MINORML, Cannabis Caucus, MI Dems
Zahra Abbas is a 35 year old Arab American Muslim activist who became politically involved through cannabis legalization after starting cannabis as a medicine for her epilepsy when nothing else worked. Doing so turned her into a political activist and currently serves as a DNC Delegate, Chair of the MDP Cannabis Caucus, Secretary of Young Democrats of Michigan, Secretary of Michigan NORML and Vice President of Motor City NORML. She is also a volunteer and speaker with the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan and the project coordinator for Dearborn PIPERS and hopes to go back to college for a degree in public health and policy.
Eric Anderson, PhD
Eric Anderson is a field crops educator with Michigan State University located in the southwest region of the state. Although the majority of his time is devoted to supporting traditional row crop production in southwest and south central Michigan, he has been learning about hemp and supporting the developing hemp industry since 2019 with statewide outreach and applied research.
CropScout Christie Consulting
US Hemp Building Association / Illinois Hemp Growers Association
Rachel Berry is the Director of Regional Leaders for the U.S. Hemp Building Association and the Founder and CEO of the Illinois Hemp Growers Association.
She is a first-generation regenerative farmer raising poultry, growing heirloom vegetables, native medicinal plants, and industrial hemp with her family on their 13 acre farm. As a community organizer and dedicated volunteer, she works to educate farmers, business owners, law makers, and families about the potential of hemp as a “community crop”. She is also experienced in hemp-lime construction.
Marguerite Bolt is the Hemp Extension Specialist at Purdue University in the Department of Agronomy. Marguerite received her M.S. in Entomology from Purdue University, and her B.S in Entomology from Michigan State University. Her research has focused on hemp-insect interactions and plant chemistry. She is interested in the secondary compounds that hemp produces and how they affect insect pests, although she has had to shift her focus to agronomic production questions surrounding hemp. Her position is new to Indiana and she is serving as a catalyst to link growers to production facilities and the research community through online resources, field days, and workshops.
Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency
Andrew was appointed by Governor Whitmer to lead Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) in April 2019. The CRA oversees the medical and adult-use marijuana industries, regulates hemp-derived products, and runs the state’s medical marijuana registry card program. CRA’s mission is to establish Michigan as the national model for a regulatory program that stimulates business growth while preserving safe consumer access to cannabis. Andrew has worked in licensing and regulation with the State of Michigan since 2004, including with the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Department of State, and occupational and health professional licensing.
Andrew is also active in the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA), a national organization of more than 40 US state and territorial regulatory agencies that provides policy makers and regulatory agencies with the resources to make informed decisions when considering how to approach the legalization and regulation of cannabis. He currently serves as CANNRA’s president, having been elected to the role in 2021.
Executive Director of Midwest Hemp Council and VP of Whitfield Global Holdings
Jamie has been advocating for industrial hemp since 2012. Jamie is the co-founder and Executive Director of Midwest Hemp Council. Recently, Jamie was named Vice President of Government and Industry Relations with Whitefield Global Holdings, and also holds a Board Seat with Hemp Brand Builders, with whom she also does consulting work as needed. It is Jamie’s goal to contribute to the normalization of hemp as a crop option throughout the United States, from seed to shelf, providing a fluid and trustworthy supply chain that also provides a regenerative option for incorporation into the production of food, fuel and fiber.
Heather Carter is a media personality, model, community architect, co-founder of the community engagement agency LOUD.social, and publicist and brand ambassador for Copper House.
She is a communications professional with a decade of experience in public relations and marketing focusing her work mostly within the cannabis industry. Her experience as a community architect started in 2017 when she served as the Director of Communications for the New York community-focused cannabis events company, REVEL. During her time at REVEL, she built a name for herself within the industry that ultimately landed her the opportunity to build and connect communities with one of Michigan’s leading cannabis operators, Gage Cannabis Co. At Gage, Heather designed the company’s community program and co-created their social equity program with the company’s founders. She also serves on the board of the Michigan Chapter for Americans for Safe Access as the Director of Community Engagement.
Outside of building communities within cannabis, Heather is the lead female host for the internet platform, Take Detroit, where she hosts various short-form videos highlighting different culinary and entertainment attractions around the city of Detroit.
She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wayne State University in Public Relations, and has worked with organizations such as National Expungement Works, American Heart Association, Detroit Narrative Agency and Americans for Safe Access.
Additionally, Heather is a 200hr RYT yoga instructor and is currently studying to achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a master herbalist.
