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.
I have one healthy parent and one sick parent. My healthy parent is my mom who has suffered from Multiple Sclerosis for 35 years. After trying every pharmaceutical on the market (and a few in trial) nothing helped her. Then she discovered medical cannabis and it changed her life. One eye-dropper full of CBD oil alleviates her pain, helps her sleep better and improves her mood.
On the other hand, my sick parent has battled alcohol addiction all his life. In his later years, he developed acute dementia directly related to years of alcohol use, including cocktails, beer and plenty of wine. As I sat down to write this bio he passed away. Seeing what alcohol took from our family while cannabis has provided so much medical benefit provides a unique perspective.
I’m a person who has made a living in the wine industry as a sommelier, organizer of #ChardonnayDay and #CabernetDay. After working in every facet of the industry I find myself at an interesting crossroads and look forward to presenting a useful viewpoint with one foot in each industry.
Nicky Blaufarb is a Business Development Officer at Cannacraft Inc., the largest cannabis manufacturer in Northern California. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she co-created a successful social media company specializing in commercial creative direction. She went on to strategic business development in several industries including food innovation, technology, the arts, and non-profits before her tenure at Cannacraft. Her myriad of experience and adaptability make her uniquely suited to being a pioneer in the constantly changing cannabis industry.
Tina Caputo is a wine, food and lifestyle writer who regularly contributes to ZesterDaily.com and Sonoma magazine, among other publications. She began her career in the communications department at Wine Institute, and went on to become the assistant director of communications at Maisons Marques & Domaines USA. She spent five years as the managing editor for Wines & Vines magazine before moving on to become the editor-in-chief of Vineyard & Winery Management magazine, a position she held for more than seven years.
Born and raised on the Sonoma Coast, Sam Edwards can think of no place he would rather be living and working. A former ski instructor and avid backpacker, Sam has experienced the offerings of all corners of California and remains passionate about his roots in beautiful Sonoma County, and leads his companies in sharing that passion with the world by bringing quality products to market for others to enjoy.
In 2010, He graduated from Purdue University with a degree in engineering and returned home to work as a project manager in a civil engineering firm in the heart of wine country. While working alongside the wine industry he learned the legal ins and outs of use permitting as well as appellations. Sam has been organically cultivating in several appellations of Sonoma County and passionately extracting cannabis from those areas since 2011.
Sam chose to pursue his passion full time in 2014 and jumped headfirst into the cannabis industry with a focus on intellectual property and brand management. In 2015, He founded the Sonoma Cannabis Company alongside Affinity Brand Management.
Recently Sam formed Cultura Crop Management based on the vineyard management business model in order to ensure proper supply chain management of quality pesticide free cannabis that meets the stringent regulations coming in 2018.
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 varietals 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.
Hollie Hall is a soil and water scientist with expertise in providing Cannabis farmers the support needed to transition farms into environmentally compliant, water secure, regenerative agricultural systems. She draws from two decades of experience in natural resources management, global studies of agricultural practices and training in adaptive water resource management to design, coordinate and implement “beyond compliance” solutions for Cannabis farms. She works with government agencies, non-profits and the private sector to integrate the needs of society, government and environment to drive the establishment of Cannabis farmers who implement watershed-friendly practices that reverse the negative impacts of historic natural resources extraction practices.
Her professional goals are to redefine the dominant societal perspective of Cannabis industries via participation in development of farm management systems, breaking of barriers between farmers and government agents and participation in policy development processes. In addition to operating two natural resources consulting firms, Hollie serves as a board member of the Humboldt County Cannabis Chamber of Commerce and the Humboldt Cannabis Council, two organizations that integrate diverse stakeholder groups and provide expert opinion regarding emerging Cannabis industries.
Ms. Lencho is co-founder of Supernova Women, an organization for women of color in the cannabis industry that has been affecting change by providing free education and training programs to communities of color throughout the nation regarding national, state, and local policies and business opportunities in the legal cannabis industry. A graduate of Stanford Law School and Stanford University (J.D. and B.A., respectively), Ms. Lencho provides regulatory, compliance and intellectual property guidance to California's cannabis industry. She is formerly the Mayor's appointee to the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Ms. Lencho currently serves on the board of the California Growers Association. Ms. Lencho is a frequent editorial contributor to coverage of the industry by Black Enterprise, The Establishment, Vice, and Politico. Her forays into making marijuana law and policy accessible to the masses can be read on multimedia platform The KindLand.
A Sonoma County native, Tawnie has been active in organic and sustainable agriculture including cannabis farming for over 15 years. Her commitment to the environment and to providing local cannabis operators with the tools for success in a regulated market inspired the founding of the Sonoma County Growers Alliance in 2015.
