Regulatory Advisory Board
The Task Force
We believe that the people of Los Angeles should have a voice in the development of a cannabis industry that welcomes equal opportunity, creates jobs, collects taxes, and decreases crime, particularly in lower economic neighborhoods that have traditionally borne the brunt of the war against drugs.
The Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force is the only group in the City and one of the only groups in the County of Los Angeles that stands for an inclusive cannabis industry that is in line with state law. This is our ONLY agenda. We need YOUR support.
Ariel Clark is a founding partner of Clark Neubert LLP, a leading law firm in the California and national cannabis industry. Her clients include licensed dispensaries, growers, and manufacturers in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan. Ariel earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is an active member of the California State Bar and Venice Chamber of Commerce, Board Member for California NORML, Founder of Elevate LA (a Los Angeles cannabis industry based nonprofit), member of and policy advisor to California Growers Association, and member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Beverly Hills Bar Association.
Ruben Honig, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, is a business owner and advocate working to ensure the City of Los Angeles creates a fair and equitable cannabis licensing system. Ruben is a founder and principal at Ceres Strategies consultancy, and a recognized leader in the Los Angeles cannabis industry. At Ceres Strategies, Ruben specializes in local licensing, and governmental affairs throughout the state of California. A Massachusetts native and medical cannabis patient, Ruben previously operated a successful national copywriting business and spent 3 years in sports and brand management. Ruben holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Emory University.
Avis has been effectively serving his clientele for over a decade now, and holds one of the highest success rates nationwide for obtaining Cannabis State Licenses in the industry. Highlights include securing the highest score in Massachusetts and being the only company to win the maximum 3 out of 3 state licenses. As CEO of SIVA Enterprises - A full service business development firm, focusing on Consulting, Management, Investments, Insurance and Brands; he leads a team who collectively provide all SIVA clients with the highest level of support from concept to exit and beyond. He is the Education Chair for Cannabis Legal Accounting Law (CLAB) He remains one of the most sought after speakers in the industry, and frequently speaks at conferences such as: the Annual MJ Business Conference in Las Vegas, The Cannabis Business Congress Expo in New York, The Cannabis World Congress Expo in Los Angeles and The Cannabis Experts Conference in Pennsylvania as well as for both the California and National Cannabis Industry Association. He is a valued expert resource for many national news sources and publications
Director of Strategy
As the founder and CEO of Purple Heart Patient Center in Oakland, CA, Keith Stephenson not only is the first African American in the country to run a legally licensed and permitted medical cannabis dispensary, he also can point with pride to the fact that 11 years later, Purple Heart has operated longer than any other licensed dispensary in Oakland. It is one of the only dispensaries to establish stringent lab testing, with standards that exceed Washington and Oregon’s. These standards, in fact, have become the model for several California municipalities. His operational expertise, including 17 years with United Airlines and more than 30 years in the cannabis space, has led to the California State legislature to recognize his as a subject-matter expert, and to his recent appointment to the California Cannabis Commission Advisory Panel. Under the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), this 22-person committee will advise the BCC and other licensing authorities on regulations protecting consumer health and safety. A long-time community activist and two-term veteran of Oakland’s Measure Z Committee, which crafted the basic direction of Proposition 19, he taught Dispensary Management and Operations at Oaksterdam University, and, partnering with the Oakland and San Francisco Police Departments, successfully funded the largest gun buyback in California.
Elizabeth Ashford helps organizations, businesses, and individuals execute smart strategies to impact government officials, the public and the press. A fourth-generation Californian, Elizabeth served as then-Attorney General Kamala Harris’ Chief of Staff (2013-2015), Governor Jerry Brown’s Chief Deputy Press Secretary (2011-2013), and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Chief Deputy for Cabinet and Communications (2006-2008). Elizabeth has worked closely with elected officials and law enforcement across the state on issues including transportation, agriculture, public safety and coordination between state and local governments. She also has extensive experience in the private sector, having served as a senior corporate communications advisor for public and private companies in the U.S. and London, including Activision Blizzard, BP and Kraft. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a master’s degree from Columbia University.