The Hemp Plastic Company
Mr. Dean has been involved in the plastics industry since 1998 and has held global executive roles in business development, operations, and supply chains as a global leader in rigid plastic consumer packaging. He has contributed to expansion in sales from $400M to $3.5B, and was instrumental in the creation of new greenfield operations in California, Iowa and Florida. He has a great professional working relationship with many CPG and FMCG organizations, ranging from tier-one global organizations to smaller regional or local companies. He has worked significantly on alternative material and process developments and commercialization in conjunction with end users. Prior to entering the rigid plastic space, Greg spent ten years in the metal can business as Director of International Sales.
The Law Offices of Craig A. Aronoff, PLLC
Samantha Dubiel is an associate attorney at The Law Offices of Craig A. Aronoff, a boutique law firm in Royal Oak, Michigan, which specializes in the business of cannabis. Samantha counsels and advises clients on all aspects of the cannabis establishment cycle, including business formation, applications, licensure, and compliance.
Hemp Hollow Processing
An entrepreneur with a keen eye for disruptive industries, he joined the Vermont-based architecture firm, Escher Design, to help develop cost-effective applications using hemp bio-composites.
In 2017, the firm went on to build the first permitted hempcrete structure in Denver, Colorado. Currently, the firm has numerous hemp-based projects in several states including Vermont, Colorado, Missouri and New York. With the USHBA, Alex serves on the supply chain, certification, and education committees.
Anton Harb Jr.
Hero Project USA
Anton Harb Jr. is a former Army Officer and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The trauma of war has left Anton with severe PTSD. As a survivor of combat, cancer and suicide, Anton struggled to find relief from the myriad of prescribed pharmaceutical medications. Anton eventually discovered the therapeutic effect of medical cannabis. Recognizing veterans still encounter daily barriers to medical cannabis access, Anton helped establish Hero Project USA. Hero Project USA is a 501c3 non-profit aimed at helping veterans gain access and awareness to medical cannabis resources.
Senior Hemp Analyst
Chase is a senior Hemp Analyst at The Jacobsen and has been reporting on the hemp markets. His insight will help growers and those involved in the hemp market understand where hemp products will go in the future.
Jess Jackson, MBA, M.ED is a serial entrepreneur and centers her work on the visibility and inclusion of marginalized bodies. She is COO and Co-Founder of LOUD.Social, a content marketing agency that combines community organizing strategy with social media marketing.
LOUD.Social focuses their work on justice-oriented, cannabis, sustainability and wellness-focused brands.
She is also co-founder of Copper House Detroit, Detroit’s first Cannabis-positive AirBnB. Since opening their doors, Jess & her wife, Cara, have hosted 300+ individuals and brands in their home, and Copper House Detroit has become a pillar and springboard within the cannabis
As a social equity qualified Legacy Detroiter, Jess is pursuing licensure for Detroit’s first worker-owned cannabis cooperative to ensure that cannabis equity in Detroit stays in the community, a community that has been disproportionately impacted by prohibition.
In 2021, Jess served as the Director of Operations with National Expungement Works, which coordinates resources to liberate justice-impacted communities which have been exploited by systemic inequities.
As the Racial Equity Learning Strategist at TorranceLearning, she authored the curriculum Cultivating Racial Equity in the Workplace (CREW), a holistic microlearning training program that addresses barriers to equity in the workplace using evidence-informed practices.
Jess also holds an M.ED and MBA and graduated Summa Cum Laude in each. She lives in Detroit, Michigan, and can be reached at Jess@LOUD.Social.
Sunshine Cannabis Consulting
Tanya Kaye became a medical marijuana patient in 2014. Since then, she has been on a fast-track learning curve throughout all of the rapid changes and progression of marijuana laws in Michigan. Tanya quickly began building connections with those already well established in both cannabis businesses and cannabis activism. Tanya started at Hemphill Wellness in Burton, Michigan as a budtender for the caregiver system, transitioning into the MMFLA-licensed market working for such companies as Light N Up Provisioning Center, Narvona and T-Rex. Tanya also crossed over into the cannabis testing industry working for Act Labs in Lansing, Michigan. Tanya is currently the grandmother of Michigan’s youngest Medical Marijuana patient who is only sixteen months old. This passion has driven her to earn multiple certificates in cannabis consulting, growing and extracting. All this experience has shown Tanya that the Medical Marijuana Law of 2008 is vitally important to Michigan patients and that her true passion is to help protect them and the MMMA.
General Manager, Verve Seed Solutions
Jeff of Verve Seed Solutions is known for his ‘real life’ experience in the field as a pedigreed hemp seed grower and has a strong applied research background providing benchmarks in the hemp industry. Jeff has assisted in the success of producers, industry and colleagues in the burgeoning hemp industry over the last 23 years.
