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Speaker Spotlight

Here is a sample of some of our speakers for Cannabis Academy. Our speakers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, industries and view points. ComfyTree seeks to promote a diverse curriculum in cannabis academy and does not endorse or favor any particular industry, view, or stance. As a unity brand we seek to make sure that our attendees are equipped with well rounded knowledge. 

Cy Scott - Leafly

Cy Scott is co-founder and head of product at Leafly. Since founding Leafly in 2010, Cy has helped to grow Leafly into the world’s leading cannabis information resource. Leafly’s database of information on thousands of cannabis strains, retailers and dispensaries earns more than 4 million visits every month from medical and recreational cannabis users around the globe. Prior to joining the cannabis industry full-time, Cy served as a product manager and senior software developer at Kelley Blue Book, and also developed mobile games with Flying Tiger Entertainment and Game Square International.Along with his work at Leafly, Cy hosts a monthly Cannabis Tech Meetup for almost 500 cannabis entrepreneurs and technology developers. Cy’s favorite strain is Super Lemon Haze. 

 

MikeAdams - High Times, Contributor

Mike Adams is a freelance journalist hailing from the wildest depths of the armpit of America ­­ Southern Indiana. His work, which ranges in topics from the scourge of the domestic drug war to the legalization of marijuana, is regularly featured in High Times​and Cannabis Now Magazine​. Adams’ writing has also appeared in Playboy​, not to mention been syndicated to over 60 markets across the United States. In addition to his work as a journalist, Adams has published two collections of short stories, as well as made cameo appearances in several independent films.

 

 

Andy Joseph - Apeks Supercritical

Andy Joseph is the President of Apeks Supercritical, an Ohio based manufacturer of fully automated subcritical and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) botanical oil extraction systems. Apeks has been designing and manufacturing botanical oil extraction 

equipment since 2001 and introduced patent pending Valveless Expansion Technology in 2012. Apeks has more than 200 CO2 extraction systems installed in 20 states across the United States and internationally. Andy is a US Navy veteran and earned his BS and MS degrees in Welding Engineering from the Ohio State University.

 

 

Payton Curry - Cannabis Chef

Chef Payton Curry Graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and resides in Arizona. He has been spotted at the High Times Cannabis Cup 

as well as through his workwith marijuanarecipes.com. Known for championing locavore dining, Payton has aligned with various local organizations and causes to bring fresh produce, organic cannabis and farm goods closer to hiskitchen than ever. Together with the Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona and the community, Payton aspires to revolutionize the way people think about marijuana with his signature cooking style and dedication to providing the freshest culinary experience possible with this nutrient rich vegetable.

  

 

 

 

Christopher Hudalla - Proverde Labs Christopher Hudalla received his Ph. D. in analytical chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, specializing in Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy. Chris spent the past 14 years with Waters Corporation where he worked on the design and development of novel chromatographic stationary phases and developed applications to demonstrate and promote their capabilities. He was one of the principal applications chemist in the commercialization of the UltraPerformance Convergence Chromatography (UPC2) System, which utilizes supercritical carbon dioxide as the primary mobile phase for analytical separations. Chris was also the lead scientist in the development of a strategy for scaling Supercritical Fluid Chromatography (SFC) from the analytical to the preparative scale for purification. With his expertise in analytical chemistry, he co-founded ProVerde Laboratories in Milford, Massachusetts, where he is currently the Chief Scientific Officer. ProVerde Laboratories is a full service analytical laboratory utilizing the most current analytical testing methodologies available to provide testing, research and consulting services for the cannabis industry. ProVerde Laboratories also provides liquid carbon dioxide based extraction and purification services with additional formulation capabilities for the design and development of patient/consumer products for the cannabis industry.

 

 

Vanessa West - Metropolitan Wellness Center 

Vanessa West serves as the General Manager in charge of all operations and member care at Metropolitan Wellness Center--A medical Marijuana dispensary located in Washington D.C. She brings a combined total of 8 years dispensary management and retail experience to MWC. Her efforts have contributed to the approval by the Department of Health to open and conduct business as a legal medical cannabis dispensary in Washington D.C.

Before MWC, Vanessa managed both San Diego Medical Collective and Chi Holistic Collective, two leading medical cannabis dispensaries in San Diego, California. While there she acted briefly as a Board Member of the Patient Care Association (the association of medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives in San Diego), helping to organize the first ever held medical marijuana hospitality suite at the 2012 California State Democratic Convention.

Her credentials include certifications in Medical Marijuana Cultivation from Otherside Farms in Orange County, CA., as well as completion of D.C.’s mandatory Medical Marijuana Certification & Training Program administered by Americans for Safe Access. Vanessa holds a BA in Communications from Wilberforce University and completed labor relations undergraduate course work at the City University of New York-Manhattan. Vanessa has been a D.C. resident for 9 years. 

Robert Cappecchi - Marijuana Policy Project

One of four legislative analysts in MPP’s State Policies Department, Robert is the point person for MPP’s legislative work in about a quarter of the various state legislatures. 

