Not too long ago the Delta 9 team ventured uptown from our Manhattan HQ to the latest installment of Cannabis IB Viridian Capital's Viridian Cannabis Investment Series; the focus of this latest edition was "Diversity in the Cannabis Industry".
While the concept of "diversity" can be traced back to JFK's Presidential Order 10925 in 1961, 50-odd years of attempts towards greater inclusion still resulted in some disappointing statistics as of December 2016; the American workplace has more to achieve before it can truly be described as a level playing field for everyone. And surprising as it may be, the forward-thinking Cannabis Industry is in need of just as much help in achieving President Kennedy's lofty goals.
So the event was just as timely as ever.
Some of our takeaways included:
Viridian CEO and moderator Scott Greiper on the overall importance and surprising lack of diversity within canna-business ownership generally.
Talk show great and Lenitiv Labs founder Montel Williams, who relies on MMJ to alleviate the painful symptoms of his MS and has been an unfortunate but willing legal trendsetter, admonished investors to "remember the patient in your dealings - that's who should come first".
DigiPath COO Todd Denkin emphasized the importance of industry standardization of testing (specifically focusing on redefining strain nomenclature and authentication), because "Knowing which products a patient is buying should not be a guessing game.".
Women Abuv Ground founder Bonita "Bo" Money stressed the importance of bringing valuable outside skill sets into the cannabis industry; "They're just as relevant and useful here.".
MaryJane Marketing President Dasheeda Dawson won the day's internet, eloquently pointing out the missed opportunity for women-centered product; "I want to dab like a lady".
Golden Leaf Holdings CEO Don Robinson, on bringing a "big food" approach to the business and pointing out "We need the prices in the white market to be lower than in the black market.".
11 Season NFL veteran and Superbowl XXXIII champ Marvin Washington and former Colorado State running back (now canna-business entrepreneur) Treyous Jarrells on the the huge potential market in professional sports that will remain untapped until the stigma is gone - to the detriment of player health.
Equity Rock VP Eric Logan on how the the War on Drugs has set back people of color from entering the cannabis realm, pointing out that while 70-80% of cannabis arrests are in communities of color, only 1% of canna-businesses are owned by people of color, possibly because of distrust in the justice system.
All told, a tremendously informative panel. Kudos to Scott Greiper and his team for putting together a solid, useful, engaging event; we look forward to the next one.
Slideshow with a full speaker list below
Moderator & Host
Scott Greiper, President and Founder of Viridian Capital Advisors
Montel Williams, Talk show host, motivational speaker, Marine & Navy veteran, MMJ advocate, founder of LenitivLabs
Todd Denkin, Founder & CEO - Digipath
Dawn Sandoval, COO - Kalyx Development, Inc.
Don Robinson, CEO - Golden Leaf Holdings
Ali Ahmadian, CEO of Heliospectra AB
Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, CEO & Founder of New Frontier Data
Eric Logan, VP of Business Development for Equity Rock, Inc.
Ruben Honig, Executive Director of Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force
Women in Cannabis Panel
Gia Morón, Public Relations Director for Women GROW
Larisa Bolivar, Executive Director of the Cannabis Consumers Coalition
Dasheeda Dawson, President of MaryJane Marketing
Kristin Jordan, Executive Director of the Cannabis Cultural Association
April Walker, CEO of Walker Wear
Bonita "Bo" Money, Founder of Women Abuv Ground, Creator of That Glass Jar
Venture Capital Panel
Jeffrey Finkle, Chairman of the Evaluation Committee of ARC Angel Fund
Scott Rosenblatt, Partner at Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt
Kevin Provost, Co Founder of Greenhouse Ventures
Sports and Cannabis Panel
Marvin Washington, 11 season NFL veteran & Super Bowl XXXIII Champion
Treyous Jarrells, former running back for Colorado State University
Dan Ogden is a 20+ year veteran of the executive search industry, having covered operations, regulatory and consulting verticals within capital markets as well as data science, data analytics and, more recently, the cannabis industry within search firm and internal corporate HR leadership roles. Dan is Principal of the practice at Delta 9 Search.
Aleks Novikova is Research Lead at Delta 9 Search, the only dedicated cannabis industry executive search firm in the Western Hemisphere, and has been with the company since the get-go, working directly on its marketing and recruiting efforts.
To find out how Delta 9 can help your company identify and attract the key executives it needs to thrive and grow in the cannabis industry, shoot us an email or give us a ring at 212.390.8190.