Jeff studied Agriculture at the University of Manitoba and in 2012 obtained a BGS from Athabasca University where he graduated with distinction. He is a Certified Crop Advisor and is a member of the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists. Jeff is the Chair for the National Hemp Variety Testing Committee with the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, and also the Chair of the Seed and Grain Committee, with the Hemp Industries Association in America.
Midwest CannaNurses™ (MCN)
Biyyiah Lee, MSN, RN, Co-Founder of Midwest CannaNurses™ is a Chicago, Illinois native and a current registered nurse in Detroit, Michigan. With over 10 years of nursing experience, she has worked in settings which include ambulatory care, home health, and care coordination, and is well versed in Public Health Nursing. As a 2021 Ambrose Scholar and 2021 NBNA under 40 award recipient, she practices where nursing, cannabis, and public health overlap to ensure safe and informed consumption and access for patients using cannabinoid therapeutics. She also focuses on academia and policy to address gaps in cannabis education among healthcare providers.
Perry Johnson Companies
Brett McMillen is the Cannabis and Hemp Division Manager for the Perry Johnson Companies. Brett has assisted in developing their State and Industry Accredited programs for current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), Good Agriculture and Collection practices (GAcP), USDA Organic, and other ISO-based programs in and out of the cannabis space. He has worked with numerous growers, extractors, and manufacturers from start up to MSO expansion.
MI Hemp Council
Joel is an Instructional Systems Designer and Technology Consultant offering leadership for media development of instructional materials and performance improvement programs. Creative management involving oversight of team members methodologies applied to workflow process. Belongs to the Michigan STEM Partnership’s advancement of workforce development ecosystems national initiatives, a Board Member of the ASA Michigan Chapter and Educational Programs Coordinator with iHemp Michigan. An advocate to integrate instructional technologies into the mainstream employee usage within corporate, industrial and educational institutions.
Michigan Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Dev. , Industrial Hemp Program Specialist
Molly has been with MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management (PPPM) Division for over 20 years, working in many important roles including Pesticide Inspector, Nursery Inspector, Emerald Ash Borer Regulatory Lead, Pesticide Lead Inspector, and Pesticide Enforcement Specialist. Molly has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience in program management, procedure writing, law interpretation, compliance assistance, and enforcement.
Jen Nelson serves on the Board of Directors of iHemp Michigan and operates her own CBD brand, ModRütz Botanical Company. Jen is also a certified motivational speaker and life coach.
Jen has done it all in Hemp over the years, from seed to sale. She brings her expertise and passion for healing to her work.
Pott Farms, L3C
Robbin Pott, J.D., M.P.P. is the creator and co-founder of Pott Farms L3C, a regenerative hemp company in Willis, Michigan. What does it mean to be regenerative? It means that our systems are designed to restore and sustain rather than deplete our resources, and that they are rooted in justice. For the past four years, Robbin has been practicing regenerative farming and learning about living soil while cultivating hemp naturally. She comes from a 20-year academic career as a child advocate and has designed the farm to also provide job opportunities for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Gus Rosania, PhD
Primo Research, Inc.
Gus Rosania, PhD is a pro-education, pro-science, pro-research, pro-nature, pro-freedom and pro-American pharmaceutical scientist, teacher and Cannabis legalization activist. As a federally-funded investigator and faculty member at the University of Michigan, he organized the first medicinal cannabis course ever taught at an accredited school of Pharmacy in the USA, aimed at introducing undergraduate and graduate students from all fields to the history, biology, chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology as well as the overarching potential of the Cannabis plant as an engine for economic development and as the foundation of American self-sufficiency and self-determination.
Mitzi Ruddock was born and raised in the city of Detroit. Her passion for seeing Detroit-based businesses, families and individuals flourish in her hometown is evident in every endeavor she has undertaken for the past twenty years. In 1995, she lost her father, a successful Detroit business owner, to cancer at the age of 43. Little did she know this unexpected and tragic loss would fuel her interest in the healing properties of cannabis. Mitzi went on to complete her undergraduate degree in Graphic Design at Eastern Michigan University, but she shared the same entrepreneurial spirit she inherited from her father. Unfortunately, the housing crisis made it difficult for her to sustain her real estate business. She learned the struggles of being a self-made black businesswoman but rather than give in when things got difficult, she opted to stay the course and continued to utilize her keen business acumen and a network of entrepreneurs to continue investing in her community.