Michael Chernis is the founding member of Chernis Law Group, P.C., located in Santa Monica, California. Mr. Chernis received his juris doctorate from Fordham University School of Law, where he was a member of the Fordham Law Review, and graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A. in Political Science. The California medical marijuana laws are a key area of focus for Mr. Chernis, who has represented clients in all areas of the California medical marijuana industry, including collectives, storefront and mobile dispensaries, cultivators, extractors, oil manufacturers, infused product producers, medical marijuana patients and doctors, landlords, and others seeking to do business with such collectives, as well as individuals and businesses in civil litigation with municipalities arising from such activities. Mr. Chernis also represents individuals and businesses in federal criminal matters and those charged with violating state medical marijuana laws.
Regulatory Advisory Board
Nicole Howell Neubert
A trusted counselor and relentless advocate, Nicole Howell Neubert serves as outside general counsel to the cannabis field, providing advice on corporate and business matters, entity formation and operation, local and state regulatory permitting and compliance, and business litigation. Her clients are among both the veterans and new leaders of the burgeoning medical and adult-use cannabis industries. Nicole is actively involved on a state and local level in the legislative and regulatory efforts toward implementation of medical and adult-use regulation in California, and regularly speaks and teaches on these topics. Notably, in 2016, the California State Treasurer, John Chiang, invited Nicole to serve on a 16-member statewide Cannabis Banking Working Group. Since 2012, Nicole has been named annually as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine and recognized for several years running as an “Attorney to Watch” by Chambers and Partners USA. She serves on the Board of California NORML, as Policy Committee leadership for California Growers Association, and is actively involved in other industry-related organizations, including the California Cannabis Industry Association and the National Cannabis Bar Association.
Cameron has built a strong reputation in the cannabis industry for being an innovative, energetic, and laser focused professional. As the President and Co-Founder of Cura, Cameron utilizes his unique skill set to lead the charge in product innovation and design, supply chain management, and strategic sales development. In addition, Cameron’s eye for detail has groomed the current company landscape to incorporate robust safety and compliance standards as well as facility design planning and operating procedure implementation. As a recognized expert in best manufacturing practices in the cannabis industry, Cameron’s experience and passion helped shape the current Cura business model as well as provided extensive insight to the industry pioneers, local regulatory bodies, and others interested in this burgeoning industry. Cameron has also helped shape public policy and future regulations in Oregon, Nevada, and California.
Matt D. Cook
Matt D. Cook is the architect of Colorado’s Medical Marijuana laws and rules, which are now utilized by other governmental entities throughout the United States. Matt has written numerous publications pertaining to Colorado liquor law and Cannabis Regulation and he has assisted many local state and federal officials throughout the United States with cannabis/hemp statutes and rules, including the United States Congress. His career began in the United States Air Force in 1976 and regulatory law enforcement in 1982 with the City of Colorado Springs as an enforcement officer. In 1991, Matt moved to the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division where he managed licensing, complex investigations, retail enforcement, legislation, rule making and local authority training for the Division. Matt was Vice President of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators (NCSLA) and an active Joint Committee of the States member for more than 14 years. He was appointed Director of the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division in 2003 where he remained until retiring in February, 2007. Matt returned to State Government in July, 2007, when he was appointed as the Senior Director of Enforcement. Matt now owns and operates a national regulatory consulting business - Cook Consulting LLC.
