Mary is the CEO and founder of Alpha Agency, a Hawaii based production company specializing in creating events that inspire positive social change through music, education, and community engagement. Mary’s passion for cannabis advocacy and community education inspired her to become the Executive Producer and founder of Maui Cannabis Conference. As a firm believer in the power of cannabis to heal, she is dedicated to changing the stigma surrounding cannabis and to help inspire a more socially conscious cannabis industry.
Senior Policy Associate
Mikelina has spent their carer exploring how to facilitate community regeneration and empowerment in marginalized communities. Their work has focused on examining the disparate impact of the criminal legal on black and brown communities, and working with various stakeholders (impacted community, advocates, government decision makers, and experts) to explore innovative solutions.
Mikelina has worked as a Chief Program Officer for a community based social enterprise working to address the root causes of street and gang violence, a contributor to the field and literature of criminal justice reform, and an expert consultant to local governments interested in implementing alternatives to incarceration.
Mikelina is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and received their JD from Harvard Law School.
Andrew DeAngelo has been an activist in the cannabis reform movement for over 30 years. Andrew helped collect signatures, raise funds, and organize support for Proposition 215 and Proposition 64, which legalized cannabis in California. As a co-founder of Harborside, Andrew helped build the gold standard for cannabis retail and operations.
Steve DeAngelo is an inspired and undisputed national leader, with four decades of activism and advocacy in the cannabis reform movement. His creation of a model medical cannabis dispensary and lifelong cannabis activism, coupled with his extensive knowledge in this arena, has made him one of the strongest voices in the cannabis and hemp industries. Steve’s career has focused on the intersection of advocacy and entrepreneurship, creating profitable ventures that simultaneously advance social goals. His other ventures include Ecolution, SteepHill Laboratory, Cannasure, and The ArcView Group.
Executive Director & General Counsel
Throughout her career Sarah has worked at the intersection of cannabis legalization and criminal justice reform. After working as an attorney at a congressional agency where she focused on legislative policy, Sarah co-founded a cannabis centric law firm where she led the firm's pro bono initiative, taking on expungement and record sealing cases. Sarah went on to co-found and serve as CEO for a legal tech startup that offers affordable legal solutions for small cannabis business owners, as well as free expungement services.
Sarah is a member of the National Cannabis Bar Association and the NORML Legal Committee. She received her JD from Harvard Law School.
Dean Raise is an artist manager at C3 Management, founder of the creative agency, HEIGHTEN, and a Grammy-nominated executive producer. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa and currently based between Austin, Texas and California, Dean has spent his 14-year career managing several bands including longtime client Rebelution, executing worldwide marketing and branding campaigns, and producing innovative and immersive live events.
Sue is a rising 2L at NYU Law, who is passionate about criminal justice reform and the protection of civil liberties. When not in class, she is involved in the leadership of American Constitution Society, Women of Color Collective, Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association, and Law Women. She enjoys reading and making music in her spare time, and is firmly on team "taylor ham" in the ever-lasting Jersey debate.
Mariah Daly is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law and a proud double-buckeye! While in law school she authored both Record Sealing Guides for Felonies and Misdemeanors in Franklin County, Ohio (to be published by Ohio Justice & Policy Center 2020), as well as the article "BOXED INTO A CORNER: The Fight to Ban Employers from Boxing out Deserving Job Applicants on the Basis of Criminal Record". She has worked in law firms for over 10 years— specializing in criminal, personal injury, and medical malpractice. She also served as Student Law Clerk for The Federal District Court, Southern District of Ohio for the Honorable Judge Vascura.
Kiersten Yamamoto is a rising 2L at University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She graduated in 2019 from the University of Washington and received a degree in Philosophy with a minor in Diversity studies. Her desire to understand a variety of perspectives has played a vital role in her pursuit of legal studies. She is a passionate advocate for social justice and specifically prison reform. She hopes that her work with the Last Prisoner Project will allow her to be a voice for so many who are silenced.
Jim Belushi is the founder of Belushi’s Farm cannabis, where his sprawling and spiritual 93 acres along the Rogue River plays home to a range of offerings—from Belushi’s Secret Stash, to The Blues Brothers, to Captain Jack’s Gulzar Afghanica, a rare strain from the Hindu Kush region that became known in the ‘70s as “The Smell of SNL.” Having suffered the loss of his brother John to an overdose and his own journey, learning and healing through cultivating cannabis, Jim’s an outspoken proponent of the plant’s beneficial properties across a spectrum of uses. From enhancing joy and quality of life, mitigating trauma and managing pain, to a harm reduction approach and rebuttal of the opioid abuse epidemic, Jim advocates for patient rights and adult-use legalization while empowering craft farmers to thrive in economies of scale.
