Leafbuyer.com presents 2016 Power List - Top Business Leaders in the Colorado Cannabis Industry
The legal U.S. cannabis industry is expected to grow 25% and will reach nearly $7 billon in 2016.

Forging the path, many Colorado cannabis businesses are poised to become nationally recognized brands. Currently, the leaders of these businesses are going head-to-head here in the Centennial State.

How do dreamers become industry icons?
What does it take to build a business against all odds?
Who are the most influential business leaders in this industry?

The men and women on the 2016 Leafbuyer Power List were nominated by peers and professionals in the cannabis industry. These business leaders and entrepreneurs are shaping the fastest-growing, most competitive and potentially the most societal changing industry in the history of Colorado.
Michael (Mike) Lord
#1 Michael (Mike) Lord
Director of Business Development, LivWell
www.livwell.com


Lord and LivWell are two of the first names you will hear in the Colorado cannabis industry - and for good reason. Starting from a single location in 2009, LivWell is now a retail powerhouse with 14 locations across Colorado. Mike Lord, one of the youngest industry power players, has the mindset of a focused veteran. While finishing business school at Monfort College of Business, he played a leading role in LivWell's acquisition of what is now LivWell Garden City. As the store's general manager, Lord and his team built the location into LivWell's top performer, consistently generating the highest sales for the company. Now, his role at LivWell involves acquisitions and the development of new technologies and methodologies for the company. Working hand in hand with LivWell's human resources and technology teams, including Laura, Joel, Miles, Danielle, and Brian, Mike Lord was instrumental in the design and implementation of the LivWell University program and online training platform, one of the industry's first and most successful cannabis curricula. He also lead the development of LivWell Cares, the company's community outreach effort with help from Dean, Neal, John, and others. Lord views LivWell's greatest accomplishment to be the building of a company culture that instills in LivWell's employees a sense of pride in their work, a dedication to full compliance, a passion for learning and education, and the knowledge that their hard-work and ideas are valued by LivWell's management. Maintaining this culture has been a point of pride for Lord and one of his most ardent passions.

"Recognition falls to the budtenders that are out there every single day, our trimmers, and our gardeners."


Without them, Lord believes LivWell wouldn't be the industry trendsetter that it is today. Looking ahead, he foresees medical marijuana in Colorado struggling since "it's using version 1.0 rules written into the statute." Regardless, he has faith that LivWell will continue to lead innovation in cultivation and retail methodology in Colorado and beyond. While he seeks positive growth within the company, Lord says that he also strives for LivWell to support positive growth for the entire industry.


What is your favorite aspect of living in Colorado?
"Really what I enjoy about Colorado is the amazing melting pot that it has turned into and I don't know if that's through economic boom in itself or cannabis, or a combination of the two, but every sociodemographic to every kind of person is represented here and it's an interesting place to be right now."
Tripp Keber
#2 Tripp Keber
CEO - Dixie Brands
dixieelixirs.com


With a background in industries from technology to real estate, Tripp Keber made an early choice to take a risk in the cannabis industry, and it has more than paid off. Starting in 2008, Keber, who had ownership in several Denver night clubs, began to witness the rising cultural prominence of marijuana. He spent time aggressively researching the medical marijuana culture that Colorado was slowly beginning to accept. Keber, now CEO of the thriving company known as Dixie Brands, explains that the field is "far greater and far more exciting than anything [he] could have ever anticipated." A solid management team along with a commitment to "great products, packaging and responsible dosages" makes Dixie Brands the unwavering company they have grown to be. Not only does Keber believe in the future of nationwide cannabis acceptance, but he has a strong belief in a worldwide marketplace. When not working toward this vision, he enjoys visiting Aspen, whitewater rafting, fly fishing, and mountain biking with friends and family. What's next for Keber and Dixie Brands? The thriving Aceso brand offering CBD products is currently making its way into the Australian market.


Do you have any family out here in Colorado?
"I have a beautiful daughter who will be 16 this summer and an amazing woman in my life, Kendra, and she has 2 magnificent daughters, Brighton & Genessee, who I get to experience sort of the joys of fatherhood in parentheses or air quotes, sort of a second time around, so it's exciting and challenging sometimes, and of course I'm blessed to have dozens and dozens of friends. Colorado is truly a much kinder state than where I grew up in Washington, D.C.."
Josh Ginsberg
#3 Josh Ginsberg
CEO - Native Roots
nativerootsdispensary.com