Through Black Cannabis Access, Mitzi is meeting the community where they are and providing access to opportunities, access to resources, and access to support systems. Through her experience as a grower, delivery service provider, advocate and promoter, Mitzi is committed to empowering and engaging as many black and brown people in this cannabis movement as she can reach. Thus, her 2022 priority is creating 100 Detroit Millionaires.
The Redemption Foundation
Josey Scoggin serves as the Program Director for the Redemption Foundation, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization dedicated to improving the lives of current and former cannabis prisoners. Josey is currently the Policy Director for the Disabled Youth Alliance of America, President of Sons and Daughters United, and Intake Manager for the Great Lakes Expungement Network.
Josey was Michigan’s first pediatric cannabis patient and spearheaded a crisis relief campaign for expecting mothers who used cannabis, servicing over 100 women in the Midwest from 2017-2020. Josey is passionate about her love for the Great Lakes State, its cannabis industry and the community that makes Michigan great.
Hey, I’m Anthony! I know that human resources, compliance, and insurance are some of the last but most important things that you want to think about when it comes to running your cannabis microbusiness. Instead of hiring internally full-time for a hefty salary, you can look to outsource these functions for pennies on the dollar – for real.
I can help you get set up from the start with time-intensive activities like employee recruitment, time and attendance systems, HR policies and handbook creation, payroll and tax management, and much more.
If the idea of managing payroll and being compliant with federal, state and local taxing entities make you want to re-think your dream of being an entrepreneur, don’t worry. THC123 and America’s Back Office has been doing this line of work for two decades. By making HR less of a burden, you can focus on your marijuana microbusiness and your bottom line.
Licenses held: Professional Employer Organization (PEO), Employment Agency Type A, Employment Agent, Life Insurance Producer, Accident & Health Insurance Producer, Property Insurance Producer, Casualty Insurance Producer.
Innovative Energy Solutions
Bryan Sherman is a Thermo-Economist with more than four decades in the HVAC industry. He has proven success guiding sizeable, cross-functional teams in the implementation of construction design, build, operations & maintenance, and engineering processes required for institutional, commercial, and industrial facilities.
His focus is on delivering optimal Life Cycle Cost and Net Present Value, especially in the emerging area of energy efficiency for indoor agriculture. Sherman helps growers eliminate fungus, mold, spores and the need for excessive pesticides for indoor plant growth. He helps them maintain climate control while reducing energy use.
Esther Shekinah Durairaj, PhD
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
Great Lakes Hemp Supplements
Michael Thue is a Certified Medical Assistant and Member of the American Association of Medical Assistants. Michael is the Founder & CEO of Great Lakes Hemp Supplements, LLC and the Center for Compassion, LLC. Michael has gained valuable experience in the Cannabis Industry by founding the 1st 501(3)c Non-Profit Compassion Center in Traverse City Michigan, formerly the Grand Traverse Compassionate Connection, in 2009.
Michael has over 20 years of experience with using cannabis as medicine in a vast variety of alternative forms including GI Tube, Suppositories, Vaporization, Topical use and other forms of administration. Michael is the Leading Midwest CBD Authority. Michael has had the honor of educating in the vast areas of medical cannabis, the Endo-Cannabinoid System, Hemp and CBD at several conferences across the country over the past 10 years of specializing in High CBD Medicinal strains.
Michael has not only had the Honor of presenting at large cannabis trade shows such as Pittsburgh’s 1st World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo, but Michael has also had the honor of doing in-service education and training, teaching physicians and their staff interested in the Medical Cannabis programs for their own patients on how to establish appropriate dosing and treatment options.
The Grassy Knoll
My husband and I own The Grassy Knoll in Grand Rapids and have been selling CBD for over five years. We started our business to help people and furry children in a safe and natural way. We collaborated with one of our suppliers to create a CBD oil just for our store. The Grassy Knoll tincture is very popular for humans so we created Bruno Drops in order to help all pets with separation anxiety. Bruno drops have a calming effect on him and he is able to stay at the house without destroying things or hurting himself. We have also given our other pets (dogs and cat) CBD and hoped it would help them. Our Bruno drops currently have 500 mg of CBD and can easily be put on food or in treats.
US Hemp Building Association
Jacob Waddell is the Executive Director and was the President of the US Hemp Building Association from October 2020 to January 2022. He oversaw the growth of the organization and is currently leading USHBA and USHBF initiatives including the creation of ASTM standards, defending a submission to the International Residential Code, and the establishment of the Workforce Development Program. His mission in life is to make a positive impact on the world around him. A natural leader who believes that teams make the difference and that carefully analyzes situations to achieve success.