He played a major role in the MPP-led effort to remove the criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in Rhode Island while simultaneously redrafting that state’s medical marijuana dispensary system, resulting in a program that Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee allowed to move forward. In addition to Rhode Island, Robert works in concert with legislators, lobbyists, fellow activists, allied organizations, and constituents in the following states: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Robert is a 2008, cum laude graduate of William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was formerly employed by Cook, Hill, Girard Associates, a contract-lobbying firm in St. Paul. Robert has been quoted in various publications including the AP, The Providence Journal, The Providence Phoenix, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Robert has been a guest on C-SPAN’s "The Washington Journal" and Al Jazeera's "The Stream."

 Scott Grepier - Viridian Capital & Research

 

Mr. Greiper is the President and Founding Partner of Viridian Capital & Research. He has had a distinguished 20-year career in the technology, security and IT sectors as both a research analyst and investment banker, and is known as a driver of enterprise value for emerging growth companies. Mr. Greiper is also the President and Founder of Secure Strategy Group, which provides capital, strategic advisory and M&A services to growth companies in the technology, security and IT markets. Previously, Mr. Greiper was a Principal and Senior Analyst at C. E. Unterberg, Towbin, where he covered public companies in the Global Security industry and was consistently ranked as one of the top analysts in the sector. He has been involved in raising more than $400 million for both public and private companies and has completed a range of M&A assignments. Mr. Greiper attended the Executive MBA program at Columbia University and holds a B. A. in Economics from The University of Chicago. He holds FINRA Series 7, 63 and 79 licenses. 

Mike Lewis - Growing Warriors

Michael Lewis served in the “Commander in Chiefs Guard” of the 3rd US Infantry from 1992 to 1995. For the last five years, Michael has worked as a farm and community advocate in support of farmers across the country. An agrarian at heart, he has spent the last three years of his life working to develop scalable local economies centered on local food production. Mike lewis is a proud father, ky farmer and a veteran. A 2013 local food  hero, Michael operates a diversified family farm, Healing Ground, at the foothills of the Appalachian mountains with his brother and family. Having worked nationally as a food security specialist and advocate  become his passion.

 

Cher Neufer - Ohio NORML

Founder of Ohio NORML 2001; Current Treasurer & Chapter Coordinator, Ohio NORML; member of Drug Policy Alliance, Libertarian Party; BS/Ed 1974; MSEd, 1978; Teacher 1974 – 1980. Senior Programmer/Analyst 1981 – 2010. Multiple news interviews, including the NY Times

 

 

 

Karson Humiston - Gradujuana 

Karson is the founder of Gradujuana. Gradujuana was created to connect, educate and provide young professionals the tools they need to succeed in the cannabis industry. This is where Gradujuana’s education programs such as cannabis career courses, career fairs, career tours, campus speakers and other networking events come into play. Karson, age twenty­ two and recent graduate from St. Lawrence University, has always enjoyed helping others succeed. Gradujuana allows Karson to help businesses grow and help young professionals start careers in an area where potential for growth is unlimited. Karson plans to help every existing company and every future company in the industry find rock star employees.

Pritesh Kumar - Cannabinoid Research Scientist

Pritesh's current research focuses on the integration of computer modeling and pharmacological testing of compounds to identify novel leads for the G Protein-Coupled cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, which have been shown to regulate a broad spectrum of physiological conditions from regulating appetite to pain. Pritesh started as a Laboratory Technician at Heartland Sweeteners, LLC. where he ensured purity among various commercially available sugar products. From there he worked at the University of Kentucky's Department of Biochemistry as a Laboratory Technician focusing on quality control. From there Pritesh moved over to the Department of Nutritional Biochemistry as a Research Assistant where he investigated the role nutrition plays in preventing vascular toxicity induced by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). For the last four years he has been working with the University of Louisville focusing on pharmacology and toxicology. Pritesh is best know for his publication in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications where he worked on the Identification of Raloxifene as a Novel CB2 Inverse Agonist


ER Beach - Hemptations

Beach grew up on a small farm in Kentucky and currently resides in Cincinnati.  He attended Heidelberg University in Tiffin, OH, where he played basketball and earned a degree in communications. While there he was the News Director for the college TV station and the Station Manager for the radio station, winning the Distinguished Service Award for both. During his time at Heidelberg, he began his research on industrial hemp. Shortly thereafter, Beach established his first hemp business, Hemptations, in 1995 at the age of 25. Hemptations, which has two brick and mortar locations, and has an ever growing inventory online, now boasts the largest selection of hemp goods on the planet. He also currently manufactures hemp goods under the name Planet EveryWear out of Cincinnati. Beach promotes the idea any land could be used to sustain humans and the planet, equally. From cleaning the soil to feeding the neighborhood and everything in between, hemp is an environmentally friendly solution and one of the greatest natural resources available and he continues to work to bring it back to American soil.

Joe Brown - Michigan Hemp Company

Joe Brown, founded Michigan’s first industrial hemp company in 2009, creating a non-psychotropic cannabis health and wellness product line that he originally developed for his own personal health needs.