A seasoned Second City and Saturday Night Live alumni, Jim’s starred in a selection of critically acclaimed movies ranging from Trading Places to Wonder Wheel, working with famed directors like Oliver Stone, Roman Polanski, David Lynch and Michael Mann. He’s also served as an executive producer, music composer, director, book author, and Broadway star. His own television show, According to Jim, aired for 182 episodes during eight seasons with the family favorite launching into off-net syndication. Along with Larry Joe Campbell and other talented Second City alum, Jim Belushi and the Board of Comedy perform improv sketch comedy at colleges, clubs, performing arts centers and venues nationwide. And, together with Dan Aykroyd, Jim tours the globe as Brother Zee of the iconic Blues Brothers. Additionally, Jim headlines his own music group The Sacred Hearts, which is the official house band for the House of Blues brand of venues.
With 42 years in the public eye and Jim’s professional career further inspired by the beauty and healing power of cannabis, Jim’s actively engaged in several projects benefiting the region around Belushi’s Farm. In Medford, Jim is helping reconstruct the historic Holly Theater to bring the 1930s Spanish Colonial movie palace back to life as Southern Oregon's largest indoor concert venue. In Eagle Point, Jim is assisting with the reconstruction of The Butte Creek Mill, destroyed in a 2016 electrical fire, to preserve its heritage, build community, and improve the environment. And where Jim looks to have the most profound impact, he’s working vigorously with scientists and the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission and Portland City Council to create an opioid trade program where Veterans, the infirmed, downtrodden and addicted can have a place for healing for low to no cost.
In the words of Dan Aykroyd, “if John had been a pothead, he’d still be alive today.”
Corvain grew up in South Central Los Angeles. He loved fashion, and after high school he went to work at a clothing store. His passion led to him opening a small clothing business in his old Los Angeles neighborhood. In 2013, Corvain was arrested for his role in a marijuana distribution operation. Despite his minor role in the operation, due to his refusal to testify against others and a federal “three strikes law” for two other possession offenses, Corvain is now serving life in prison.
Corvain is a devoted father and son, but unfortunately has been unable to see his family since he was transferred from California to a federal prison in Louisiana. Although the prior charges that led to his life sentence have now been reduced to misdemeanors under California law, the Supreme Court has refused to reconsider Corvain’s sentence. As of now, his only hope is that President Trump will grant him clemency and commute his life sentence. You can sign Corvain’s petition asking President Trump to commute his sentence here.
Dan Dalton has shaped and guided the careers of culture-shifting artists, ranging from underground hip hop act Jurassic 5 to reggae superstar Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, for more than 20 years. He has represented his clients at some of entertainment’s most respected organizations—most recently creating Dalton Entertainment Group, a partnership with Roc Nation that extends into all areas of their businesses including touring, marketing, and branding.
He and Damian Marley co-founded the “Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise”, transforming the reggae festival business and creating what has been described as “the genre’s premiere global event” by Billboard magazine.
In 2014, Dalton’s brother, Kelly Dalton, founded the cannabis company Ocean Grown Extracts. Since then, Dalton and his siblings have made the decision to double down in the legal cannabis business and with partners, purchased Claremont Custody Center, a former prison. The Dalton’s transformed it into a state licensed facility where they cultivate, manufacture, and legally distribute cannabis. This venture embraced a forward thinking local government and created job growth in a well deserving community.
Nabil Elderkin is a professional photographer, music video and film director of mixed American and Iranian origin. Born in Chicago and raised in Australia, his initial experience with photography was through photo shoots of the surfing scene in Australia. In the early 1990s, Elderkin returned to the United States where he studied photography and shot music bands, concerts, and Chicago-based DJs.
Nabil’s work has appeared in many platforms including advertising, magazine editorials and covers, artist branding, music videos, books, album covers and photojournalism. His clients include, among others, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, Nas, Bon Iver, The Black Eyed Peas, K'naan, James Blake, Seal, John Legend, record labels Capitol Records, Universal Music, Sony, Warner Bros., Billboard, Rolling Stone, Vogue, MTV, Rizzoli, fashion personalities like designer Jeremy Scott and model Heidi Klum, the charity Oxfam and manufacturers Coca-Cola, Foot Locker, Nike, Adidas, Vans. His debut long feature is the award-winning documentary film Bouncing Cats about a breakdance workshop for teaching b-boy culture to Ugandan disenfranchised youth.
