maine. His efforts in business operations and human resources won him the prestigious Alfred Sloan Award for Workplace Programs and Flexibility. Some people have called Dr. David the "Triple Headed Dragon" due to his diversity and experience. At the end of the day, Dr. David’s motto is “always be WILLING to Achieve Your GREATNESS” as his ultimate goal is to help each person help achieve their level of GREATNESS!
Prior to his 7 years in the cannabis industry, Matt was a Founder and Principal with Frontline Real Estate Partners. Frontline celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2010 and is one of the most active commercial real estate companies in the Midwest.
Matt graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science with honors in Accounting and Bachelor of Science with honors in Business Administration – Management Information Systems.
Melanie Davis, is the COO of The People's Ecosystem and Founder/Owner of The People's Dispensary & Manufacturing New Mexico. She has been a part of the legacy market since the early nineties. Growing up in a cannabis positive home in New Mexico she was not new to its medicinal powers or the war on drugs. Melanie was an early adaptor to cooking with THC and Hemp seeds, processing her own tinctures, oils, butters, and balms.
While living in Oregon, Melanie built her own indoor cannabis grow. It was there she researched and experimented cultivating cannabis using various mediums including aquaponics, and hydroponics. In her roles with TPE she develops our solutions stack & wrap around services. She draws on her decades of experience as an entrepreneur helping optimize client/partner processes, develop go-to-market strategies, negotiate contracts & acquisitions.
Melanie Davis is a 25 year media veteran as past Publisher & CEO of Brilliant Media llc., whose titles had over 100,000 in combined distribution and 200 annual event activations. Prior to that she was a Pit Boss at the Sandia Reservation Casino located in New Mexico where she supervised High Stakes Black Jack, European Roulette, and Craps.
Board of Advisors- Trailblazers
Past-Vice Chair- Cannabis Cultivation Committee - NCIA
Founded in 2015, LEVEL is the coalescence of Chris’ passion for small molecule chemistry, pharmacology, and plant medicine. As a cannabinoid company, LEVEL focuses on creating targeted effects for consumers using established and emergent cannabinoids through consistent, standardized formulations and delivery methods.
LEVEL is the culmination of years of training, testing, failing (including two previous attempts at launching different cannabis ventures), dogged persistence, and relentless pursuit of a vision that was 20 years in the making.
Chris is a veteran of the US armed forces, having proudly served in the US Navy as a Chinese Interpreter.
Pamela has become known as a fearless advocate for local cannabis businesses along the supply chain guiding them through the ever-changing legal and regulatory landscape. Recognized as an expert in her field, Pamela serves as a featured speaker, providing energetic and compelling commentary focused on topics such as land use and zoning, regulatory compliance and environmental issues. Pamela’s mission is to advance industry and foster stability and growth.
Pamela is a trusted resource for local governments looking to effectively regulate cannabis within their jurisdictions and has served as the Special City Attorney for the City of Hollister regarding their Commercial Cannabis Ordinance. Along with providing her clients with exceptional service she is proud to serve as current President of the California Cannabis Industry Association’s (“CCIA”) Board of Directors and a Co-Chair of the Retail and Distribution Committee, a member of the In-house Counsel Subcommittee of the International Cannabis Bar Association (“INCBA”), a Board-member of the California Hemp Council (“CHC”) and Member of American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (“ATACH”) Chairing the Committee on Standards.
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.
Prior to founding Vertosa, Dr. Han was the senior emulsion scientist at Bio-Rad Laboratories, where his team scaled emulsification oil and supplied product to 90 countries. Previously, he founded a startup company in Silicon Valley.
As the CSO of Vertosa, Dr. Han spearheads the company’s development of industry-leading and customized active ingredients for infused product makers, offering pre-suspended aqueous solutions to create incredibly homogenous and stable products while maximizing bioavailability, clarity, and taste.
Maha is a UCLA graduate and holds a M.S. in pharmacological sciences, concentrating on Medical Cannabis Sciences & Therapeutics, from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. She is the founder Cannaclub, a collegiate organization focused on cannabis education, advocacy, and career opportunities with chapters at over 20 universities. Maha previously served as a researcher at the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative and currently sits on the board of the Los Angeles chapters of the Cannabis Chamber of Commerce and NORML. She is also an instructor at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, CA. Maha was listed as Entrepreneur Magazine’s “100 Powerful Women of 2020.
