Experts from both industries will provide an overview of the cannabis industry as well as topics ranging from what is legal to regulations surrounding licensing, hospitality, growing and other topics of interest specific to the north coast.
Hezekiah Allen was born at home and raised off the grid in rural Humboldt County. Blending more than a decade as a successful commercial cannabis grower with a background in Politics and Government, Hezekiah now works as the Executive Director of the California Growers Association. Cal Growers is the largest association of cannabis businesses and growers in California. As Executive Director, Allen is a lead expert helping to inform the cannabis policy making process in Sacramento. Under his leadership Cal Growers has successfully advocated for the establishment of an appellation system for cannabis, championed policies to ensure lower fees for smaller farms, sponsored legislation to establish a special license for cottage scale growers and is the state's’ leading voice for the independent farms and businesses that make California cannabis craft.
A northern California native, after earning his BA in International Relations from UC Irvine in 2002, Brian spent years traveling, living, and working abroad tallying up 48 unique stamps in his passport and a handful of work visas. He landed back home in the bay area in 2013 and shortly thereafter, began planning his escape from the corporate machine. With a passion for cannabis culture and cannabis history, Brian launched The Cannabis Trail; a non-profit dedicated to preserving and celebrating the cannabis heritage in northern California. Emerald Country Tours came shortly thereafter, a cannabis tour company spotlighting the legalized cannabis industry and the unique bohemian cannabis culture in northern California. His latest project was establishing the California Cannabis Tourism Association in fall 2017. Education, preserving the history and sharing the unique cannabis-infused culture of his home, all drive his passion and daily work in the industry.
Kim Badenfort comes to the Wine Industry Network with a professional and academic background in communications with a focus on online multimedia content creation and management. Before joining WIN he designed websites and administrated content for a number of small businesses and non-profits, as well as wrote and edited copy for blogs and other social media contracts. He also brings valuable experience in teaching/education, technical support, project management, and public affairs.
Originally from Denmark, Kim has resided in Northern California for over a decade and adores living in the heart of the beautiful wine country with its rich wine and nature experiences.
Prior to founding VingDirect in 2009, Tammy served as the head of Foster's Wine Estates U.S. Direct to Consumer division. In this role, she was acting President of Windsor Vineyards from 2005-2007 and President of International Wine Accessories from 2004-2007. Windsor Vineyards is the largest U.S. shipper of wine direct to consumer and utilizes outbound telemarketing as the primary sales channel. Tammy has 20+ years direct marketing and general management experience, beginning with her position at Collin Street Bakery in 1990 as General Manager of Cryer Creek Kitchens, a producer of specialty baked goods. She is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and passionate about helping family wineries grow their direct to consumer sales. VingDirect is the recipient of the North Bay Business Journal's 2014 award for direct to consumer in the wine industry.
Hilary V. Bricken is a partner at Harris Bricken in its Los Angeles office. Licensed to practice law in California, Washington, and Florida, she is one of the premier cannabis business and regulatory attorneys in the United States. As chair of Harris Bricken’s Regulated Substances practice group, which includes the Canna Law Group, she helps cannabis companies of all sizes with their cannabis related legal issues.
In 2013, based on her work in the marijuana industry, The Puget Sound Business Journal named Ms. Bricken one of seven Dealmakers of the Year. From 2014 through 2017, she was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine. Also in 2015, the Puget Sound Business Journal named Hilary to its Top 40 Under 40 list for business and leadership, and in 2017 the American Bar Association named Hilary a Top 40 Under 40 “On the Rise” attorney in the United States. Hilary also authors a weekly column for Above the Law that features content on marijuana policy and regulation, and Hilary is a regular contributor to and editor of her firm’s Canna Law Blog.
Erin Carlstrom is Senior Counsel with DP&F and leads the firm’s cannabis group. Erin’s practice includes state and local compliance, corporate formation and compliance, land use, and government relations. Erin has specific expertise in land use entitlements and navigating the various regulatory agencies governing Cannabis activities, and has been responsible for major project developments across California. Erin’s experience offers clients comprehensive support from seed to sale, including transitioning from collective operations to for-profit corporations, applying for and prosecuting permit applications, and developing strategic collaborations.
