WHAT IS THE CANNABIS FORUM?
BevNET's Cannabis Forum is a conference that provides a discussion pertaining to the business impact of cannabis on the food & beverage industries.
Speakers at Cannabis Forum Summer 2019 included:
Kristi Knoblich Palmer
Co-founder & COO, Kiva Confections
Kristi Knoblich Palmer is cofounder of Kiva Confections, one of the most recognized cannabis companies in California. Kristi is the driving force behind Kiva’s customer service philosophy and has created and applied best practices in sales, distribution and marketing to cannabis operations. Kiva serves the states of CA, AZ, NV, IL, MI and HI with its high-quality edibles, as well as provides category leaders in other verticals through its distribution company, Kiva Sales and Service. Kristi is passionate about creating a healthy regulatory environment for the cannabis industry. She serves as the Board President for CCIA and is a founding Board member of CCMA, two reputable California cannabis trade organizations.
Co-founder, 99th Floor
Chef Miguel has created a buzz leading to many notable publications, food writers and personalities stating, “Filipino Food is the Next Big Thing.” This is a result of Chef Miguel’s championing of the cuisine in New York City. Miguel believes that “food is living art and is constantly evolving” and keeps simplicity and quality as cornerstones of his cooking philosophy. Seeing all the innovations within the marijuana food industry has Miguel excited to bring his cutting edge cooking approach to the marijuana market.
Co-founder, 99th Floor
Over the past 10+ years, Doug Cohen has launched successful lifestyle ventures in the accessories, apparel and agency spaces. The common thread throughout his career has been in translating the needs and wants of the Youth Culture Consumer to larger businesses such as Starbucks, FILA, Viacom, New Balance and Timberland, while developing relationships with the key stakeholders that influence both sides.
Co-Founder, CEO, Chairman, Lighthouse Strategies
Mr. Hayford, initially entered the legal cannabis industry in Oct. 2013 as an investor, which evolved to have Michael oversee the application development, production and submission for Silver State Wellness in June and Las Vegas Releaf in August of 2014. Today Michael serves as CEO and Chairman of Lighthouse Strategies and their (11) subsidiaries and affiliates, inclusive of Las Vegas Releaf and Silver State Wellness, San Diego Releaf Research and Wellness Center, US Coffee & Tea Pod, Cannabiniers, Helm’s Brewing, Co dba Two Roots Brewing, Co and associated companies. Michael is directly responsible for the company’s strategic planning, production innovation, national and global expansion, as well as mergers and acquisitions, to include corporate business development inclusive of joint ventures and like agreements and contracting. Michael Hayford a serial entrepreneur and business development professional who brings 26 years of sales, business development and management experience to Lighthouse. Over the course of his professional career he has held sales, operations, management, and executive management positions for both private and public companies, with annual revenues ranging from $10M to $150M. Hayford’s extensive business development expertise has delivered compounding growth to local, regional and national markets. Hayford has built and lead sales, operations, engineering, construction and project management groups in the capture and execution of multi-million dollar private and government contracts ranging in value from $500k - $50M. As division president Mr. Hayford was responsible for 500+ employees in 10 markets covering CA, NV, TX, BA, PA, NY, NJ, CT, MA and GA.
Chief Knowledge Officer, New Frontier Data
John Kagia is considered to be one the pioneering thought leaders in the cannabis industry. He has developed market leading forecasts for the growth of the industry, uncovered groundbreaking research into the cannabis consumer, and led the first-of-its-kind analysis of global cannabis demand. Kagia is a sought-after speaker and his presentations have been regarded as some of the most thought provoking and rich updates on key trends shaping the industry. He is widely quoted in countless publications (NYT, WaPo, CNN, Fortune, BBC, ABC) and has played an active role in advising lawmakers and regulators looking to establish and regulate cannabis industries. Leveraging his years of experience managing research studies for industry-leading clients including Accenture, Microsoft, The George Washington University, and the U.S. Department of State, Kagia brings a keen understanding of how market insights enable organizations to plan, grow, compete, and measure performance more effectively. Kagia received his MSc. in Marketing with a Market Research focus from Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School. He concurrently studied Japanese at the university’s School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He received an MA in Management from the University of Durham in the United Kingdom, and his B.A., Joint Honors, in Japanese and Management from the University of Leeds also in the UK.