Kika has creatively worked with brands such as Interscope, Sony/RCA, Scooter Braun Ent, Nike, Converse, Esquire, Heineken, HBO, Google, JBL & more. For the past 5 years, worked to integrate influencers and talent into brand strategy and events at a culture first marketing agency. Today, she sits as the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder the First Black Woman Owned Cannabis Dispensary in Los Angeles – Gorilla Rx Wellness Co.
In 2009, she and her husband, Scott Durrah, became the first African Americans, legally licensed, to own a dispensary, a cultivation and edible company. She is also the founder and President of the Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI), a marketing and consulting firm that specializes in diversity development, regulatory framework and marketing. The company is dedicated to consistently providing innovative solutions through strategic alliances and business development surrounding the legalization of cannabis.
Wanda’s positioning of her company, on both the political stage and on cannabis reform, has led to her being the first to be the first cannabis entrepreneur and company to be named to AD WEEK’s 2021 Trailblazer list along with VP Kamala Harris, NBC President Kim Goodwin and MSNBC President, Rashida Jones. Ms. James was also inducted in the 2019 MJBiz Hall of Fame, the 2018 Lifetime Achievement winner of the Cannabis Business Awards, named one of the Top 50 Women in Cannabis and 100 Most Influential People in Cannabis by High Times magazine, 2019 Cannabis Business Executive (CBE) 30 Top Power Women of Cannabis and 2016 Cannabis Business Executive (CBE) 50 Most Important Women in the Cannabis Industry. She has been featured on the covers of Black Enterprise, Vanguard Magazine, Sensi Magazine, Cannabis Dispensary Magazine, and Cannabis &Tech Magazine. She and her husband have been featured in numerous national and international shows including BET’s SMOKE, The BBC,Democracy Now, The Atlantic, MIC.com, MSNBC, Smile Jamaica, Viceland, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CBS Sunday Morning Holiday Special, “Eat, Drink and be Merry” and CNBC’s Marijuana USA, to name a few.
A leading advocate for social equity, and a civil rights fighter that help elect America’s first Black POTUS and America’s first openly gay Governor. Ms. James political involvements have included Jared Polis for Congress in Colorado’s CD2 and in 2008, Ms. James was appointed to President Obama’s National Finance Committee and became one of the largest bundlers of donations for President Barack Obama in Colorado. In 2018, Ms. James was appointed to Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ Transition Team and currently serves as on the Kamala Harris National Finance Committee. Her expertise on cannabis reform, regulation and policy has assisted numerous municipalities including Colorado , Jamaica, Maryland, and Illinois, in their legalization efforts.
Graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, she was commissioned an officer in the United States Navy and served for four years in Naval Integrated Underwater Surveillance (IUSS). Ms. James is a gubernatorial appointee to the Colorado Tourism Board of Directors and is a graduate of the Inaugural Class of the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute at the University of Southern California and a former President of the National Women’s Political Caucus. She was appointed to the Los Angeles Small and Local Business Commission and sat on the Board of Directors for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, and the Board of Directors of the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce. Ms. James was also a former member of the University of Colorado Alumni Board of Directors.
As the Director of Social Equity and Inclusion, Tahir advances MPP’s mission of achieving social justice for those impacted by cannabis prohibition. With a focus on licensing equity, he advises and develops educational resources for legislators, regulators, and other industry stakeholders.
Prior to joining MPP, Tahir was the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at the National Cannabis Industry Association and worked as a financial advisor serving on the Diversity Council of Morgan Stanley before pursuing his passion to support the cannabis industry.
Tahir attended Howard University, where he majored in marketing and completed the Power and Influence for Positive Impact Certificate Program at Harvard Business School Online. He also holds a Marijuana Master Certificate from the Cannabis Training University and a certification in Indoor Horticulture from Oaksterdam University. Outside of work, he produces and hosts the podcast, Cannabis Diversity Report, and is a girl dad to three beautiful daughters.