Erin represents cannabis producers, farmers, manufacturers, labs, distributors and dispensaries, as well as investment groups interacting with all sectors, in matters ranging from collective formation and transition, operations management, land use and state and local compliance. She has spoken at a variety of conferences on topics ranging from impacts from local ordinances, to the interplay between cannabis and other agricultural industries, and coalition building for effective government relations.
Prior to joining DP&F, Erin practiced in government relations, land use, and corporate issues at a cannabis-focused boutique law firm. While there, Erin worked on successful general plan amendments, development of local ordinances, and project appeals as well as local entitlements. Erin served on the Santa Rosa City Council, including a term as Vice Mayor, and twice chaired the cannabis subcommittee. Erin’s work helped position Santa Rosa as one of the state’s most progressive cannabis communities, forming predictable and business-friendly paths to operation.
While in law school, Erin was an intern for the Department of Justice and Screen Actors Guild, and was a summer associate with Neighborhood Legal Services, a nonprofit providing legal service to victims of domestic violence. Erin has a long history with progressive politics, working in electoral campaigns and social advocacy movements for more than a decade.
Erin lives in Santa Rosa with her son, Adlai.
George Christie, a New Jersey native, settled in Sonoma County after college in 1991 where he quickly realized that the wine industry was where he wanted to concentrate his efforts. Since that time, he has been involved in nearly every aspect of the wine industry, from vineyard operations and grower relations to distributor realignments and national marketing campaigns. Always an active member in the wine community, Christie has also held board positions with the Russian River Wine Road, Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and the Sonoma County Vintners. In 2008, George and his wife Tami, along with the Saini Family, partnered to create Saini Vineyards, a winery specializing on Old Vine Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley.
In 2009, with Elizabeth 'E' Slater, George launched the Wine Industry Network (WIN). What began as an online directory has evolved over the years into one the leading B2B marketing and media companies serving the wine industry. WIN works with over 600 industry product and service providers and produces the Wine Industry Expo (WIN Expo), the 2nd largest trade show for the wine industry, along with the Wine & Weed Symposium, the Wine Industry Advisor news site and the Afternoon Brief daily news email with over 35,000 industry subscribers.
Chris Coulombe is the CEO of Pacific Expeditors, an award-winning state-wide cannabis distribution company that specializes in logistics and fulfillment operations as well as government relations and business consulting. He has over 16-years of operational planning experience and is responsible for developing and leading one of the largest cannabis distribution operations in the state of California.
Chris works closely with regulators and lawmakers on cannabis distribution in the State of California. He has met with several California legislators, the Governor's office, and the CHP leadership in an effort to improve and better understand the regulatory environment for cannabis distributors.
He is also a founding member of the Cannabis Distribution Association, an industry trade group of over 30 distribution companies in the US dedicated to providing education and a voice to decision makers on behalf of distributors nationally.
Before entering the cannabis space, Chris served in the military for 16-years and has led teams of four to organizations over two hundred. He has been hand-picked to lead specialized teams and institutional development schools. As well, he has planned for and facilitated the support of operations for organizations of over 1,100 members.
Chris holds a B.A. in Politics from the University of San Francisco and an M.A. in Corporate Diplomacy from the oldest private military university in the US, Norwich University.
He also served in his former Boy Scout Council as the Council President of 1000 Scouting youth and 2000 adult volunteers in 2017-2018; if Chris has a cause it is building the future through our decisions and actions and preparing our youth to be ready to make their future better than we could for them.