Born and raised in Steamboat Springs, this Colorado Native got started in the cannabis industry in 2009 as a caregiver for medical patients. With his mind set on offering medical marijuana assistance, he entered the retail market when he and his wife purchased The Dandelion in Boulder in 2010. When recreational sales began in 2014, he partnered with Native Roots and completely overhauled the company and strategy, creating a new company under the Native Roots name. After the brand's revamp, the company quickly expanded to 15 more locations across Colorado under the Native Roots name. Ginsberg believes that a fundamental focus on premium products sets Native Roots apart from the competition, asking, " why make anything you wouldn't actually buy? " That, along with highly-educated budtenders and top-tier cannabis leads to a set of highly faithful patients and customers. From the beginning, he sought to create an atmosphere in each dispensary that prompts customers to say, "I can bring my grandmother in here." Ginsberg and his team also launched a new concept called Gas & Grass. With three locations in Colorado Springs, Gas & Grass is a convenient place where customers can stop in to fill up their gas tanks and then their pockets with quality grass, "killing two birds with one stone(d)." Owing much of his inspiration to his wife, Lauren, who is currently the Director of Retail Operations, Ginsberg believes her passion and open heart for each employee drives him and Native Roots to be the best they can be. Overall, Ginsberg works every day to realize his vision for the industry and claims that he and his team "are determined and organized enough to meet those needs. People are expecting exceptional customer service with a highly-educated staff and [Native Roots] uniquely satisfies each of those needs."


What do you attribute your success to?
"My tenacity to get up every day loving what I do. Knowing how much fun it's going to be walking into work surrounded by such a forward thinking team. The power of knowing how many lives the products we sell are positively affecting drives my success every day. Oh, and my ability to always work my ass off."
Jeremy Heidl
#4 Jeremy Heidl
COO - O.penVAPE
www.openvape.com


Jeremy Heidl has had a passion for the plant for a long time. He recalls being pleasantly awakened by the marijuana coffee shops and local etiquette during his trip to Amsterdam in 2002. Coming back to the states, he knew exactly where to set his sights. When the opportunity presented itself in 2010, Heidl and his wife, Amanda, sold everything and headed to Colorado. While working in the cannabis industry, he witnessed subpar vape products flying off the shelves and developed his dream, to develop a superior product with customer service to match. To this day, O.penVAPE thrives off of high quality products that are always consistent, no matter if the sale is made in Colorado or Jamaica. Looking ahead, Heidl foresees federal prohibition coming to an end within five years and his organization becoming a house of brands. O.penVAPE will be able to present vaporizers, oils, and concentrates to retailers all across the U.S. An activist at heart, he hopes to see the day when reefer madness comes to a screeching halt. "Even in 2016, the fact that people are so scared the sky is going to fall because people are using cannabis is just crazy."

Looking to the upcoming election, "I would support two people: I would support Bernie Sanders even though I am not a socialist and I don't agree with him on many things, or Donald Trump, even though I don't agree with him on hardly anything. Here's what I do know: I know that our government's broken. So here's my thought with Trump, because it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to vote for Bernie: He is either great, and we're gonna look back at him and say he wasn't so bad, or he burns Washington down and he takes the Republican party with him and which I think also wouldn't be so bad."


Do you have any family out here in Colorado?
"My wife is here, we have this business together, and about three months into turning our lives upside down and moving across the country to Colorado to get into a federally illegal business, we found out we were pregnant...That December, in the first year in the business, we had our first daughter, Aspen, and it's like she's a cannabis baby. She's going to be 6 in December. One of her first words was O.penVape."
Andy Williams
#5 Andy Williams
Founder - Medicine Man
www.medicinemandenver.com
www.MedicineManTechnologies.com


Before starting one of the most successful brands of the marijuana industry, Andy Williams handled multimillion dollar projects as a Project Portfolio Manager for a large information company. Now a notable entrepreneur, he took the plunge into the cannabis industry alongside his brother, Pete Williams, who grew marijuana in his basement to care for patients. Williams found his brother's setup intriguing and realized the potential for a profitable business. Michelle Zeman, their mother supplied them with the start-up funding and the rest is history, specifically the history of the progressive dispensary and consulting chain: Medicine Man.

Building key relationships with scientific, pharmaceutically-trained professionals has set Medicine Man apart from the competition. Williams' focus on a high quality, consistent product and continuous innovation allows him to bring costs down without sacrificing quality --insights that operators in other, newly-legal states find invaluable. Standard operating procedures allow for complete control. "We control our inputs, we control the process, the climate, and the environment so if you come in 6 months later or a year later, it's going to be the same." He attributes his success to good planning, a unique business model, and being able to envision the future: "you can't get there unless you see it, and that's been some of our strong points, a team working together saying ok what's next in the cannabis industry and progressively moving towards it."


What do you do for fun here in Colorado?
"I don't drink. I used to ski but my knees don't like that anymore. We do a lot as a family. I have four kids now, two of mine, two of hers. We'll do things together whether it's going to the parks or going to the mountains. We like to travel; we're offered chances to travel a lot with this industry, so we see some nice places!"
Meg Sanders
#6 Meg Sanders
CEO - Mindful
bemindful.today


Both nationally and internationally known, Meg Sanders and her company Mindful, have been making waves in the cannabis industry since 2010. A true industry spokeswoman, Sanders has been featured in 60 Minutes, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, High Times and Rolling Stone. As one of the largest women-led cannabis companies in the United States, Mindful is on the map from Colorado to Illinois and leads the way in international cannabis consulting. Moving quickly, she explains that Mindful plans to double distribution and production over the next six months and will soon open America's largest legal extraction lab. One of her favorite experiences? Engaging with the White House, National Science Academy, and FBI in a workshop on the future of the bio-economy. This dialogue was actually the first time that cannabis was thoroughly debated as part of our national and bio-security.