Tawnie has dedicated the past two years to supporting local and state regulators in developing effective policy through industry education and advocacy. She has presented at numerous cannabis conferences from California to Canada; across industry groups from Chambers of Commerce and the Sustainable North Bay to the Farm Bureau and more.
Today her primary work is focused on advancing the professional landscape of cannabis businesses in Sonoma County through collaborative efforts with local, regional and statewide organizations. From economic development to preserving natural resources, Tawnie's commitment to holistic industry growth is representative of the principal values in the Sonoma County Growers Alliance.
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.
Amber Morris is the Branch Chief of CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, a branch of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Amber oversees implementation of the cultivation licensing program for medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis.
She has worked for the California Department of Food and Agriculture for nearly a dozen years in several capacities, most recently as the Environmental Program Manager of the Interior Pest Exclusion Program, where she directed statewide implementation of the Phytophthora Ramorum Program (Sudden Oak Death), Agricultural Detector Dog Team Program, Phytosanitary Export Program, and County High-Risk Pest-Exclusion Program.
Prior to her service with the state, Amber worked for the Sonoma County and the Sacramento County agricultural commissioners' offices. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies and Planning, with an emphasis in conservation and restoration, from Sonoma State University.
Amanda Reiman is the Head of Community Relations for Flow Kana, a branded cannabis distribution company that works with small farmers in the Emerald Triangle and the Secretary of the International Cannabis Farmer’s Association, a non-profit that advocates for research and policies that favor sun grown cannabis cultivation through traditional farming methods.
After receiving her PhD from UC Berkeley, Dr. Reiman was the Director of Research and Patient Services at Berkeley Patients Group, one of the oldest dispensaries in the country, and the Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy for the Drug Policy Alliance, a national non-profit that was engaged in the drafting and campaigns of legalization initiatives across the country and abroad. She also taught courses on substance abuse treatment and drug policy at UC Berkeley for 10 years.
Dr. Reiman is an internationally recognized cannabis expert and public health researcher. Dubbed “The Brain” by Elle.com, she is a leader the field of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs and has presented her research all over the world. Also an expert in cannabis policy on the local, national and international level, Dr. Reiman was the first Chairwoman of the Berkeley Medical Cannabis Commission and also sat on the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
Tom Rodrigues has been an artist since his childhood. He started at 14 working in Stained Glass in his hometown of Los Gatos California at Hogan Studios. He soon branched off on his own and moved to Marin County in the early 70’s to continue his art glass at Rodrigues Studio in San Rafael. He was hired as the designer and production Manager at Skywalker Ranch creating the stained glass that adorns the buildings there. Along with over 4 decades working in Stained Glass, Tom began his fine art expressions in acrylic and oil paintings where he showed his work from New York to San Francisco. Tom has one of his paintings from The Legends at The Stick series in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown New York. He also has created some of the most iconic wine labels from Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley and Mendocino Counties wineries. Far Niente, Nickel and Nickel, Dolce, En Route, Bella Union, Hamel Family, Gemstone, Manzanita Creek, Artevino, and Maple Creek just to name a few. Tom moved to Mendocino County in 2001 and purchased a ranch and small production winery in Yorkville of the Anderson Valley. He teamed up with Kerry Damsky to teach him winemaking chemistry. Maple Creek Winery / Artevino Wines produce award winning Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Merlot and Bordeaux blends. Tom sits on two boards in Mendocino County MWI (Mendocino Winegrowers Inc) and the MCIA (Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association) representing the two most popular agricultural products here in Mendocino County.
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.
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.
Aaron Smith is co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the largest trade association representing legal cannabis businesses in the U.S and the only one working to advance the industry on a national level.
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 in 2005, and then as the California state policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project until founding NCIA in 2010. Aaron has successfully built coalitions with elected officials on both sides of the aisle in order to advance marijuana law reform legislation. 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. Originally from California, Aaron is currently based in Denver.
Tony Westfall has a long track record of success in the wine industry and beyond. He has developed Good Company Wines (GCW) and its related entities into a profitable multi-million dollar business from scratch. Along the way, he has completed four acquisitions of related businesses and developed relationships around the world with wineries and grape growers. In addition, he has built a unique concept of private label businesses, buying established brands and opportunistically taking these brands to market as 'owned brands' concepts.
In addition to GCW, he has a long track record of success across a variety of industries including CPG, Technology and Software, Medical devices, Insurance as well as various hospitality related endeavors.
His latest venture is Pasa Verde which is a fully integrated manufacturer of high quality non volatile CO2 manufactured cannabis oil. The company was founded in March 2017.