Dorian A. Des Lauriers
Dorian Des Lauriers is the Founder and CEO of ProVerde Laboratories, Inc. an ISO 17025-2005 Accredited Laboratory that specializes in testing, extraction, and formulation including the separation and purification of cannabinoids for the domestic cannabis and international hemp markets. ProVerde Labs has worked with several jurisdictions in creating testing and sampling regulations and is also very active on the standards committee of several organizations working towards establishing better testing and sampling methods. As the market was developing in Massachusetts, Mr. Des Lauriers was instrumental in the establishment of mandatory testing standards. Dorian is a graduate of Ripon College with a BA in Economics and has also held numerous board positions for a variety of non-profit organizations from Chairman of the Board of a regional Chamber of Commerce, Founding Director of the 495 Corridor Commission, Ripon College Trustee, President of the Alumni Association of Ripon College, Kennedy-Donovan Center for Disadvantaged Children and Families, MetroWest Economic Research Center and also held numerous municipal and civic seats.
Lance Ott, CEO of Guardian Data Systems and former Director of National Bank of California, is a 16-year veteran of the cannabis, banking and financial services industries with additional expertise in FinTech, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), merchant services, operations, compliance and consulting. Lance is also a Certified Payments Professional “CPP” through the Electronic Transactions Association. Lance founded Guardian Data Systems in 2008 with the specific intent of providing secure, reliable and transparent financial services for our cannabis community. Lance is a cancer survivor and fierce advocate of alternative medicine, including medicinal cannabis. Last year, Mr. Ott was ranked #38 in the top 100 most influential cannabis business executives by Cannabis Business Executive. Lance has demonstrated the courage of his convictions by fashioning a network infrastructure of cannabis friendly banks, institutions, processors and technology providers in order to provide the cannabis industry with a safe, legitimate venue for all commerce related and logistical challenges they may encounter. Lance is currently serving his second term on the Board of Directors for the National Cannabis Industry Association and has served as a member of the ethics subcommittee.
Gregory F. Daniel
Gregory F. Daniel, MD, MBA, is founder and former President and CEO of The Exigence Group (“Exigence”,) now a Division of TeamHealth. Dr. Daniel was responsible for all aspects of the businesses, including financial solvency, physician relations, revenue generation, marketing, corporate development, and shareholder and client relations. In addition to more than 22 years of experience as an emergency medicine physician, he also has a keen business sense fostered with both real-life experience and an MBA degree. It is the combination of those skills that built the successful model that continues to propel the growth of his former and current companies nationally. Dr. Daniel was one of the first area medical practitioners to offer the advantages of delivering low-acuity patient care within an easily accessible, alternative comfortable setting. Business First Buffalo named Dr. Daniel to the 2010 Healthcare 50 list and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership also honored Exigence and Dr. Daniel with their New Minority Business of the Year Award in 2006. He served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, retiring at the rank of Major. He presently manages a Health Related Real Estate portfolio valued at over $40 million with new projects under development in Buffalo and Atlanta.
Jim Gonzalez is a public policy consultant and political strategist for elected and appointed policymakers, private sector leaders, international companies, and nonprofit organizations. He has managed California statewide citizen ballot initiatives on drug reform (Propositions 215 and 36), expanding mental health services (Proposition 63), renewable energy (Proposition 7), and was a senior adviser on health insurance reform (Proposition 45). He is a former San Francisco Supervisor and serves on the National Board of Advisors for the UC Davis Health System. Jim Gonzalez is a founding member of Cien Amigos- Working for California and Mexico. He is a recipient of the Mexican Government’s highest honor, The Ohtli Award (Trailblazer Award), bestowed on an individual for outstanding service to Mexican origin communities in the United States. Jim holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco, a Bachelor's Degree in Government from Saint Mary’s College of California, and was a Kellogg Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Evan Eneman is a founder and Managing Director of Casa Verde Capital, a pioneering venture capital firm that makes seed and growth-stage venture capital investments in innovative, high-growth, and market leading companies in targeted industries. Prior to Casa Verde Capital, Evan spent 11 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers, advising Fortune 100 and emerging growth companies on enterprise and IT risk management, data security and privacy, regulatory compliance, process improvement, and internal controls. Evan received his Bachelors of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania with a specialization in Finance and Operations, and Information Management.