Melissa Etheridge stormed onto the American rock scene in 1988 with the release of her critically acclaimed self-titled debut album, which led to an appearance on the 1989 Grammy Awards show. For several years, her popularity grew around such memorable originals as "Bring Me Some Water," "No Souvenirs" and "Ain't It Heavy," for which she won a Grammy® in 1992. Etheridge hit her commercial and artistic stride with her fourth album, Yes I Am (1993). The collection featured the massive hits, "I'm the Only One" and "Come to My Window," a searing song of longing that brought Etheridge her second Grammy® Award for Best Female Rock Performance. In 1995, Etheridge issued her highest charting album, Your Little Secret, which was distinguished by the hit single, "I Want to Come Over." Her astounding success that year led to Etheridge receiving the Songwriter of the Year honor at the ASCAP Pop Awards in 1996.
Known for her confessional lyrics and raspy, smoky vocals, Etheridge has remained one of America’s favorite female singer-songwriters for more than two decades. In February 2007, Melissa Etheridge celebrated a career milestone with a victory in the “Best Song” category at the Academy® Awards for “I Need to Wake Up,” written for the Al Gore documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. As a performer and songwriter, Etheridge has shown herself to be an artist who has never allowed “inconvenient truths” to keep her down. Earlier in her recording career, Etheridge acknowledged her sexual orientation when it was considered less than prudent to do so.
In October 2004, Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer, a health battle that, with her typical tenacity, she won. Despite losing her hair from chemotherapy, Etheridge appeared on the 2005 Grammy® telecast to sing “Piece of My Heart” in tribute to Janis Joplin. By doing so she gave hope to many women afflicted with the disease.
On October 7, 2016 Melissa Etheridge released Memphis Rock & Soul, her first album since 2014’s critically lauded This Is M.E. Recorded at Royal Studios in Memphis, the album received stellar reviews from the likes of Entertainment Weekly, Parade, Rolling Stone, American Songwriter and more. She followed that up with the release of The Medicine Show in April, 2019. For The Medicine Show, Melissa reunited with celebrated producer John Shanks and sounds as rousing as ever, bringing a new level of artistry to her 15th studio recording. The Medicine Show deals with universal themes of renewal, reconciliation, reckoning, compassion and, most profoundly, healing.
Matt Gray is the founder & CEO of Herb - the largest and most trusted cannabis community in the world. Herb has over 14 million people in the community. Herb's mission is to get anyone in the world cannabis in under 15 minutes and free every person incarcerated for cannabis worldwide.
A lifetime advocate and pillar of California’s cannabis industry, Dennis Hunter has been trailblazing California’s cannabis market for more than two decades. His experience in cannabis dates back to his teenage years in Mendocino County where he taught himself how to grow cannabis plants in the woods. As he got older his cultivation operations grew into one of the largest in California. Unfortunately, in the 90’s cannabis laws had not caught up with his vision and he ended up serving more than 6 years in federal prison for cannabis cultivation.
After prison, Dennis found ways to support the industry by starting a hydroponics and gardening wholesale company, selling products essential to the succesful cultivation of cannabis. In 2014, when the time was right and cannabis laws appeared to offer a pathway for cannabis companies to legally operate in California, Dennis co-founded CannaCraft, Inc., one of the largest cannabis manufacturing companies in the world today.
As the CEO of CannaCraft, Dennis has worked closely with state and federal legislators to draft sensible regulations for California’s cannabis industry. He has worked tirelessly to remove the stigma surrounding cannabis through education, outreach, and volunteer initiatives supporting community projects throughout California.
Dennis’ experience with the cannabis industry and the justice system has given him the information and the experience to effect change and he is committed to fighting for the rights of those whose lives have been uprooted and negatively affected by archaic cannabis policies.
Evelyn grew up in Oakland, CA after graduating from high school in 2003 she moved to Los Angeles for college. She completed the courses required to receive a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship from Loyola Marymount University. In 2009 she gave birth to a daughter and in 2012 decided to move back to Oakland to be closer to friends and family. In 2013 she was convicted on three charges related to her minor role in a marijuana distribution operation. She was sentenced to 87 months in prison. She had no prior record and in fact had no indicators that she was a repeat offender.
On February 1, 2019 she was released from federal custody and began her 4 year probation sentence. She immediately found employment in a prominent hotel as a sales and catering coordinator. She had held this position prior to being taken into custody and was very grateful to return to the work she enjoyed. After a co-worker searched her name and found her convictions she was fired. Since then , Evelyn has become the owner and operator of Fresh Out Car Wash, her own mobile car detailing business. She is dedicated to offering jobs to people who have recently been incarcerated. She understands what it's like to serve your time and still come home to an environment that would deny you employment because of your past.
She has experienced the War on Drugs personally, her family has now experienced it, and her daughter was left without her mother because of it. The Second Chance Act has failed her and she has made it her goal to create a real second chance for men and women being released from prison.
Robert W.E. Laurie is an international lawyer, writer, and speaker. Robert is the founder of Ad Lucem Law in Vancouver where his legal practice focuses on regulatory issues surrounding cannabis and psychedelic plant medicines. Robert serves as a Board Advisor to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Canada and is one of the Founding Partners with Dr. Dennis McKenna of the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy and is a Director on the board of Jay DeMerit and Ashleigh McIvor’s Rise and Shine Foundation.