Michael Harlow is a partner and the Co-Practice Director for the DC Metro Tax Practice for CohnReznick. As such, Michael enjoys working with a variety of clients across the Washington region. He has more than 15 years of experience in public accounting serving clients in attestation, accounting, and tax advisory roles Michael has extensive experience across multiple real estate-related industries including homebuilding, land development, residential management, commercial management, and land engineering. He also serves as a practice leader in the firm’s Hospitality Practice where he works with privately-owned hotel and restaurant companies. Most recently, Michael has taken a lead role in the CohnReznick Cannabis Practice, bringing his existing skill set to this emerging industry. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Maryland.
Attorney at Law, Mei & Mark LLP
Larry Sandell is a registered patent attorney with Mei & Mark LLP, based in Washington, DC, and has a decade of experience in Intellectual Property law. Larry has a passion for advising start-ups and other innovative companies—and focuses on food science, cannabis, medical device, consumer electronics, and software technology areas. His legal practice includes drafting and prosecuting patent and trademark applications, counseling clients on strategic IP matters, patent infringement litigation, and arguing federal appeals. He has argued in the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit, the Federal Circuit, and D.C. Circuit. Larry also has fought for marijuana law reform since early 2000s. After graduating from Duke University with an engineering degree and before entering George Washington University Law School, Larry served as Assistant Director of State Policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. He ran a successful ballot initiative signature drive in Nevada in 2004, putting legalization on the 2006 ballot; worked on Nevada’s 2002 ballot initiative campaign; and coordinated medical marijuana lobbying efforts in state legislatures.
Founder & CEO, CAN CAN Cleanse
Teresa is the founder & CEO of CAN CAN Cleanse ~ San Francisco’s seasonal cleanse and juice company and CEO of Plant Magic ~ a new brand of hemp-derived CBD juices. With a background in holistic nutrition, Teresa got her start back in 2010, before cold-pressed juice was “cool”. She has immersed herself in the plant-based beverage industry for almost a decade and has honed her skills in product development and innovation to include almond milks, cold-brew coffee, and savory soup products too. Plant Magic is her next generation juice brand and first foray into the cannabis industry, “I wanted to go beyond cold-press juices to appeal to our clients desires ~ to explore the world of hemp-derived cannabidiol in a thoughtful, low-dose way. Plant Magic is my opportunity to help build out this new beverage category where health beverage and CBD become one. Juice has always been my way of supporting my clients' wellbeing, now I get to innovate with a medicinal plant that benefits the body and mind and that’s exciting!”
Ben Larson is CEO of Nanogen, an advanced active ingredient manufacturer in the emerging cannabis and hemp industry. Calling upon his experience as a serial entrepreneur, investor, and startup adviser, he and the Nanogen team accelerate infused products to market by pairing their vast network of partners and extensive regulatory and testing knowledge with their highly effective and scalable water soluble active ingredients. Ben is an early-stage startup investor and adviser who Co-Founded Gateway, California's first cannabis startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley. Additionally, he is a Director and Mentor for the Founder Institute, where he formerly managed global operations and helped grow the program into over 100 cities around the world. He’s active on several boards inside and out of the cannabis industry and travels the world speaking to audiences of various industries while advising early stage companies across many verticals. Ben was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 by the San Francisco Business Times.
Partner, DLA Piper
Alva C. Mather is a business lawyer and litigator with more than a decade of experience representing clients ranging from startups to Fortune 50 companies. Her areas of concentration include regulatory counseling, commercial contracting, as well as investigatory and litigation support for clients in the food and beverage, particularly alcoholic beverages, cannabis (hemp) and franchise and distribution industries. Alva combines extensive knowledge of the regulatory and litigation landscape and well as her deep understanding of the food and beverage industry to help clients mitigate risk, respond to challenges and capture opportunities. She represents and provides business counsel, regulatory advice and litigation support to companies along the food and beverage spectrum, among them manufacturers, suppliers, grocery stores and restaurants. Alva is nationally recognized for her support of clients in the alcoholic beverages industry and is frequently asked to write and speak on matters affecting this highly regulated industry.