Kika currently serves as the Co-Founder and President of the Social Equity Owners and Workers Association (www.SEOWA.org) and the Founder and CEO of the Life DevelopmentGroup (www.lifedevelopmentgroup.org), a constellation of cannabis brands, retail spaces, and community organizations that leverage the power of cannabis to transform lives, shape culture and empower underserved communities.
Kika’s celebrated career at the intersection of entrepreneurship and activism has made her uniquely positioned to capitalize on the modern consumer’s desire for companies that prioritize both product quality and social impact. August 2021, Kika launched the highly anticipated Gorilla Rx Wellness Co., the ﬁrst Black woman-owned Social Equity dispensary in Los Angeles.
Kika’s advocacy has proven instrumental to securing groundbreaking, widely-celebrated cannabis policies and programs — most notably, a settlement with the City of Los Angeles for an additional 100 of the city’s cannabis licenses designated for entrepreneurs from communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs. Her leadership has been nationally-recognized in a variety of local, national, and international news media, including Forbes, Esquire, The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, CNN, BBC, MTV, HBO, People Magazine, the Guardian and POLITICO.
Former Role: Senior Director, Corporate Development, Albertsons Companies. Supported M&A and Integration, supporting growth from ~500 locations to 2,300 locations. 6 Years.
Education: MBA, Boise State (2013)
He founded partnership with British multinational communications and advertising agency network with 114 offices in 76 countries and over 6,500 staff, Saatchi & Saatchi UK, where he implemented creative strategies such as launching a branded content unit called Gum in an effort to reach more young people, who are increasingly tuning out traditional advertising. Dre’s work and disruptive approaches in the creative and technology fields have been widely covered in mainstream media outlets such as Wall Street Journal and he’s also been called the forefather of branded content.
In addition to being a known and respected leader in the creative and technology arenas, Dre is known for his photography and work with artists such as Queens of the Stone Age, Iggy Pop, Foo Fighters, ZZ Top, Lenny Kravitz and many others. He has also been cited as one of the world’s top rock photographers and will be featured in an upcoming documentary on Amazon scheduled to premiere in early 2021.
In his role at Jushi, Dre and his creative team are charged with leading Jushi’s creative, marketing and communications efforts as well as ensuring the company’s successful entrance into e-commerce, cutting-edge digital user experiences and his efforts have already brought a tremendous amount of added value to the company and its shareowners.
unlike any other in recent corporate history. Its products have been illegal for
more than eight decades and its transition to legitimacy will demand expertise in
marketing, venture capitalism, quality control, satisfying concerns of regulators
while meeting pent-up demand from consumers and Wall Street.
Into this new world Sheri L. Orlowitz’s 30-plus-year experience as an
entrepreneur, venture capitalist, turn-around expert, board director, corporate
leader, attorney and former federal prosecutor make her uniquely qualified not
only to lead companies in the cannabis industry, but to advise regulators and
provide strategic investment advice. Few can match her track record of success.
As the founder of Artemis Holdings Group LLC, and the Council for Federal
Cannabis Regulation (“CFCR”) Sheri has assembled a team of creative
professionals with decades of experience dealing with all stages of the life-cycle
of industry and exceptional values. Sheri develops the strategy behind Artemis’
private investment fund, using her worldwide network of banks, funds,
government officials and CEOs to identify opportunities and ensure they are on
the cutting edge of innovation. Those same connections together with some of
the best scientific, regulatory, business and policy minds in the country have
helped her to create and build out CFCR, the only organization focused on
providing expertise to the federal agencies to regulate cannabis and dispel the
stigmatization around cannabis through education and data.
Founded in 2015, she is the CEO of Club Kindness, a direct to consumer education platform and production company, and co-owner of Our Kind, a line of infused Hair & Body Products designed to promote radical self-care through kinship. Mskindness began her authorship journey with a children’s book, “The Root Family’s Special Garden.” Written to demystify plant medicine in a family-friendly and comprehensive way, while sparking candid conversations among generations everywhere.
