New York

The Cannabis Society, in partnership with Zuber Lawler & Del Duca and Weekend Unlimited, hosted an intimate invitation-only dinner to foster conversation and shape the future of the cannabis industry among leading trade experts, investors and business influencers.

The event was hosted at Maximalist’s New York office: a well-decorated loft overlooking Madison Square Gardens. Guests engaged in deal-making discussions about the opportunities and challenges all pioneers in the rapidly growing cannabis space encounter.


The agenda for the evening was as follows:

6:00 PM - Registration & Deal-making discussions
6:30 PM - Welcome from The Cannabis Society
6:40 PM - Welcome from Maximalist
6:45 PM - Presentation by Vivian Azer from Cowen and Company
7:05 PM - Presentation by Tom Zuber of Zuber Lawler & Del Duca
7:20 PM - Presentation by Paul Chu of Weekend Unlimited Inc.
7:35 PM - Dinner Served
7:50 PM - 20 second intros from all around the table
8:30 PM - Deal making
9:00 PM - Conclusion of Evening

Guests enjoyed a house bar and delicious hors d'oeuvres while hearing from some of the industry’s most interesting New-York-based cannabis professionals. After a brief introduction from The Cannabis Society, Founding Partner of Maximalist Ventures Spencer Potts explained more about what his company does before introducing the first speaker of the evening.


Vivian Azer, Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst from Cowen and Company, spoke first about the research she’s compiled as a veteran investor in the tobacco, beverage and cannabis sectors. Ms. Azer is the first senior Wall Street analyst to cover the emerging cannabis sector, and her work has appeared in The Economist, Barron’s and Forbes. Ms. Azer shared a variety of interesting cannabis trends with those assembled, and answered questions thoughtfully on a wide variety of topics.

Two notable trends that Ms. Azer shared with the crowd was growth potential in both the hemp and cannabis food & beverage industries. Recent legal progress made after the signing of The Farm Bill opened up harvesting opportunities for hemp farmers, who can now legally grow and sell this valuable cannabis species. Based on data compiled from surveyed cannabis users, huge demographics. Within the cannabis food & beverage industry, Ms. Azer noted a huge demographic of potential cannabis users that identified eating or drinking cannabis products as being a safe and trustworthy way they would consider using cannabis once it becomes legal. This creates a huge potential market opportunity for investors and companies looking to get in on the cannabis wave.


Following Ms. Azer, Tom Zuber, Managing Partner at Zuber Lawler & Del Duca, made a presentation to the crowd about the work his law firm had accomplished in the cannabis sector thus far, with a particular speciality in patent law. Mr. Zuber has advised some of the most iconic companies in the world on their patent and trademark portfolios, and is at the cutting edge of cannabis patent and trademark law. Mr. Zuber holds a law degree from Columbia Law School, a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard Government School, and a biomedical engineering degree from Rutgers University, where he graduated with highest honors.

After Mr. Zuber’s presentation, Paul Chu, CEO at Weekend Unlimited Inc, took the stage to share some interesting facts about his publicly traded cannabis Lifestyle Brand. Weekend Unlimited recently won the coveted POT Ticker on the CNSX, and were providing samples of the new CBD candy their company is currently working on.

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Weekend Unlimited CEO Mr. Chu brings 25 years of success across a variety of industries to the table, including expertise in the cannabis, hardware/software technology, food & beverage, energy, telecommunications, franchising, and real estate industries. Leveraging extensive hands-on experience in scaling businesses, Mr. Chu has joined forces with an able team and created a successful recreational cannabis lifestyle brand in multiple states across the U.S, throughout Canada and even into Jamaica. He spoke to the crowd about the process of launching multiple successful brands under the Weekend Unlimited umbrella, including Canna Candys, Verve Beverage Brand, R&D Pharma Corp, Northern Lights Supply, Orchard Heights and Weekend Unlimited Live.

Throughout his executive career, Paul has co-founded and held leadership positions at companies including Canna Candys, High Desert Group, Knock Knock Capital, Urban Wireless, Mobile123. He pioneered the first prepaid telecom platform and managed master distributor of mobile phones and prepaid payments, generating over $750M through its payment network prior to its acquisition; he has sold to major retailers including Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Best Buy and Staples. He’s an active guest speaker for Columbia University, NYU, and Fordham University. He was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award.


As a surprise, last minute edition to the evening’s programming, Director and Producer Abby Epstein gave the audience an exclusive sneak peak at a powerful new documentary called “Weed The People” that herself and Actor Ricki Lake recently premiered on the film festival circuit. Slated for an April 20th, 2019 release (a.k.a 4/20), those in attendance at The Cannabis Society Dinner of Influence were able to enjoy an extended trailer from the documentary, which aims to “look beyond politics and propaganda [and] will challenge everything you might have known about cannabis, revealing the brave stories of ordinary families who are exploring the benefits of medical marijuana to save the lives of their most precious loved ones – their children.”


After hearing from a diverse collection of cannabis professionals, those in the audience were asked to go around and introduce themselves, while also sharing a little bit about what they did professionally.

Attendees included James Thompson, Dave Lewis, Ian Mclelland, Charlie Lamb, Brian Keane, Don Moore, Giancarlo Canavesio, Gerald Pascarelli, Harrison Wise, Evan Schnurmacher, David Benmen, Robert DeSena, Sean Conner, Jen Drake, Gabe Greenberg, Christopher Roth, Bryant Ison, Jillian Scheidler, Barry Cupples, Matthew Stadtmauer, Ben Droz, Thomas Busa, Silvana Carpanelli Hayes, Rick Weissman, Tricia Horst, James Thompson, Kyah Bell, Wiley Matthews, Jon Fox, Erica Roman, Brad Tipper, Barbara Paley, David Coleman, Christina Eller, Jil Fagin, Karyna Ainsworth, Allison Krongard, Tim Simon, Sheldon Owen, Douglas Wasser, Ashton Wilson, Andrew Schweibold, Shane Morris, Colton Griffin, Oliver Wriedt, Emre Okay, David Peebler, Marc Adesso, Lauren Schweibold, Sabina King, Richard Hecker, Alexander Green, William Berman, Adam Helfgott, Michael Calabrese, Michelle Finizio, Monica Parikh, Amparo Palou and Scott Anderson.

It turns out that even Actor Susan Sarandon was amongst the interesting group assembled at the Maximalist office for The Cannabis Society’s Dinner of Influence that night in New York!

The Cannabis Society will be returning to New York City on Tuesday, February 19th for to host our Cannabis Society Business Conference at the offices of law firm Zuber, Lawler & Del Duca. For tickets to another incredible evening with some of the top minds in North America’s cannabis industry, click the link here.

The Cannabis Society