Jennifer Gentile is the Chief Marketing Officer and owner of SpeedWeed, California’s largest marijuana delivery service. Prior to the establishment of SpeedWeed, Jennifer spent over a decade producing multi-million dollar commercials, direct response advertising, and documentaries. She has produced projects for well-known brands such as AARP, Discovery Channel, ProFlowers and Animal Planet, Warner Brothers, BET, TrueTV, and Warner Herzog. An experienced actress, Jennifer has also guest starred on major television programs including The Shield, NCIS, Boston Legal, and ER. She is a First 50 Founding Sponsor of Women Grow – a national organization that spotlights leading Female Cannabis Entrepreneurs and is a dual-major Summa Cum Laude graduate of Kansas Weslyan University.
For over 25 years, Mr. Shevin’s legal practice has focused exclusively in the area of criminal law and cannabis law, defending clients in State and Federal courts across the nation. Mr. Shevin also provides counsel to lawful cannabis cultivators, processors, distributors, dispensary and delivery outlets on issues involving legal structure, business formation, tax reporting and compliant business operations. Mr. Shevin’s client list includes cannabis industry leaders in all aspects of the cannabis industry. Mr. Shevin also assists clients with brand development, trademark and marketing solutions. Through his extensive experience, Mr. Shevin possesses advanced knowledge of the laws pertaining to the cannabis regulatory landscape and providing guidance to business groups in the emerging cannabis industry. Throughout his career, Mr. Shevin has been an advocate for sensible marijuana regulations and has taught courses in cannabis law and policy to Judges and Lawyers throughout the country.
Kenny has been a leader in medical marijuana since 2008 when he co-founded Venice Cookie Company, one of California’s longest-standing infused products manufacturers. Kenny currently serves on the board of directors of the California Cannabis Industry Association, California Growers Association, and is a committee member of FOCUS: the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards. Kenny is a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, Americans for Safe Access, and is frequently a featured speaker at industry events and conferences.
Angel Teger is a cannabis patient, activist, entrepreneur and chef. A long-time Los Angeles resident, Angel is the founder of Ruby Doobie - Exquisite Cannabis Edibles, which provides select California Medical Marijuana dispensaries with cannabis-infused baked goods. Before transitioning to the cannabis industry in 2009, Angel spent many years in the food business, co-founding two restaurants in Santa Monica and Venice. As an executive, she has experience in law office management for multiple law firms and was the Chief of Staff to the CEO at the X PRIZE Foundation. Angel is active in the urban gardening movement by volunteering her time to help run non-profits, including Brian’s Orchard Youth Alliance and LA Green Grounds. She has countless years of experience in all levels of organization and activism and is now focused on providing equal access to all medical marijuana patients and operators.
In the midst of a successful career in the business world, Chef Andrea Drummer realized that she could no longer ignore her passion for cooking. She left corporate America to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating, she has worked for Michelin starred chefs and renowned restaurateurs such as Neal Fraser and Thomas Keller. She was also the chef for the Executive Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles. She now owns a unique California based cannabis cooperative, Elevation VIP, that was recently featured on the Chelsea Handler Netflix docu-series, Chelsea Does. Chef Drummer recently won a cannabis cooking competition at the Culinary and Cannabis Expo and continues to be a staunch advocate for the cannabis community.
Austin Hice is the founder and CEO of California cannabis company Breez Mints. Austin comes to the cannabis industry with more than 12 years of experience as an entrepreneur in technology and entertainment. Most recently, he created Avenues, a mobile platform that helps small and medium-sized independent businesses in Los Angeles compete against mega-chains. Prior to starting his own companies, Austin led digital production and marketing campaigns for Target, Toyota, City National Bank, EA, LucasArts, Xerox, The New York City Opera, The LA Opera, Whole Foods, and dozens more.
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