Ben is an entrepreneur and consultant, focused on public affairs and business development. A respected political strategist and policy expert, Ben co-founded the Organic Cannabis Association in 2015. Ben has been at the forefront of cannabis policy in Colorado since 2011, when he worked with the University of Colorado Toxicology Lab to advocate for higher standards of testing in the cannabis industry. He currently serves on the City of Denver Industry Stakeholder Group, The State of Colorado Pesticide Stakeholder Committee and is a principal with Par, LLC. In addition to his efforts in cannabis, Ben works in real estate, public affairs and general business development. Ben lives in Denver, CO.
Laura Day Rivero,
Laura Rivero is the Operations Manager at Yerba Buena Farms in Portland, Oregon. Laura graduated Summa Cum Laude from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Environmental Science focusing on Sustainable Communities. Laura has over 20 years of experience working with cannabis across several states, with 7 years of experience in strict seed-to-sale environments. She has designed and implemented various successful business models from dispensaries to cultivation focused around environmental stewardship, organic growing practices, creating a nurturing and empowering work environment with exemplary labor practices, and contributing to the local community. Yerba Buena was among the first eight recreational licenses to be awarded in Oregon, and was the first cannabis company to receive the 100 Best Green Companies award by Oregon Business Magazine, placing 9th in the state, just one of many accomplishments that reflect her commitment to sustainability and setting standards for best practices. In addition to her cannabis operations and dispensary management experience, Laura has over 10 years of experience in fine dining management, and is a co-founder and Director of Firefly Gathering, a non-profit music, art and yoga festival with over 3,000 attendees. Between her love of cannabis, fine wines, and intentional, inspiring events, Laura’s passionate and knowledgeable leadership has touched many lives.
SECRETARY & LEGAL CHAIR
Nick J. Richards is a partner at Dill Dill Carr Stonbraker & Hutchings, PC and is tax counsel with Vicente Sederberg LLC. Nick advises businesses and individuals regarding Federal and State tax matters (including Section 280E) and represents them in audits, trials and tax collection matters. He began his legal career as a trial attorney with the IRS in Southern California where he also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. While there, Nick represented the IRS in the U.S. Tax and Bankruptcy Courts, he conducted investigations and lead special projects, he advised revenue officers and agents, and he taught trial practice, collections and other topics to junior IRS attorneys. His career took him from Southern California to Washington D.C. where he spent two years developing tax policy, and then to Denver Colorado where he returned to tax court litigation. After 11 years in the IRS, Nick joined a small but sophisticated tax firm and, shortly thereafter, he began representing cannabis businesses. In 2013, Nicholas was asked to teach at the University of Denver, Graduate Tax Program where he is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law.
communications & outreach
Amy Andrle is one half of L’Eagle Services, a Denver, Colorado dispensary and cultivation facility founded in 2010. L'Eagle specializes in clean cannabis and is the first--and currently only--cannabis dispensary to earn recognition as a Certified Green Business from the City and County of Denver Department of Environmental Health. Prior to working in the cannabis industry, she was an executive director in cultural art and historic preservation organizations. Amy, who has experience serving with a variety of non profit boards, currently dedicates time to the City of Denver’s Cannabis Sustainability Work Group, and as a founding board member of the Cannabis Certification Council. She is dedicated to evolving the cannabis industry and provides consulting services for cannabis companies looking to improve sustainability in their operations. Amy holds a Master Degree in Non-Profit Management from Florida Atlantic University and a BA in Spanish.
Siobhan Danger Darwish
Siobhan Danger Darwish is a second generation cannabis farmer. She and her husband own and operate Blessed Coast Farms. Their family farm received a commercial cannabis cultivation permit in Humboldt County in June of 2016. This is the first official permit of its type in California.
The family proudly practices sustainable farming techniques and cultivates organic cannabis with a focus on medicinal strains. Amending and Planting into native soil the family of Blessed Coast Farms is honored to carry on traditional horticulture applications of cannabis into this emerging legal industry.
With a lifetime passion for cultivating and understanding the many medicinal facets of the cannabis plant, her passion for this industry's growth is exponential. Siobhan is featured in Cannabis Business Times, Marijuana Business Conference and Expo’s Show Daily, National Geographic, Sungrower Magazine, High Times and is published in Terpenes and Testing Magazine. Siobhan and her sister launched The Grow Sister's YouTube Channel, a series of instructional grow videos from Blessed Coast Farms. Siobhan’s passion truly resides in Growing Your Own, and supporting small family farms.
Adam Duke is Director of Operations of the Midwest Sustainable Sungrowers Association and is in charge of cultivation and processing at Sunflowered. Sunflowered is a vertically integrated, clean cannabis company in Detroit focused on opiate reduction strategies and chronic pain relief for patients. Prior to working in the cannabis industry Adam worked at an organic cut-flower farm in Detroit with a mission to re-purpose vacant lots around the city into productive, vibrant, community spaces. Adam also founded and sold an energy consulting company that retrofitted homes and buildings to be more energy efficient. While studying at Michigan State University (Go Green!) he won two national championships in water polo.