Known locally as “Dr. Detroit,” retired University of Detroit Mercy business professor and long-time Birmingham resident Mike Whitty is a man who can’t be summed up in one sentence.
“I’m trying to flunk retirement by continuing to try to be a prophet in my own time,” Whitty said a few days after undergoing surgery. “Sure, in my 20s to my own students, some might say I was memorable.”
He has also worked with former Detroit police chief Ike McKinnon in efforts to decriminalize marijuana.
HEMP for Victory Over Pollution & Industrial Culture Driving Climate Change – HEMP is Good Environmentalism & Great for Michigan Farming-Agro Biz
Brad Wurfel brings a wealth of wide-ranging communications experience to any conversation. Over more than 25 years, Wurfel has worked as a journalist, legislative staffer, state agency spokesman, lobbyist, campaign manager, non-profit communications director and more.
He founded BJW Strategies in 2018, with the simple idea that his experience and contacts can provide connection, perspective, solutions and success to a wide range of clients in the public and private sectors. Wurfel is a trusted counselor to leaders engaged in large and small business, association management, and executive leadership in fields ranging from public health to education to manufacturing.
As a nationally recognized public speaker and communications trainer, Wurfel works with individual clients and state and national associations, leading the conversation about how to meet the challenges of communicating effectively in an instant age.
He lives near Lansing with his wife and two children.
University of Illinois Extension
Phillip Alberti is a commercial agriculture educator with University of Illinois Extension. Phillip works in commercial crop production, assisting growers and producers by providing resources and consultations for production of row crops. His areas of focus include hemp production, soil fertility, and row crop production.
First Light, A Healing Way
Dawn is an 8-year multiple breast cancer survivor who utilizes medicinal cannabis. She is an advocate for cannabis patients, Breast Cancer, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Breast Implant Illness, and is a Young Survivor Coalition State Leader (YSC).
Dawn is also the founder of First Light, A Healing Way. Through this, she shares useful information, resources, connections, and donations to cancer patients and caregivers in need. She runs the Firstlightahealingway.com website which also offers resources and assistance to patients and their caregivers.
Dawn has been assisting patients for over 12 years in the cannabis field after having a career in dentistry for over 20 years. Presently, she is working on passing bills for informed consent for breast implants in the State of Michigan.
Blue Sage Health
Julie Barron helped to pioneer the Michigan psychedelic community and is an activist for decriminalization throughout the US. For over 25 years, Julie has done extensive research and training in the health benefits and use of cannabis and entheogenic plants/fungi. She has devoted her practice at Blue Sage Health Consulting to helping clients find healing and relief as they incorporate these alternative practices into wellness.
Bish Enterprises / Hemp Harvest Works
Andrew Bish is the Founder & CEO of Hemp Harvest Works and COO of Bish Enterprises, based out of Giltner, Nebraska. He is a third generation harvest equipment manufacturer. Bish Enterprises, founded in 1976 is known worldwide for combine header adapters, innovative design, custom engineering, and research technology. Hemp Harvest Works is a machinery sales business focused on bringing a complete line of equipment and ancillary solutions to hemp producers and processors. In addition to the day-to-day operations, Andrew also serves as Director of the Colorado Hemp Industries Association. He has previously served as the Vice President and now Board Member of the Hemp Feed Coalition, and Director of the Standing Committee of Hemp Organizations.
Seth Boone is PanXchange’s VP of Business Development and head of hemp markets. Raised on a ranch in West Texas, he offers a background beginning in production agriculture before continuing his career merchandising feed grains and other agricultural commodities for StoneX (INTL FCStone) and JBS. Seth holds a Master’s in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and is passionate about our emerging commodity markets’ growth and future.
Michigan Hemp Farmer Association
The Michigan Hemp Farmer Association is a faith-based non-profit 501 C that proudly serves the Michigan craft hemp farm market industry to empower minorities and prior cannabis felons through education and training from experts in the industry with a minimum mandatory of 7 years as a federally-licensed hemp business.
Erin Burns, PhD
Assistant Professor − Integrated Weed Management with emphasis on practices to mitigate the development and spread of herbicide-resistant weeds.
Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
More Than Hope
Amie Carter is highly motivated and passionate about educating others about the many benefits of cannabis, especially for Autism after seeing firsthand the difference it made with her son and in the Autism community.