Zack Crafton grew up on the East Coast, just outside of Washington DC. After a few years as a national security consultant (including stints in the Pentagon and White House), he moved to Atlanta, GA where he ran operations for McMaster-Carr. While in Atlanta, Zack earned his MBA and after 6 years, he left the south to join his brother in Napa CA. Zack consulted for a few high profile wineries before joining a little-known wine startup, NakedWines. For 3 years, Zack ran the operations for NakedWines serving as Global Operations Director and ultimately Vice President of Operations. He left in mid-2017 to apply his direct to consumer and luxury agriculture skill set to the cannabis industry. He now serves as CEO and Founder of BigMoonSky.com.
David Downs is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author who covers cannabis policy and legalization as the cannabis editor at the San Francisco Chronicle where he launched GreenState.com. Downs co-authored of 2017 crop science book Marijuana Harvest by Ed Rosenthal. Downs has guest lectured at Loyola Law School, and UC Berkeley Extension, and shared in a 2018 Scripps Howard Award for Breaking News for his “Wine Country Fires” reporting.
Jamie Evans is the founder of The Herb Somm, a cannabis blog and lifestyle brand that is focused on the gourmet side of the cannabis industry. She is an educator, host, and writer specializing in cannabis, food, recipes, wine, and the canna-culinary world.
In addition to her work in the cannabis industry, Jamie has over ten years of wine industry experience. Having represented a wide array of organizations and wineries, she is best known for producing high-end events and developing top-notch public relations, marketing, and hospitality programs. Jamie is also a contributor to POPSUGAR and MARY Magazine specializing in cannabis recipes and cannabis lifestyle pieces.
Born and raised in Truckee, CA, Jamie’s roots extend back to South Dakota farm families. She developed a love for wine and agriculture while earning her degree in Wine and Viticulture, with a concentration in Wine Business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. As an avid traveler, she expanded her knowledge and explored different regions where she studied enology and viticulture at The University of Adelaide, Australia and The Engineering School of Enology at Changins, Switzerland.
Jamie has recently been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, ABC7 News, 7x7, POPSUGAR, Mother Jones, Edible San Francisco, Munchies, KQED Bay Area Bites, Clever Root, and MSN Lifestyle.
With more than 12 years of experience, Liz Gehl’s insider knowledge spans the alcohol beverage, cannabis and consumer packaged goods industries as an executive recruiter, in-house recruitment leader, and consumer. Her executive recruitment experience ranges from privately held firms to navigating through extensive mergers and acquisitions in a highly matrixed global organization. Since 1998, she has been passionate about the medicinal benefits of cannabis. As a human resources/talent acquisition professional it created an interesting scenario; she loved what she did, but did not enjoy rescinding job offers based on medicinal cannabis usage. As the Founder of Gehl Search Partners she is thrilled to be able to combine her three passions - Recruiting, the Wine/Beer/Spirits industry, and the Cannabis industry. Her recruitment firm, Gehl Search Partners, provides professional, high caliber, mid-level to C-level talent to organizations throughout the US.
Erin Gore is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Garden Society, a cannabis confection company started in early 2016. Originally from Wisconsin, Erin made Sonoma County her home in 2011.
After completing her degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006, Erin began a decade-long career with Henkel, where she managed a global adhesive business valued at nearly $100 million. Her time at Henkel provided a solid foundation in leadership, development, and achieving exceptional financial results.
In 2016, Erin left her corporate career to run Gore Family Vineyards, a boutique winery nestled in Healdsburg, Sonoma County. In addition to producing wine, Erin and her husband Tom have expanded the estate’s products to include olive oil, honey and more than 70 varieties of fruits and vegetables that are sold to restaurants and locals in the community.
Erin’s most-recent enterprise, Garden Society, developed out of her own need to explore non-traditional ways of managing the pain and stress of multiple hip surgeries. She quickly realized the holistic benefits of cannabis as a means of providing a better quality of life without prescription drugs, and in doing so found an opportunity to fill a void in the market with low dose edibles that highlight the renowned food culture of Sonoma County. In 2016, after much of her own research and experimentation, Erin joined with prominent Chef, Kolin Vazzoler, with the goal of creating artisanal confections made with low doses of cannabis that would enrich and help balance women’s lives.
