Los Angeles (March 25)

Bill Hennessey, CEO of the Cannabis Society

Bill Hennessey, CEO of the Cannabis Society


On March 25th, 2019, The Cannabis Society (TCS) made its way to California and hosted an invite-only Business Conference in downtown Los Angeles, in partnership with Zuber Lawler. In attendance were LA’s most notable industry experts, entrepreneurs, investors and service providers. Topics discussed included  investing in the industry, product innovation, and the importance of branding when building a cannabis brand.


Following opening remarks from TCS, the conference kicked off with a keynote from Tom Zuber, Managing Partner at Zuber Lawler.

Tom Zuber, Managing Partner at Zuber Lawler

Tom Zuber, Managing Partner at Zuber Lawler

Zuber has advised a number of notable companies around the globe regarding their patent and trademark portfolios. He is at the forefront of the emerging industry of cannabis-specific patent and trademark law.

The second keynote was given by “Professional Dealmaker” Cheryl Shuman; an experienced investor with a comprehensive understanding of the financial markets and a strong capital markets relationship network. Shuman  brings decades of experience working with the media, celebrities, marketing and health care in Beverly Hills. She has been dubbed the cannabis queen of Beverly Hills on the covers of Adweek, The New York Times Magazine and was named one of the most powerful women in pot in Fortune Magazine.

Following the final keynote of the day was an informative panel on investing in cannabis, moderated by Shuman, along with Zuber and Bá Minuzzi (Founder of Babel Ventures).

Bá Minuzzi is the founder of BABEL Ventures, the first venture firm in Silicon Valley with a Latina founder and sole GP. She has been lauded by mainstream publications for "breaking all the rules" and "rocking male-dominated Silicon Valley." Minuzzi is a former real-estate entrepreneur and financial advisor to ultra high-net-worth families in Brazil. She has single-handedly raised over $250M for real estate and high tech companies in Latin America and the United States.

The expert trio discussed topics such as what investors new to the cannabis space should be looking for, the biggest investment opportunities for cannabis investors in 2019, as well as the prominence of technology in the context of identifying cannabis assets within the maturing industry.

Up next was a panel moderated by Eugene Morgulis, the NACB’s LA-based executive and Director of Legal & Strategic Initiatives. The second panel of the conference focused on the importance of branding for cannabis companies. Eugene was joined by Zuber, Lisa Harun, Michelle Patterson and Shuman.

As the NACB’s LA-based executive and Director of Legal & Strategic Initiatives, Morgulis oversees the creation of the organization’s National Standards and heads up its Symposium program.

Lisa Harun is the CMO and Co-Founder of Vapium Inc. - a data driven, MedTech company leading three brands in the cannabis industry and is a MaRS Advisor. In 2013, she co-founded Vapium with Roboticist Michael Trzecieski. The company’s three brands sell in over 20 countries and is a resident at Jlabs Toronto (Johnson & Johnson). Harun was recently featured in the Top 100 Women in Cannabis High Times.

Michelle Patterson is the Chief Experience Officer at MyJane Inc., a membership community delivering curated cannabis education and experiences for women. She is the former CEO of media and production company Women Network LLC and served as the exclusive event producer of the California Women’s Conference. The author of “Women Change the World,” Patterson is a sought-after media commentator for Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox Business News, ESPN, HuffPost and hundreds of other TV and radio stations.

The group discussed the challenges of advertising cannabis, what the main focus will be for cannabis marketing in 2019, the unique challenges companies face when scaling across US state lines, as well as the value of technology in growing the value of cannabis brands.

The concluding panel at the conference spoke on the significance of product innovation within the industry, and was moderated by Morgulis. The panel included the likes of Ted Lichtenberger (Co-Founder of Flower Co.), Harun as well as Jessica Versteeg (Founder & CEO of Paragon).

A former McKinsey and Company consultant with restructuring turnaround and CPG specialty, Ted Lichtenberger is a serial entrepreneur. Ted started in cannabis by co-founding Humboldt Legends a premium preroll brand which celebrates Humboldt's legacy cultivators and terror. Along the way, Ted built West of West, Humboldt Legend's plant touching sister company, and which now has +6 state licenses including volatile extraction, distribution, and manufacturing.

Jessica VerSteeg has dedicated herself to changing the perception of cannabis as an alternative medicine. She founded AuBox, an upscale medical marijuana delivery service that provides subscribers with a curated box of cannabis products on a monthly basis in San Francisco. After experiencing the lack of information from seed to sale first hand, she set out to develop a blockchain solution which led to the start of Paragon in 2017.

The panel of speakers discussed topics regarding product innovation such as what it means to build an innovative product and what the creator’s motivations should be, which cannabis products are most interesting in terms of profit and appeal, pharmaceutical advancements in medicinal products, and also how cannabis is affecting the food & beverage industry.

If you’re interested in being a speaker, sponsor, or attendee at The Cannabis Society’s upcoming conferences, please reach out to General Manager, Jessica Domingo at community@thecannabissociety.org.