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.
As I blogged yesterday, California regulators made the wise decision in its final rules to allow cannabis retailers to make deliveries into cities and counties that have banned regulated businesses. Allowing deliveries across the state is the compassionate and practical choice to make. It is compassionate because patients with mobility issues shouldn’t be forced to...
The California cannabis industry has had its share of ups and downs as regulating cannabis commerce in the world’s sixth-largest economy has proven to be rather difficult and complicated. However, some relief may be on the horizon as licensed businesses, and those about to be licensed, can at least have some certainty in the rules and...
William Barr, Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next Attorney General of the United States, has already faced a barrage of questions regarding some very controversial topics. Barr’s past support for draconian criminal justice policies is now out-of-step with a majority of Democrats and Republicans while Democrats are pressing Barr on his positions regarding the...
Matteo Mantero, an Italian senator, has introduced a bill to legalize the cultivation, processing and sale of cannabis and its derivatives in Italy. The consumption of cannabis (in particular low THC CBD) which is called “Cannabis Light,” has begun to catch on here. Italy’s cannabis laws are confusing – and not just for foreigners. The...
Historically, older Americans have been the most skeptical demographic regarding cannabis legalization. While younger voters are still more likely to support ending prohibition, the times they are a-changin’ as senior citizens are more likely than ever to support legal cannabis and use the substance medicinally. A couple of senior citizens clubs in California are living examples...