Erin was awarded a Top Business of the Year honor in 2016 and was also given the Most Disruptive Innovation Award in 2014. Currently, she serves on the Board of the Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County as well as the Healdsburg District Hospital Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Sonoma County Growers Alliance and belongs to the Circular Board, The Collaborative Accelerator for Women Entrepreneurs.
Pamela Hadfield is a tech entrepreneur and co-founder of HelloMD, the largest online community of health and wellness cannabis consumers. After treating her debilitating migraines with cannabis successfully, Pamela launched HelloMD, initially as a telehealth service designed to connect medical cannabis patients with doctors from the privacy of their own homes. After finding immediate success in the market, HelloMD expanded to include community, educational content as well as product sales. As a leading female executive and spokesperson for one the fastest growing industries in the world, Pamela has been featured in publications including Forbes, The New York Times, Elle, Rolling Stone, ADR, Cannabis Now, Harper’s Bazaar, LA Weekly, Marie Claire, and TechCrunch.
Bill Kerr is a strategic design consultant and design entrepreneur with an emphasis on investments in the wine, beauty and cannabis categories.
With over 15 years of experience working with brands of all sizes, from startups to the Fortune 500, Bill’s passion is helping clients reach their customers in new and engaging ways. He led creative teams at agencies such as Primo Angeli: Fitch and CB’a Brand Engine, but has been independent for the past 7 years, working with his team under the Vertical moniker in downtown Santa Rosa to bring world-class brand innovation to both startups and established companies looking to effectively target key markets through strategic thinking and design.
Bill has a unique perspective on the parallels between the strategic positioning of cannabis and wine brands, as he both consults and has investments within each space. Additionally, he is working with his team to launch a sustainable child-resistant packaging solution that is aiming to set new standards for sustainability, aesthetics and cost.
Bill’s past clients include: HP, Motorola, Nestle, Purina, Bel Brands, Nyko, Avery Dennison, Otis Spunkmeyer, Freybe, Infusion Brands, Plum Organics, Mommy’s Bliss, Discovery Foods, CVS, Nuance by Salma Hayek, GO SMiLE, Clorox, Duraflame, Levi’s, Pizza Hut, GlaxoSmithKline, Lynmar Estate, Rally Point Wines, Ammunition Wines, Cline Family Cellars, Folio Fine Wine Partners, Terra de Promissio, Highway 12 Vineyards & Winery, Quivira, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Rally Point Wines, BioRepublic Skincare, Lucky Rock Wine Co., Price Family Vineyards, Barrett Farms, Chemistry, and Midnight Farms.
Allison Fraser Kosta is the Chief Operating Officer of TSO Sonoma, a luxury lifestyle and cannabis brand with a focus on health and wellness, as well as the CEO of SAKA, an infused non-alcoholic luxury wine company launching this fall.
Allison is an entrepreneur with a deep roots in the wine industry, as an accomplished owner of Kosta Browne Winery and Co-founder of her own boutique wine brand AldenAlli.
As an experienced owner in the wine industry and accomplished event planner, Allison has more than 25 years of refined, reputable experience operating within the San Francisco Bay Area food and wine industries. She has mastered many areas within the hospitality and viticulture spaces. Taking culmination her experiences and translating that wine country lifestyle into the cannabis space by producing high end events with an emphasis on the best that Sonoma County has to offer; food, wine and now cannabis.
Through her work with TSO Sonoma, Allison co-founded the TSO Elevated Events series, which are curated events, experiences and environments with a strong emphasis on education and overall wellness . Taking her love of good food and wine, organic farming, event planning and inherent passion for all things health and wellness she brings these things together through a sensory experience and pairings not to soon be forgotten.
Encompassing a passion for all things wellness, Allison has devoted the last two decades to servicing this industry as a health coach and massage therapist to further enhance education and application in a developed understanding of these practices.
Her idea to promote a healthy lifestyle starts with her and expands through all the work she accomplishes. Allison was born and raised in Northern California, has been a resident of Sonoma County for the last 15 years, and is the proud parent of three children.