In her role as the Executive Board President of This is Jane Project, Ramirez supports women & non-binary trauma survivors gain access to plant medicine and valuable programming to foster healing. She serves as Adjunct Faculty for the Los Angeles Community College District, the Harrington Institute for Cannabis Education, and the Cleveland School of Cannabis.
Mskindness’ core work remains centered around equity, inclusion and social impact. She is a wife, mother, and multi-passionate businesswoman to say the least, who remains gracefully balanced through her mindfulness training and daily meditation practice.
Before joining the cannabis industry in 2013, Patrick spent 15 years in the natural products industry as a banker, consultant, investor, and operator. Patrick was a Division I soccer player at Brown University and graduated with a double major in Geology and Organizational Behavior and Management.
Sparky intimately understands the regulatory issues among states and has been commissioned to consult for numerous cannabis companies in California, Colorado, Washington, Nevada, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. Sparky optimized his expansive knowledge of cannabis for the benefit of many when he co-founded Supercritical, LLC, a Chicago-based cannabis consultancy. Prior to launching Supercritical, Sparky developed the original branding, design, and packaging for Sacred’s THC, CBD, and hemp seed oil lines. He was one of the co-founders of one of the leading brands in cannabis, Papa & Barkley, heading up all branding, design, and packaging. More recently, Sparky led new product initiatives and retail design and experience as Chief Marketing Officer for Illinois-based PharmaCann. He built the marketing team, developed their product brand (matter.), and redesigned their dispensary experience during his tenure. In addition, he created one of the most comprehensive training programs for cannabis patient care representatives and consulted and advised on numerous strategic initiatives, including the company’s nitrogen flush packaging process.
Earlier in his career, Sparky was creative lead at San Francisco-based Viant through its IPO in 1999 and was the head of all eBusiness at Fortune 500 firm Robert Half International (NYSE: RHI), following which he worked in its corporate development/M&A department. In addition, Sparky has consulted with non-cannabis clients, including Chanel, DDB, BBDO, Ogilvy & Mather, DirecTV, PepsiCo, and Fox Sports Networks. He has also served as creative director for Discovery Communications’ Digital Cable Networks and Advanced Television Studio.
Punit also spent over 6 years at Accenture where he advised notable organizations across several industries in strategy and transformation including: Walgreens, US Department of Commerce, NYC Government, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, and more. Punit decided to leave his corporate career in 2015 to start Toast, a multi-state cannabis brand.
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.
Her direct experience with the medical benefits of cannabis and her political organizing background led Steph to form ASA in 2002 with the purpose of building a strong grassroots movement to protect patients and their rights. As a powerful advocate, a skilled spokesperson, and an energetic initiator of campaigns, Steph has trained over 250,000 individuals across the country on civic engagement.
Since its inception, ASA has successfully shifted the national debate around medical cannabis, which has focused solely on the legality and ethics of arresting and prosecuting patients for cannabis use, to the real concerns of patients, such as access and civil protections. ASA has worked with lawmakers across the country to adopt and improve medical cannabis legislation and regulatory policy in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and many US territories as well as representing patients on Capitol Hill.
Steph has become the foremost international leader and expert on medical cannabis patient advocacy and, alongside American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), has created the first industry standards in the areas of Distribution, Cultivation, Analytics, and Manufacturing, Packaging and Labeling which are the core of ASA's Patient Focused Certification program (PFC).
Seeing the opportunity in a then-nascent industry, Liz co-founded BDS Analytics in 2015 with Roy Bingham. They have since grown the company into the most cited data and analytics provider for the cannabis industry. Liz is a frequent presenter and well-regarded cannabinoid industry expert. Her work can be seen, heard and read through the numerous industry presentations, webinars, articles, white papers and trend pieces she has delivered over the years.
Liz is from Columbus, Ohio, and is an alumna of University of Colorado Boulder.
In 2021 and 2022 Tina was awarded Las Vegas Cannabis Activist of the Year and Speaker of the Year. Ulman was also appointed to the Cannabis Compliance Board for diversity, social equity and inclusion. Prior to joining The Source team Tina was the Brand Manager for Old Pal in Nevada and a sales and marketing executive for Wyndham Resorts for 13 years. She has respected, loved and consumed the plant for over 15 years and hopes to continue to change to world one doobie at a time.