Mr. Brown developed his proprietary non-psychotropic industrial hemp products to deliver the same health and wellness benefits associated with medical marijuana, without the side effect of getting high.

Joe designed a product line that utilizes the non-psychotropic compounds of the cannabis plant with the idea that mainstream America’s demand for natural homeopathic health alternatives could now be met with his industrial hemp products. Mr. Brown developed the Yellow Emperor product line after a multitude of health problems that left him addicted to doctor-prescribed narcotics after 10 years of sobriety. He believes that his products are a safe natural alternative to addictive narcotics.

Joe Brown is the founder and CEO of North American Hemp Company, the parent company of several industrial hemp companies ranging from Michigan Hemp Company, who distributes hemp health and wellness products, to Grand Rapids Compounding and Recycling, who researches and develops industrial hemp products such as hempcrete, and in the near future, hemp ethanol bio diesel.

Senator Perry Clark - Kentucky 

 Senator Clark has sponsored a bill to legalize full plant medical marijuana in Kentucky. He advocates for natural and compassionate access to medicine. He believes it is important not to compromise on having cannabis oil only legislation.

Democratic State Senator Perry Clark was born and raised in the South End, and served in the U.S Navy after graduating from DeSales High School. Perry and his wife, Sheila, have two children: A son, Martin, a Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, who is married to Layla, and a daughter, Angela, a senior at the University of Louisville.

Following the example of his father, retired Representative, Paul Clark, Perry served the 37th Legislative District as State Representative from 1996 until 2006. He has faithfully served the 37th Senate District since then. He is active in the community, working closely with the Boy Scouts of America as a merit badge counselor, and with area neighborhood associations and Democrat clubs.

Scott Levy, CPA- Levy & Levy CPA's

Scott Levy is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the State of Arizona. A graduate of Boston University and Florida International University, he has worked for national accounting firms in Florida and Texas, before becoming a co-founder of Levy & Levy CPAs PC in 2009. Scott currently consults with medical and recreational cannabis businesses in several states, and represents them before the IRS and various state agencies. As a result, he has gained significant experience with the issues surrounding IRC Section 280E and its effects on these businesses. 
 
Scott currently speaks at events nationwide on the topics of cannabis accounting, taxes, and financial issues related to the legal cannabis industry. His firm is proud to offer a wide range of services to the industry, including business plan creation, corporate structuring and entity selection, tax preparation and consulting, financial consulting, general accounting services, and more.
 

 

Michael "Brice" Keller - Criminal Defense Attorney/Political Consultant- Keller Law, LLC & Green Fight

 

Brice is an Air Force veteran, Former Police Officer and Criminal Defense Attorney. He has been working on Marijuana Reform for approx. 2 years with NORML, LEAP and other activist groups as well as running the GreenFight Activist Network. GreenFight is an activist network linking members with industry resources, activism groups and a platform for sharing reform ideas and information. GreenFight LLC runs daily operations and is in the beginning stages of GreenFight PAC. GreenFight PAC is run at the discretion of the GreenFight Advisory Board. The GreenFight Advisory Board is a group of industry and activism leaders dedicated to expanding marijuana and hemp consumer rights. They also advocate for Social Justice issues, Medical Access and Business expansion/Protection.

 

James Bo Keyes - 

Marijuana Advancement Standardization Systems (MASS), dedicated quality assurance professional focused on the sustainable growth of the cannabis industry through standard creation and quality management system implementation. Mr. Keyes is the founder of Marijuana Advancement Standardization Systems (MASS). MASS is The Standards & Certification Company for the Cannabis I Industry: with a robust standard creation committee of expert quality management professionals, cannabis industry professionals benchmarking committee, and world renowned cannabis manufacturers for the MASS Pilot Program, MASS is the world’s first  organization dedicated to creating accredited third party quality assurance standards for  the cannabis seed to sale process. Mr. Keyes was featured as an Industry Thought  Leader on the Cannabis Financial Networks exclusive Though Leader Series in 2014 for his innovation of creating quality management standards for the cannabis supply chain.


David DeGraff-The Grow School is currently the CEO of The Grow School, Denver Colorado and the lead instructor for the ComfyTree Grow School. He has been with The Grow School since it’s formation in 2009. David holds certification in "Cannabis (Marijauana) for Medical Use” that is accepted by the Board of Nursing in all 50 states and all US territories. He is an honorably discharged Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and holds both letters of Commendation and Appreciation for his military service. David has over 27 years of experience growing cannabis, including 7 years while living in Holland and France, as well as 7 years of experience growing as a Licensed Colorado Medical Marijuana patient and caregiver. He is also head of Instructor Training at The Grow School, and in his off time serves as President of the Board of Directors of newly forming Colorado Museum of Cannabis and Hemp History in Denver. David got his official start in the Colorado Cannabis Industry in 2008 as the founder of “The Colorado Kindness Association” (CKA). Addressing the fact that there were no licensed dispensaries at this time in Colorado, he and the CKA solicited and donated free cannabis to terminally ill Colorado Medical Marijuana patients. 

 
 
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