Prior to joining BDS Analytics and the wild world of cannabis data, Jessica Lukas spent ~10 years working with top global CPG and Beverage Alcohol companies at Nielsen Innovation (BASES) and at Dr Pepper Snapple Group. After taking a short break to develop and launch an app with a business partner, Jessica returned to data analytics—but this time for weed. BDS Analytics is now her home, and she leads client engagement. BDS Analytics is headquartered in Boulder, CO and is the leader in data, market research, analytics, and consumer insights for the cannabis industry. She helps clients (inside and outside the industry) understand the evolution of the cannabis market and Consumer in order to assess the opportunity and/or threat and drive strategic decisions. AND given her many years spent working within Beverage Alcohol, the interaction, overlap, substitutability, pairing of Cannabis + Alcohol is a particular focus and passion.
Devika Maskey is Founder and CEO of luxury cannabis brand TSO Sonoma, and President of Ellipsis Wine Company, a boutique winery. She attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and graduated with a degree in Wine and Viticulture with a concentration in wine business development. Upon surveying the existing cannabis industry, she realized there was a huge opportunity to address functioning professionals like herself with premium cannabis products that could be beneficial to their health conscious lifestyle. In particular the female demographic was being neglected in what up until now has been a very male dominated industry.
With 12 years experience designing events and tastings in the premium wine business, Devika shifted her focus to create similar regulated, quality experiences in the emerging cannabis tourism industry, which will become a staple in the california cannabis infrastructure. With Sonoma County being the hub for an authentic gold standard in food, wine, and cannabis, it only seemed natural to create a brand that reflects just that.
Devika’s experience within the regulated alcohol industry, specifically wine and its viticulture experience and practices, is lending itself to her new role in cannabis. Devika also recently co-founded the women’s network, Industry Power Women, to provide resources to female entrepreneurs in an effort to guarantee success.
Claudio Miranda is a seasoned entrepreneur and C-level executive with 20 years of experience in marketing, consumer branding, multi-channel retailing, and sustainable enterprise. He was formerly the co-founder and CMO of two industry-leading natural product brands – Organic Bouquet and Organic Style – and later became a marketing consultant for the cannabis, gourmet foods and wine industries. He currently oversees the Guild family of cannabis brands, which includes a vertically-integrated dispensary in San Jose; a 3-acre cannabis nursery in Monterey County; and an award-winning concentrates brand that specializes in high potency, terpene-rich extracts. Claudio is a graduate of UC Berkeley; has served as Professor of Marketing at the Dominican University Green MBA Program; and currently serves as a startup advisor at Gateway—California’s first venture-backed cannabis incubator.
Alicia founded HerbaBuena in 2015 to help define a new standard for the cannabis industry, and a trusted product source for consumers looking for the same purity, quality and sophistication in their cannabis products as they’ve come to expect in their organic food and fine wine. HerbaBuena is a culmination of all that’s come before including her upbringing on an organic farm, her master’s degree in Environmental Science, and a 15-year career in Napa Valley’s wine industry, during which time she consulted with dozens of ultra-premium wine brands and a handful of 100-point winemakers.
Dr. Bill Silver is the CEO of CannaCraft Inc., California’s largest producer of premium cannabis brands including Absolute Xtracts, Care by Design, & Satori Chocolates. Founded by lifetime cultivators and industry experts, CannaCraft is a vertically integrated, community oriented company. CannaCraft has been at the forefront of industry innovation and advancement, setting the gold-standard for legal and responsible cannabis businesses.
Prior to taking the helm at CannaCraft, Dr. Silver was the Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University, where he helped SSU’s Wine Business Institute, become the premier global center for wine business education and research. He is the co-author of the book, Way of Zing – A Guide to Aligning Work and Life, written with Mark Gregory Nelson. The Way of Zing is a story about living a life of purpose and relevance, where what the world needs from you is in congruence with who you are.