Co-founder & President, Think BIG
Willie Mack is a brand marketing executive, creative director, and photographer with over 20 years of experience in creative and executive leadership in New York City and Los Angeles. He has led teams to execute award-winning marketing campaigns for clients that include Absolut Vodka, Estée Lauder, GQ, Microsoft, Montblanc, Persol, Ray-Ban, TED, the Obama Administration, Vanity Fair, and Wired Magazine. He is also a co-founder of Think BIG, where he serves as the company’s president and leads its executive management and strategic vision. He became involved with the company when CJ Wallace, founder of Think BIG, was his client at Flint Studio. Willie was drawn to the company because he shares CJ’s vision of removing the stigma associated with cannabis use, both for healing and to stimulate creativity. Willie has used cannabis to inspire his creativity for most of his adult life. He credits it with driving his photography and his work on creative campaigns for global brands. Before starting Think BIG, Willie most recently served as Chief Marketing Officer for Starling Brands, Inc. and Jayden’s Juice, a CBD-rich cannabis strain thousands of people worldwide have used to treat symptoms associated with severe epilepsy, anxiety, autism, pain, and cancer in addition to using it for general health and wellness. In 2015, prior to his work with Starling Brands, Willie founded Flint Studio, an LA-based cannabis branding studio. In 2011, he founded Bleecker SP, a boutique creative studio based in LA and NYC. He also served as Head of Marketing for Bionic Yarn, an eco-textile innovation company that spearheads global ocean plastic pollution campaigns.
Chris was enamored by the huge and never ending opportunity that legal cannabis could represent and realized it would offer him a learning experience like no other. In 2014, he and a fellow classmate from Tuck founded botanica, a brand driven cannabis products company that would challenge perceptions of how cannabis and hemp could help consumers live a healthier, happier, and better life. Today the botanica brands are the most widely distributed in the United States and the company is continuing to grow as the market expands. Prior to botanica, Chris founded and ran Phenol55, a state of the art full service wine storage company that blended old world cellar conditions and cutting edge tech to help customers age and catalog their inventory. Prior to that Chris was a SVP at Chilton Investment Company working on their small cap strategy. He holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
CEO, Good Tree Holdings, LLC
Rashaan Everett is the CEO of Good Tree Holdings, LLC, a vertically integrated cannabis startup. Good Tree has earned 7 social equity licenses throughout California, including a 25,000 sq ft microbusiness in Downtown Los Angeles. Good Tree's technology arm is a proprietary point of sale and technology ecosystem that’s powered by Salesforce. The technology automates compliance, accounting, and delivery operations; making it easy for equity partners to operate their own world-class delivery and/or retail business. Good Tree’s Growing Talent Incubator trains social equity partners to become a Good Tree franchise owner via a robust curriculum and hands-on learning opportunities. Good Tree Capital, a financing partner of Good Tree, currently has loans outstanding in 8 states and provides funding to select graduates of the Growing Talent Incubator.
Founding Partner & COO, Big Rock Partners
Joyce leads operations at Big Rock Partners, a strategic advisory firm serving investors and companies at the intersection of food, hospitality and cannabis. Their portfolio includes PharmaCann, Cannacraft, Phylos, Henry’s Original, Kikoko, Sonoma Hills Farm, Garden Society, Sava, and others. She previously founded a boutique artist management firm, and lead business development, licensing and partner integrations for e-commerce start-ups. A long time craft cannabis cultivator, she co-founded of an Emerald Cup winning operation, and served as Co-Chair for Women Grow, Sonoma. She attended Smith College, and lives with her wife and puppy children in San Francisco.
As Editor-in-Chief of BevNET, Jeffrey Klineman oversees the organization's reporting across all of its web sites, as well as BevNET Magazine. Jeffrey is also responsible for developing the content for conferences like BevNET Live and Food and Beverage University (FBU). Jeffrey previously worked as a newspaper reporter for the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, the Boston TAB and the Metrowest Daily News, and has freelanced for publications like Slate, Boston Magazine, Self, George, Commonwealth, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Jeffrey is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. A frequently-cited expert on the beverage industry, Jeffrey has also been named in Forbes as one of the 25 Most Influential Kingmakers in Consumer and Retail Companies. He is still trying to live that one down.
CANNABIS IS EXPECTED TO REACH $25 BILLION BY 2025*
Cannabis, the fast growing industry, expected to reach $25 billion by 2025*, is turning heads and attracting businesses across industries to invest. The food and beverage industry in particular seems to have much to gain, with the opportunity to incorporate the functional ingredient into new products. But there is still much to understand when it comes to cannabis in food and beverage, as regulatory issues are worked out and research is conducted.
*New Frontier Data