For better or for worse, movers and shakers shape the world we live in, pushing trends, fighting for new laws and regulations. We eat and sleep in the shadow of what they do. The world of cannabis is no different.
We'll break down a few of the names that will influence cannabis - in terms of popular perceptions, legislation, and medical use - in the coming year(s).
10 people leading the way for cannabis into 2019 and beyond
Leah Heise joined the ranks of marijuana entrepreneurs a few years ago when Maryland passed medical marijuana legislation. She started by counseling people interested in the sector on business operations, infrastructure and compliance. By mid-2015, she had formed Chesapeake Integrated Health Institute and created a management team that applied for grow, processing and dispensary licenses in Maryland.
Heise hopes to be an industry leader but specifically she wants to champion fair hiring processes and build a more diverse workforce.
Hartfield is arguably the first mainstream success as a “cannapreneur” with his creation of Weedmaps.com. Hartfield is also an active investor within the industry as a General Partner in Ghost Group, a holding company for various marijuana assets like Marijuana.com, MMJ Menu and Weedmaps.com.
Allen St. Pierre
Allen St. Pierre, the long-time executive director of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML), has done a lot for marijuana advocacy. He recently left NORML to be vice president of communications and advocacy for Freedom Leaf, a media and branding company based in Las Vegas. St. Pierre will stay in Washington DC, where he continues to advocate for marijuana and as well as build relationships and garner support for Freedom Leaf.
Friedland is CEO of Friedland Global Capital and author of “Marijuana: The World’s Most Misunderstood Plant.” He recently joined the board of directors of CannRx Technology, a Delaware company developing pharmaceutical grade cannabis products.
“One of my primary concerns regarding medical cannabis is the limited ability to clearly define its indications and effects for medical practitioners and consumers, which often leads to inaccurate dosing, unpredictable clinical results and undesirable side effects,” Friedland said to Marijuana Business Magazine.
Joe Rogan is a comedian and tv personality who, for years, has supported marijuana legalization. His podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, is downloaded by roughly 30 million people every month; it ranks 5th on itunes for the top podcasts. Rogan regularly performs his stand up comedy routines while high AND he tells the crowd about it. He also smokes weed on his show from time to time, which brings me to my next cannabis leader
When business magnate Elon Musk took a few puffs of a blunt on The Joe Rogan Experience it almost broke the internet.
Musk is definitely not an outspoken supporter like some of the other individuals on this list BUT he is by far the most well known. He is perceived by much of the general public almost like a real life Tony Stark, donning his Iron Man space suit and driving around his futuristic car while he saves the world. Everyone, even your Grandmother, knows who Musk is and they all saw him smoke weed. I guarantee that the event had a positive impact on the public opinion of cannabis.
Current Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper oversaw the implementation of fully legal marijuana. Even though he was actually opposed to the measure he was still at the helm when the state successfully introduced legal marijuana and made a boatload of money for Colorado by taxing it. He’s an open-minded guy who is very powerful and has led positive change in Cannabis.
The chairman and co-CEO of cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corp. Bruce Linton is attributed for having put together the largest marijuana investment deal in the history of legal marijuana. Just how much, you ask? How about $5 Billion in cold hard cash towards marijuana investment.
Brendan Kennedy is the CEO of Tilray Inc., a British Columbia based medical marijuana company. In October 2017, Tilray was the first Canadian producer licensed to export medical marijuana outside of Canada. Today, its products are available in 11 countries across five continents.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a member of the legal community. Although cannabis is gaining support, it remains federally illegal in the United States and heavily regulated wherever it is legal. Canadian attorney Trina Fraser is leading the way in the legal landscape. In the future, Fraser hopes to be remembered for having a “principled and balanced approach” to the business of cannabis.
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