Silver holds a B.A. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Washington. He is an avid martial artist, an enthusiastic explorer of wineries, and a determined trail runner.
Rebecca Stamey-White is a legal advocate, advisor and strategist focusing her practice on the laws related to the sale, distribution and marketing of alcoholic beverages and medical cannabis. She is a partner with Hinman & Carmichael LLP, a nationally-recognized boutique law firm representing the alcoholic beverage, hospitality and medical cannabis industries and their service providers. Rebecca provides licensing, distribution, compliance and trade practice business advice for regulated industries and defends clients in state agency protest and accusation hearings and federal alcohol investigations. She has a special interest in crafting legally-compliant advertising, social media, promotions and events and advising unlicensed third party providers serving regulated industries.
Rebecca is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, law schools and continuing legal education programs on the latest legal issues in the alcoholic beverage and cannabis industries. She is an active member of many of the alcohol beverage industry organizations, including the Wine Institute, the Rhone Rangers, the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers, the California Music & Culture Association, the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators and the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA). In the cannabis space, Rebecca is an active member of Women Grow, a professional network of female cannabis entrepreneurs, and the National Cannabis Bar Association. During ski season, she volunteers as a national ski patroller at Northstar California Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe.
Prior to Hinman & Carmichael, Rebecca was an associate in the San Francisco litigation group of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where she worked on post-Granholm litigation involving constitutional challenges to state alcohol regulatory statutes and provided regulatory advice to California wine industry businesses. Rebecca received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History & International Studies from Northwestern University and her juris doctor from Northwestern University School of Law.
Jim Sweeney has extensive experience driving sales success in the Wines & Spirits industry through both the three-tier distribution as well as Direct-to-Consumer. He has successfully managed the National Sales teams for several beverage alcohol industry leaders including Constellation, Huneeus Vintners, Vintage Wine Estates, was the General Sales Manager for two distributors in Texas, and brings both production and direct-to-consumer experience as the General Manager for Quixote Winery in Napa Valley. Jim brings an in-depth understanding of pricing and programming to deliver successful distribution and sales through three-tier distribution structures.
Currently as the Sales & Marketing Director for Humboldt Distillery in Humboldt California, Jim is helping to build a craft spirit from the ‘the heart’ of likely the largest cannabis growing area in the Country. Additionally, Humboldt Distillery produces and distributes ‘Humboldt’s Finest’, a cannabis-infused vodka. Jim now uses his extensive sales & marketing experience, is building a brand distilled and bottled in Humboldt County with a product that is cannabis-infused.
Jim is a graduate of the University of Texas, holds a MBA from National University, and resides in St. Helena, California with his wife.
Karli began her career in the wine industry at a boutique PR agency in Napa, learning the ropes of pitching and building media relationships while also expanding her wine education. Building her repertoire in food and wine, both professionally and personally, she quickly began exploring other aspects brand and event marketing in those fields. As her career progressed she moved to Constellation Brands, the world’s leading wine company, where she learned firsthand the importance of partnerships and cross-brand collaboration to become a top-tier marketer. Through thoughtful storytelling, pitching and partnerships, Karli landed media coverage for brands on the Today Show, and in national publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Wine Spectator and Food & Wine magazine.
During her time at Constellation, Karli helped launch a wine brand that, at the time, she didn’t know would eventually shift her career from wine to cannabis – which is where her Garden Society story begins. A former wine industry peer, Erin Gore founded Garden Society, a cannabis company focused on women’s wellness, in 2016 and shortly thereafter asked Karli to join the team to lead their marketing and communication efforts. Together and with their third partner, Matthew Bartlett, they have quickly built a well-recognized luxury cannabis brand that has garnered the interest of the Today Show, CNBC, Marie Claire, Los Angeles Times, Forbes and many more.
As she loved telling the story of wine - from vine to glass – she is even more so passionate and personally touched in telling the Garden Society story, from seed to delectable confection. As a working mom and wife to a cancer survivor, she knows the positive wellness impact low-dose edible cannabis can have on the mind, body and soul.