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.
Oregon cannabis businesses producing more marijuana consumers purchase continues to make headlines and the so-called “oversupply problem” has drawn the ire of Billy Williams, the United States Attorney for Oregon. Williams released a memo detailing his law enforcement priorities for cannabis in Oregon after Attorney General Jeff Sessions repealed the Obama administration’s enforcement policy that...
For years, cannabis legalization activists heard stories about how Big Tobacco companies were poised to sell marijuana as they already had the infrastructure to cultivate the plant and package pre-rolls on a massive scale. After reformers had success in the 1970s decriminalizing personal use, some American tobacco execs did their due diligence to research the possibility...
It’s no secret what Jeff Sessions thinks about cannabis. Donald Trump’s “beleaguered” Attorney General famously once uttered that, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” after all. While the AG’s boss has apparently cut a deal with Republican Senator Cory Gardner to support states’ rights to end cannabis prohibition, Sessions has previously rescinded the Obama Administration’s hands-off-state-regulated-cannabis...
As the Canadian government is set to implement the rules for cannabis commerce in the coming months, companies are doing all they can to prepare. We have seen dramatic consolidation within the industry, and top producers are gearing up to meet the demands of the Canadian cannabis community, tourists, and patients in nations that import...
There are many great opportunities for entrepreneurs in the multi-billion-dollar Canadian cannabis industry, but the realities of legal commerce mandate that businesses maintain sufficient capital resources to effectively overcome the initial barriers to entry, startup costs, and regulatory hurdles of a highly regulated system. The burgeoning cannabis industry is also a very attractive market that pulls...
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