Jesce Horton

Founder, MCBA

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Jesce Horton is the owner of Panacea Valley Gardens, a medical cannabis cultivation center and co-founder of Panacea, an award-winning dispensary in Portland, OR. He is also the co-founder and Chairman of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), the first non-profit organization founded to create equal access and economic empowerment for cannabis businesses, their patients, and the communities most affected by the war on drugs

Currently, Jesce is developing Saints Cannabis, a vertically-integrated cannabis campus that will house adult-use (recreational) retail, cannabis lounge, indoor and greenhouse cultivation, processing and R&D; operations all on one flagship property in Portland, OR. He sits on numerous state and city appointed committees that oversee rules and regulations shaping the Oregon cannabis industry. Jesce has received recognition from Marijuana Business Magazine, Willamette Weekly, DOPE magazine and High Times magazine for local and national contributions.

Joe Meyer

Account Manager NCC Group

Joe has over 16 years of experience working in the information technology arena. His experience expands across multiple industries including retail, healthcare, finance/banking, pharmaceutical, education, and government. 
Joe is a current and active member of the Technical Advisory Service for Attorneys (TASA) and was a key note speaker at the NYC Law Summit on Healthcare Law.  In addition, Joe is a panelist for the HHS/ NIST Healthcare Summit.  Mr. Meyer is also a recipient of the 2014 Security Insiders Blogger of the Year for his work on Biometric security, and formalizing secure coding training.

Joe’s skills are utilized to develop and lead multiple service disciplines and offerings, and for ensuring the quality and timeliness of Consulting services. Joe also provides subject matter expertise to help clients align their security goals with regulatory and industry standards, to include ISO 27001/2, HIPAA/HITECH, PCI DSS, FISMA, FIPS, and SOX.

Josh Godaire

Josh Godaire (pronounced “Go-Dare”) is a fourth generation Master Plumber with over 20 years of experience in the mid-Atlantic region. He is a native Washingtonian with master licenses in 5 states and is an expert in designing irrigation systems and providing maintenance solutions for large and small-scale cultivators. He entered the cannabis industry in 2006 and began his work by focusing on cultivation and advocacy. He was a financial supporter and campaign volunteer for Initiative 71 that legalized cannabis in Washington, DC. He is also a master gardener who has trekked the globe to find rare cannabis genetics and has learned various growing techniques he often shares with his clients. From setting up small I-71 compliant closet grows to building out one of Washington, DC’s largest medical cannabis cultivation facilities, Josh Godaire is one of the foremost cannabis consultants in the mid-Atlantic region. His passion for the cannabis industry, along with his many talents, makes him a treasure trove of valuable information on the high points and pitfalls of the new emerging cannabis industry.

Kate Bell Esq.

Attorney, MPP


Kate Bell joined MPP in December 2015 and is working toward reform in Arizona, D.C., Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming. Prior to MPP, Kate worked as a criminal defense attorney based in Baltimore, Maryland, where she witnessed first-hand how the racially-disparate enforcement of prohibition warps the relationships between police and the communities they serve. In her practice, she regularly represented medical marijuana patients under the affirmative defense law, while also advocating for a broader law that would protect patients from prosecution. Kate graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. She has traveled extensively and is now a proud resident of the (future) 51st state.

Kathryn Rust

Lead Cultivator, District Growers

Kathryn currently serves as a Manager at the Washington DC-based medical cannabis cultivation center, District Growers. She further serves as an Assistant Manager at the Metropolitan Wellness Center located in Capitol Hill and has been a leader and pillar of progress in both facilities since their opening in 2013. Kathryn brings over a decade of experience in the medical cannabis industry, specializing in genetic specific training techniques and patient care. Kathryn has a BA in Biology from San Diego State University and became a certified Holistic Health Practitioner after graduating from the Mueller College also located in San Diego, CA.

Keith Stroup Esq.

Founder , NORML

Keith Stroup is currently a Washington, DC public-interest attorney who founded NORML in 1970. Keith obtained his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Illinois in 1965, and graduated class of 1968 from Georgetown Law School in Washington, DC. Following two years as staff counsel for the National Commission on Product Safety, Keith founded NORML and ran the organization through 1979, during which 11 states decriminalized minor marijuana offenses.

Ken Bazinet

Former White House Correspondent

Ken Bazinet is a communications, public policy, campaign professional, and longtime White House Correspondent, who covered the last three presidents. As host of the Legalization Nation Report, he focuses on federal and state efforts to mainstream the anti-prohibition movement.

Kevin Kafka

Director & Founder, CannaCare Docs

Kevin is the Managing Director and Founder of the first New England and Mid-Atlantic medical marijuana evaluation center, Canna Care Docs—which provides access to state medical marijuana programs in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Arizona, and Maryland. Kevin has worked in Colorado’s booming cannabis market since 2006 as a cultivator, entrepreneur, and as founder/operator of Kafka Consultants. Kevin has help fund numerous Cannabis business and has provided mentorship to many young Cannabis entrepreneurs. He is honored to have the opportunity to help Mid-Atlantic entrepreneurs with guidance and funding for stellar cannabis business plans. Kevin resides in Nederland, Colorado with his wife, two young daughters & his dog Roxie.

Kyla Hill

CEO, Get Hemp Butter

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Kyla Hill is the owner, creator, and CEO at Get Hemp Butter. Get Hemp Butter, winner of the 2015 Cannawards, is DC’s premier topical company specializing in Hemp based products for hair, hands, body and more. Growing up in a military family enabled Kyla to experience various areas of the US. She has incorporated some of those influences into her product.
Kyla is an advocate for hemp in support of full legalization for the purpose of creating alternative resources and sustainable practices. She is a certified Medical Marijuana Provider in the District of Columbia and have been involved in the industry for more than three years. Through her involvement in the legal Cannabis industry, Kyla has built a strong network of individuals not only in DC, Maryland, California, Colorado, Washington, and Nevada.

