Brendan Kennedy is a founder and CEO of Privateer Holdings, the first private equity firm to invest exclusively in cannabis. Since 2010, Privateer has raised $82 million to launch, develop, and grow a portfolio of leading cannabis brands including Leafly (the world's largest cannabis information resource), Tilray (exceptional medical cannabis), and Marley Natural (the official Bob Marley cannabis brand).
Privateer and its subsidiaries employ a diverse group of more than 250 professionals in over five U.S. states and across multiple continents. From securing the first institutional investor in cannabis (Founders' Fund) to running the first full-page ad for a cannabis company in the New York Times, Privateer is a proud company of firsts. A recognized thought leader, Brendan is frequently asked to speak about the state of the cannabis industry in publications like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg Businessweek, and at events like SXSW, Web Summit, TechCrunch Disrupt, and Collision.
CALIFORNIA STATE CANNABIS CZAR
Lori Ajax was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation on February 4, 2016. She was previously Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) where she had served in multiple positions since 1998, including Deputy Division Chief, District Administrator and Supervising Investigator. As Deputy Division Chief, assigned to the Department's Headquarters Office, she oversaw several statewide programs. She began her career as an Investigator in ABC's Santa Rosa District office in 1995 and then transferred to Sacramento to work in the Trade Enforcement Unit where she promoted to Supervising Investigator. In 2006, she was promoted to District Administrator assigned to the ABC Grant Assistance Program (GAP) and the TRACE Unit. She then served as the District Administrator for ABC's Sacramento, Yuba City and Redding District offices from 2007 through 2011, overseeing the licensing and enforcement operations of 20 counties in Northern California. Ms. Ajax also served as an Investigator at the California Fair Political Practices Commission from 1997 to 1998. Ms. Ajax spent 10 years in private industry prior to her State government career. She holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from California State University, Sacramento. She is a member of the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association and the St. Sava Mission Foundation.
REPUBLICAN U.S. CONGRESSMAN
Currently serving his 13th term in Congress, Dana Rohrabacher represents California's scenic 48th District. An Orange County Republican with a libertarian bent, Representative Rohrabacher is one of the leading cannabis law reformers in Congress. As a speech writer for former President Ronald Reagan, Rohrabacher penned the famous line ``Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall`` in Berlin, Germany. A firm voice for freedom and liberty, Representative Rohrabacher works today to bring down harmful and failed cannabis policies.
As co-founder of the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Representative Rohrabacher has recently sponsored the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, which would protect all state cannabis laws from federal interference, and co-sponsored the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, a bill that would revert cannabis laws completely to the states.
Perhaps the most iconic name in all of cannabis, Tommy Chong is best known for his role in the classic Cheech & Chong movies that set the stage for the future of cannabis comedy. A tireless cannabis activist, Tommy Chong has continued his career in the cannabis industry to this day, and is now leading a well-branded line of cannabis products called Chong's Choice.
When the International Cannabis Business Conference teamed up with CannaTrade and made its first visit to Zurich this year, it was evident that Switzerland’s experience legalizing cannabis, albeit with a 1% THC limit, has been a success. The innovative country legalized cannabis with limited amounts of THC in 2011 and decriminalized possession soon thereafter, and...
Health Canada recently released its final regulations regarding the sale of cannabis-infused edibles, extracts, and concentrates, finally starting to open an expected $2.7 billion dollar business sector this December. Of course, the International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver this September 15-16 will have the latest crucial information and tips for industry participants. Prioritizing public safety,...
When a major milestone is met, there were many small and big steps along the way that helped forge that path forward, and cannabis policy reforms are certainly no different. When Canada shook the world by becoming the first G7 nation to legalize cannabis commerce, it took a virtual army of advocates to put in...
Various localities’ ability to become “laboratories of democracy” (to an extent) and implement their own laws is a rather unique and interesting concept not employed by all nations. In the United States, states moving forward with their own cannabis laws have been a driving force to change public opinion and create momentum for federal policy...
England has rarely been invaded by anyone or anything. In fact the last invasion of note happened in 1066 (see William the Conqueror). However when it comes to cannabis, no place is immune to the growing awareness that the great Prohibition of the last 100 years is finally coming to an end. Cannabis has gone...
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