Amie has networked with many in the cannabis industry assisting local advocates in protecting their rights and informing others of current law changes. She advocates on behalf of her son and other children on issues that directly impact them and their medical condition. Amie hopes to make access and use easier in Michigan and across the country by working to help pediatric and adolescent patients gain the same equal rights as those who use traditional prescribed medicine.
US Hemp Brokerage LLC
Jeffrey Cole is the owner and founder of US Hemp Brokerage LLC, which he established in order to become the leading professional brokerage firm in the domestic hemp markets. While Jeff formed the company in August of 2018, he has recently nurtured the firm to its official launch on November 1, 2019. He has 7 team members at US Hemp Brokerage, based in Boulder County, Colorado.
Most recently (October 2018 – November 2019), Jeffrey held the position of Director of Program Development with Restorative Botanicals, a leading hemp firm, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I started my hempcrete company, FiberFort, in Detroit, Michigan with the hopes of making a positive impact on the earth. Currently a painter, I am making my transition into natural building practices. I started my training and education of hempcrete in January 2021 and am now certified for spray and hand-cast application by the companies Hempitecture and Americhanvre. My company is set to start the first hempcrete house this July in Chelsea, Michigan.
James DeDecker, PhD
Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center
Director of the MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham, Michigan and a Specialist in the MSU Extension Community, Food and Environment Institute. He earned a BS in Environmental Studies and Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, as well as MS and PhD degrees in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois. James specializes in soil health and fertility, integrated pest management and the human dimensions of agriculture.
Dunaskiss Consulting & Development, Inc.
Justin Dunaskiss is Partner and Vice President at Dunaskiss Consulting & Development (DCD), a full service, multi-client governmental affairs, lobbying, and consulting organization. A graduate of Michigan State University, Justin holds dual degrees in Business Management and Political Science. Since the 2011-2012 Michigan legislative session, Justin and his firm have been at the forefront of cannabis policy. Justin and his firm have worked with both the public and private sector companies at the local, state and federal level on a variety of projects. They assist everyone from multinational corporations to start up mom-and-pop organizations in navigating the legislative and regulatory landscapes.
Furtado Law, PLLC and The Law Offices of Craig A. Aronoff, PLLC
Furtado Law provides small business and start up legal services to select clients in West Michigan, with special attention to providing a “one-on-one” client experience. In addition, Will Furtado serves as Senior Cannabis Attorney at The Law Offices of Craig A. Aronoff in Royal Oak, Michigan, providing comprehensive legal services to cannabis, hemp and CBD clients in Michigan and beyond. Author of Cannabis Law & Policy Blog. FurtadoLegal.com CraigAronoffLaw.com
Clean Smoke Community Investment Project
Najanava comes from a long history of community service, political strategy, marketing & communications, and civic engagement. In 2021 she founded the Clean Smoke Community Investment Project, a nonprofit that is committed to reducing the economic impact of the War on Drugs in black and brown communities. Najanava served as Project Manager for FORCE Detroit where she increased voter awareness, engagement, and participation. She has served in various roles where she helped organize and coordinate community-based events on a national and local level, built relationships through interfaith work and collective collaboration, and worked directly with media-based outlets to advance voices of people directly impacted by the War on Drugs. Najanava chairs prisoner outreach with the Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition.
Dr. Raj Kasula
The Wenger Group
A Veterinarian with postgraduate degree in Immunology and Nutrition from Marathwada Agricultural University, India; Certified Professional Animal Scientist for Poultry (PAS) by ARPAS.
33+ years in Feed Additives and Animal Nutrition segment, multispecies experience predominantly in poultry; multi-geographic, in over 33 countries across the globe
Board of Director & Steering Committee Member, Hemp Feed Coalition; Member, Feed Standards Sub Committee, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, Executive Committee Member – PennAg Feed Grain and Allied Industries Board; Member Research Advisory Committee – Pennsylvania Poultry Industry Research Check Off Program, Pennsylvania State University; Board Member, Industry Advisory Board, Animal Health & Nutrition Consortium, North Carolina State University; Past Foundation Member-Institution Partners, Poultry Science Association; Past Executive Member – World Poultry Association, Singapore Branch. Trustee and Ex-Joint Treasurer – Austin Hindu Temple and Community Center Executive Committee; Member – South Asian Association of Lancaster, PA; Lead – Community Outreach and Volunteers, Executive Committee, CRY- Child Rights and You America,;
Currently, Senior Vice President & Chief Nutrition Officer, The Wenger Group, Rheems, PA, leading animal nutrition, innovation & research, quality and food safety functions; past associated with feed additive and animal nutrition leaders such as Ridley, Inc. (a unit of Alltech), Kemin, Cargill, Mars Pet Food, Prince Agri/Phibro Animal Health, and entrepreneurial experience with own global animal nutrition business development consultancy.