Kyla has appeared in The District, a local PBS show, was a contestant on season one of The Marijuana Show and appeared on Viceland. She was featured in The NY Times and over a dozen other publications among them Forbes magazine and The Washington Post.

Dr. Malik Burnett

Johns Hopkins 

As a resident physician in preventive medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Dr. Malik Burnett works to advance the broader drug policy reform agenda with the goal of shifting US drug policy from framework based on criminal justice to one based on public health. He successfully co-chaired the Initiative 71 campaign, a ballot measure legalizing the possession of cannabis in the Nation’s Capital, garnering the support of 70% of voters as a policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. He continues to work with the local and state governments to advance drug policy reform legislation around the country.

Nycholas Kushgod

Bio coming soon…

Rick Simpson

Rick Simpson Oil

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Rick Simpson is a retired power engineer who worked for 25 years in the medical system in Canada. After suffering a severe head injury in 1997 he took all the medications doctors prescribed, but their side effects did nothing but harm. In desperation, he turned to the use of self-produced cannabis extracts and quickly found that he discovered one of the greatest natural medicines that can cure and control many different illnesses. Today, these extracts are usually called RSO or Rick Simpson Oil.
Rick Simpson put up the phoenixtears.ca website in 2004 to spread the knowledge about the healing abilities of the cannabis oil. Due to the criminal record that the Canadian government gave him, because he was growing cannabis plants in his own backyard, and was giving the oil for free, he can not enter the U.S. Therefore, Rick will give this lecture via Skype. For the last three years Rick Simpson has been residing in Europe.
Rick Simpson is only affiliated with two websites: phoenixtears.ca and www.simpsonramadur.com.

Rob Blount

Founder, Blunt House Media

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Born in Denver and raised in Texas, Robert dropped out of college at Texas State University after two years to pursue activism full time. After connecting with Rick Simpson and helping his effort to spread the word about RSO and the hidden power of cannabis medicine, Robert created the largest digital community of specifically cannabis friendly viewers and brands in the world (over 10,000,000)—Blount Group or “The Blunt Group.” With 5 subsidiaries, including the fastest growing cannabis web series in the industry, Blunted Radio, and cannabusiness’ largest social marketing agency, Blunt House Media, Blount Group is expanding rapidly and currently launching another fast growing startup with two more planned for next year.

Judge Shelli Williams Hayes

Former Illinois Judge

Judge Hayes is admitted to the New York Bar and the Illinois Bar. She served as a Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois for 18 years. While on the bench, Judge Hayes acquired courtroom legal experience in business, marketing, and management. Judge Hayes was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Minority Cannabis Business Association and the National Cannabis Bar Association in 2015. Her memberships include advocacy in the Illinois Women in Cannabis; Minority Cannabis Business Association; Illinois Cannabis Bar Association, National Cannabis Bar Association, and Illinois Cannabis Industry Association.  Judge Hayes received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York and her Juris Doctorate Degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana. She is a mother of four, wife, and medical cannabis advocate. Her new cannabis business venture is Sweet Leaf Kitchens, LLC., an infused organic edibles company in Illinois.  

Sterling Crockett

Partner, GTI Maryland


Sterling Crockett is a visionary leader offering over 30 years of innovative, imperative business practices that create value and masterfully inspire teams to high performance in meeting complex challenges. He is a strategic industrialist whose thoughtful leadership, decisive insight, and experience as chair of five corporations and agencies has made meaningful impacts on corporate governance, infrastructure, and community mentorship on local, national, and international levels.
Most recently, Mr. Crockett assumed the position of General Manager for GTI-Maryland, leading GTI’s diversity efforts to secure investments from minority investors, economic benefit, and the campaign to build a medical cannabis cultivation facility in Washington County, Maryland.

Tom Rodgers

Native American Strategist


Tom Rodgers is a federal tax policy expert and lawyer who served as a senior staffer on the Senate Finance Committee. He is also a leading national advocate for Native American rights and empowerment. He is founder of the first Native American-owned cannabis company.

Victoria Harris 

Co-Founder, DC Taste Buds

Originally from the Philadelphia metropolitan area, Victoria has a passion for startups, culinary arts, journalism, social media, and customer relationship management. She received her education at the world renowned Culinary Institute of America where she received her Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) degree in Culinary Arts Management. Upon graduating, Victoria continued her education at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University while working for Stephen Starr’s hospitality group in Philadelphia. During this time she worked in Breslow Partners – a Philadelphia  firm specializing in public relations and brand management.

In 2010, Victoria moved to Washington, D.C to help open CapMac, one of the first food trucks in Washington D.C. Her aggressive social media strategies and expert customer relationship management helped to skyrocket the truck to national acclaim. Victoria also served as the Social Media “Ringmaster” for the DMV Food Truck Association. Her blitz digital campaign helped defeat proposed regulations that would have forced food trucks out of downtown DC. She currently serves as their Communications Adviser.

For the last year, Victoria served as the community manager at Mess Hall, a culinary incubator and event space that houses some of DC’s most innovative startups, restaurateurs, and culinary brands. While Victoria was managing the collective, her efforts as the sole employee quadrupled the membership and event clientele in less than a year via client referrals and word of mouth marketing: her social media strategies increased engagement upwards of 500%, while followers grew 3x-10x across various platforms.

Currently, Victoria is in the process of launching a new cannabis culinary startup with two other well known DC food personalities – Warren Brown (Cakelove) and Anna Bran-Leis (DC Empanadas).