Robert is also the Chairman of the Advisory Board of Liberty Leaf Holdings Ltd., is a Special Advisor to the Leadership Team of HollyWeed North Cannabis Inc., and is a Director with the B.C. Independent Cannabis Alliance. He holds an M.A. (Hons) Juris from the University of Oxford (St. Edmund Hall) and B.A. (Hons) in Political Science and International Relations from the University of British Columbia.
The youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley garnered his own place in music history when he became the first ever Reggae artist to win a GRAMMY outside of the “Reggae” category, taking home an award for “Best Urban/Alternative” performance for his title single, “Welcome To Jamrock”. The acclaimed 2005 breakthrough disc Welcome To Jamrock, also won a GRAMMY for “Best Reggae” Album. Marley has been shaking up stages all over the world for the past few years, first in collaboration with Nas on their Distant Relatives project, and then when he went on to partner with Skrillex for their groundbreaking track “Make It Bun Dem,” which Rolling Stone called “a monster mash up of dubstep and dancehall.” Marley’s latest album Stony Hill won the 2018 GRAMMY Award for “Best Reggae Album.”
Additionally, Damian appeared on Saturday Night Live alongside Jay Z to perform their stand out track “Bam,” and he is also featured on Ty Dolla $ign’s acclaimed track “So Am I” with Skrillex. Damian released the remix and music video for his single “Medication” featuring Stephen Marley, Wiz Khalifa, and Ty Dolla $ign, in addition to releasing other visuals from his Stony Hill album including Living It Up, Speak Life and Autumn Leaves. Most recently, he is featured on Karol G’s single, Love With A Quality. He continues to tour internationally around the world and has also been busy producing other artists such as Kabaka Pyramid and Third World.
Stephen "Ragga" Marley is the second eldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley and Rita Marley. He was raised in Kingston, Jamaica and started singing professionally at seven years old with his elder siblings Ziggy, Sharon, and Cedella as The Melody Makers. The singer, songwriter, musician, and producer has earned a total of eight Grammys for Best Reggae Album. He won this accolade as a solo artist for Mind Control, Mind Control Acoustic, and Revelation Part I: The Root of Life, as producer for Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley’s Half Way Tree and Welcome To Jamrock, and as a member of Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers for Conscious Party, One Bright Day and Fallen Is Babylon. Following Revelation Part I: The Root of Life (2012), the multi-talented artist's latest studio album Revelation Part II: The Fruit of Life (2016) is the second installment of his two part series, which was released on the Marley family’s Ghetto Youths International label imprint. Whereas The Root of Life is more a traditional roots reggae album, The Fruit of Life utilized a diversified sonic palette to express the far-reaching impact Jamaican music has had on various genres, especially hip hop. The album features Rick Ross, Pit Bull, Dead Prez, Rakim, DJ Khaled, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, Shaggy, Black Thought (of The Roots), Bounty Killer, Sizzla, Capleton, Damian Jr. Gong Marley, Ky-Mani Marley, and Jo Mersa.
In 2018, Stephen released a 5-track EP, One Take: Acoustic Jams, consisting of his and his father's tracks deconstructed in raw form. He took this stripped-down set on the road for two consecutive U.S. tours in fall 2018 and spring 2019. In more recent years, Stephen has expanded on his philanthropic efforts. He continues mission work as the co-founder of Ghetto Youths Foundation. He also created Kaya Fest, an annual music festival which began in 2017 to raise awareness on the benefits of cannabis guided by the mantra “Education Before Recreation.”
As lead singer, songwriter, guitar player, and co-founder of Grammy-nominated and chart topping band, Rebelution, Eric and the band have created a brand based on their lifestyle and passions. Performing to hundreds of thousands of fans each year, the band has built a massive audience and created products such as IPA beer, signature cannabis vaporizer pens, merchandise, and accessories that relate to their authentic lifestyle and music. Eric consistently works to make philanthropic efforts, and particularly cannabis justice efforts a part of his message and Rebelution’s ethos.
Tahira Rehmatullah is Partner of Hypur Ventures, Big Tent Ventures and Ceylon Solutions, and member of the board of directors for Akerna Corp. From brand building to hedge funds, Tahira has previously held positions at Marley Natural, Privateer Holdings, City First Enterprises, Perry Capital, and Ernst & Young. She is an investor and advisor to numerous cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs, including the advisory board of The Initiative and Last Prisoner Project, and is dedicated to developing female and minority leadership in the industry.
Tahira earned her MBA from the Yale School of Management and B.S. in Finance from The Ohio State University. She resides in New York City.