Cannabis Counsel Law Firm
The synergies that have come together at the nation’s first cannabis only law firm since 1999, Cannabis Counsel Law Firm, a unique, niche law firm, make it the core of Michigan’s cannabis community, and among the country’s leading legal authorities in cannabis law.
Mike is the Founder of iHEMPx – aka The International Hemp Exchange. His areas of expertise include hemp & cannabis genetics, industrial hemp processing, R&D, production, business development, distribution, and sales. iHEMPx was the first licensed and bonded hemp broker in the United States and has been farming hemp and producing industrial hemp genetics since 2016 in Colorado and Oregon.
Mike is not only a hemp industry thought leader, but a domestically and internationally known expert on hemp genetics, farming best practices, hemp processing, supply chain management, and consumer applications. Throughout his career, Mike has worked diligently to support the hemp industry ethically and comprehensively. Highly connected and solution-focused, Mike leverages his deep knowledge base and network for the success of clients and the hemp industry as a whole.
Advocate for Patients and Caregivers as a Director and Board Member of The Michigan Weedsters. Treasurer for More Than Hope, a Michigan-based group that advocates for pediatric cannabis therapy. A member of the Michigan Cannabis Caucus as an advisor. Americans for Safe Access member. MichiganWeedsters.com MorethanHope.info
Alliance Analytical Laboratories
Adams Independent Testing
Kia Mikesh is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Adams Independent Testing, one of the first hemp and cannabis testing laboratories in North Dakota. Under her guidance, AIT has emerged as a fast, reliable third-party hemp testing facility, earning the trust of customers across the United States. Kia also serves as Vice President of North Dakota Grain Inspection, Project Manager of AdamsNet, and currently the Vice President for the American Association of Grain Inspection and Weighing Agencies.
Salute Synergy / Sweed Dreams
Tonya Mora is a lifelong resident of Michigan other than her time spent in the United States Navy where she worked with the military police as well as teaching sailing skills to midshipman at the Naval Academy. After her honorable discharge, she attained the position of Corrections Officer with the Michigan State Department of Corrections.
Upon leaving her state position in 2011, she developed an interest in essential oils through the loss of a friend’s mother and the inheritance of her books regarding this subject. This was near the same time in which Ms. Mora had begun working behind the scenes in the medical marijuana industry trimming plants, learning more about organic growing and the therapeutic benefits of cannabis oils.
She began blending topical oils for use by herself and then family and friends with great success in achieving high levels of relief of a variety of ailments. Word of mouth spread and she started her company Sweed Dreams LLC in 2015.
2020 Salute Synergy was born as a brick and mortar for Cannabis Education in partnership with The American Journal of Endocannabinoid Medicine, allowing for both private and public sector cannabis education.
Nate Niehuus’ passion for cannabis genetics stems from popping his first cannabis seeds in the year 2000. After a stint in the Army, a BBA in Finance and other business ventures, Nate decided to pursue his passion in cannabis genetics full-time. Located in Bay City, Michigan, Nate founded Prima Clones in 2019 and has since become the leading CRA-licensed nursery in the state.
Nate’s passion for cannabis stems from its therapeutic effects which he uses to combat pain and decrease anxiety. His goal is to provide high-quality cannabis and genetics to the marketplace, while being an advocate for Cannabis Policy Reform.
Founder, HOH, A Seed to Sale, Michigan-Grown Hemp Company
Founder, HOH CBD: A Root-to-Retail™, Michigan-grown hemp CBD company with one of the most diverse product lines on the market. The company’s main differentiator is its
Root-to-Retail business model and its investment and commitment to quality. We partner with QA entities such as VEEVA and C15 to ensure that the safest and most effective formulations are used by our customers. HOH CBD is a growing industry leader in actively educating the industry and the public through a narrative focused on quality.
Lori has an immense amount of experience working in a Fortune 100 corporation, as well as consulting and building multiple entrepreneurial businesses and bringing her passion for innovation and branding to the forefront.
After 37 years with Dow, Lori retired from corporate America to focus on HOH CBD alongside her son, Andrew, and build a vertically-integrated hemp company that delivers a sustainable business model that meets the needs of their customers, while thriving in a market that is constantly changing.
Annie Rouse is co-founder and COO of OP Innovates, an innovative formulations and sustainable manufacturing company offering improved bioavailability through its patented all natural technology, Naturia+™. OP Innovates offers Naturia+™ in bulk and white label services as well as licensing opportunities. Annie is also the co-founder of the brands Hemp Mellow, Overcome, and Anavii Market. Annie wrote and produced the podcast series, “Anslinger: The untold cannabis conspiracy” and is on the Board of Directors of Friends of Hemp, US Hemp Authority and the Hemp Industries Association. She has an MBA and Master’s in international environmental policy. To explore more about Annie and her journey, visit her blog, Think Hempy Thoughts.
Harley Sherman, the owner of Etz Chaim, has over two decades of experience in the accounting field. As a certified CPA, he has the knowledge and wherewithal to ensure that everything on your financial statements and tax returns will pass scrutiny on both the local, state, and federal level.
As an expert in the Cannabis industry, he can help you with your license application, selection and implementation of appropriate accounting and reporting systems that seamlessly provide meaningful financial and tax information, financial statement preparation, and income tax planning and preparation. One of his main missions is to provide his clients with the knowledge to make informed decisions.
West Town Bank & Trust
Ross Sloan, SVP of Hemp/Cannabis Banking for West Town Bank & Trust. He is a graduate of Davidson College, with a B.A. in History. Ross’ 36 year banking career has included roles in retail banking, business banking, commercial banking and middle market banking. In his current role, he serves hemp and cannabis related businesses throughout the U.S. Ross’ volunteer work includes serving as a charter member of the Cannabis Financial Institutions Group of the National Cannabis Roundtable, president-elect of the Asheville Rotary Club and as a Board Member of the Montreat Conference Center.
Bose McKinney and Evans LLP
Justin Swanson, Principal at Bose Public Affairs Group and Partner at Bose McKinney & Evans, has developed a unique multi-dimensional government affairs practice that leverages his public policy expertise with traditional legal skills to effectively advance the interests of his diverse set of clients. Swanson is also co-founder and President of the Midwest Hemp Council, which is the leading trade organization that is working to build and connect the hemp supply chain in the Midwest.
Midwest CannaNurses™ (MCN)
Keonna Tolbert, LPN is a Detroit, Michigan native and current Licensed Practical Nurse with 8 years of nursing experience who is in pursuit of a degree as a Registered Nurse. Her passion for the Cannabis industry evolved from supporting loved ones dealing with chronic pain to becoming a cannabis nurse consultant that has successfully launched her own CBD brand and Holistic Living Coaching Business – Evolving Wellness. Keonna is excited to be part of the MCN team sharing her passion and knowledge for holistic health and healing by way of herbalism and the use of the cannabis plant.
Tylenda Law PLLC
Essen Atlas Biotechnology Solutions
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Essen Atlas Biotechnology Solutions, Cory VanderZwaag, has 15 years of career and design experience spanning across the business of engineering, agriculture and business development. With a passion for sustainability, his focus is on natural fibers incorporation into a diverse range of industries.
Mr. VanderZwaag leads the mission and guides the vision of Vz-tec LLC, a cannabis equipment and automation company founded in 2019. In addition, he serves as business development manager of Whites Bridge Tooling and Automation. While advocating for the development of USA manufacturer-based fibers, his team of industry professionals are uniquely qualified to provide high level guidance to clients seeking value-added resources to share or enter into the cannabis industry.
Midwest CannaNurses™ (MCN)
American Herbal Products Association
Jane Wilson is the Director of Program Development at the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), a full-service trade association for the herbal products industry. She serves as the staff liaison for the AHPA Cannabis Committee, which was formed in 2010. Jane has over 30 years of experience in consensus standards development, policy development and product certification that she brings to AHPA’s work with the cannabis and hemp industries.
Canadian Industrial Hemp Corporation (CIHC)
Robert is the CEO of CIHC. The company has developed and now has global patent-pending on an AI-driven Smart Factory for hemp stalk decortication. CIHC has redefined the economics of hemp stalk processing by introducing hemp fiber optimization and by introducing the world’s first and only fully-automated quality control system for hemp bast fiber. The Smart Stalk System improves $EBITDA over 600%. Mr. Ziner developed a similar technology for secondary wood processing in the 1990’s in partnership with GE Factory Automation, helping to increase sales over 300% in 4 years.
Americans for Safe Access, Michigan Chapter Chair
She has worked closely with Americans for Safe Access, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and other cannabis organizations since 2000. Today she continues to work to protect patient rights through organizing the ASA, Michigan Chapter. Politically Active for a myriad of social justice issues, she has cultivated positive relationships with community leaders, professionals, legislators, their staff, and other influential policy makers at all levels.