The name "Mindful" itself derives from being mindful of yourself, your co-workers, the plant, the community and the customers. Dedicated to keeping a connection to the earth, Sanders still works in the Mindful vegetable garden where the produce grown is donated to all Mindful employees and surrounding neighborhoods. Not only is she passionate about medical marijuana, but Sanders is also an avid youth mentor within her community. She co-founded the Boulder Youth Football League and dedicated three years as the Boulder High School Football Booster Club president. Sanders vision for cannabis and Mindful has led to a company-wide focus on serving and advocating for patients, the LGBTQ community, women, and veterans.


What is the last book that you read and would recommend?
"I would recommend The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic by Ramesh Menon."
Steve Brooks
Listed Alphabetically
Steve Brooks
Owner - Lightshade
lightshade.com


Originally from Vero Beach, Steve Brooks considers Colorado his home. He officially made the westward move 22 years ago after college and never looked back. A previous builder, developer and business owner, Brooks developed many skillsets over the years that he in-turn applied to his newfound love for cultivation in the marijuana industry. When creating the first Lightshade dispensary in 2011, Brooks wanted to ensure that his customers had an unforgettable experience. Now, the all five Lightshade locations offer an abundance of natural light and parking as well as friendly employees, appealing to both the expert and novice consumer. The company's future looks bright as Brooks plans to expand into other states, following the progression of legalization and nationwide industry acceptance.

Personally, Brooks feels strongly about following your passions; he believes in striving for your goals despite the trials and tribulations along the way. "There have been times where I was in the thick of it and it would have been a lot easier to give up and walk away." One passion of his is The Jaime Beck Family Foundation, an organization he founded in remembrance of his sister who passed away from a brain aneurism. Providing support for affected families, Brooks and his team offer funding for preventative medicine, therapy, and emotional support.


Which presidential candidate do you support?
"Hillary Clinton, without a doubt. I'm a democrat, that's generally who I vote for anyways, that being said, I definitely align with most of her viewpoints. As far as towards this industry, I think her views are much more favorable than Donald trump. Of course, you know Bernie Sanders was completely aligned with our industry, but he's not our candidate, so my vote is for Hillary."
Max Cohen
Listed Alphabetically
Max Cohen
Founder - The Clinic (including The Lab and The Bank)
www.thecliniccolorado.com


Max Cohen first considered the business of cannabis as an owner of a real estate management company. In the early days of medical legalization, entrepreneurs contacted him, hoping to lease his properties as cultivation centers or medical marijuana dispensaries. After review, Cohen noticed they lacked a thorough business background and proper business plans. Proceeding to conduct research into the industry, he took a leap of faith and purchased one of the first licenses in Colorado and eventually opened his first location in a shopping center in November of 2009.

Initially catering to more of the connoisseur market, The Clinic was home to a higher price point product for many years. Recently, The Clinic decided to drop their prices, but never their quality, in order to stay competitive. As the market grew, so did business. Known in many states, The Clinic is licensed in Chicago and Las Vegas. Strategically choosing new dispensary homes "with good medical environments" is very important to Cohen. In five years, he hopes to be licensed and operating in five or six states. He owes his company's success to "running it like any other business: with a strong management team and strong accounting principles and practices." With full hearts, Cohen and his team give back to the National MS Society as they participate in the MS walk and contribute massive proceeds from their charity golf tournament every August. A true family man, Cohen has kept his loved ones on the front lines: His sister, Emily, is The Clinic's' Director of New Business Development and his brother, Dan, works with the company's real estate team.


What are your political views?
"Fiscally I'm very conservative, however I have concerns about the Republican Party and their candidate right now so I am supporting Hillary. I think what we get with her at worst is status quo for this industry, and we don't know what we're getting with Trump, and what he's going to do with medical marijuana."
Tim Cullen
Listed Alphabetically
Tim Cullen
CEO - Colorado Harvest Company
coloradoharvestcompany.com


For a CEO of one of the oldest and largest cannabis companies in town, Tim Cullen has a nontraditional background. He spent over a decade using his background in biology to teach students; then with his wife's support, Cullen took a risk that changed his life. In 2002 his father was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. After seeing the plant's beneficial effects first hand, Cullen legally registered to become his father's caregiver. He grew prime cannabis from his basement and, in the process, discovered his own green thumb. Then in 2004, Cullen himself was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and obtained his first medical marijuana card.

After gaining a highly compatible business partner in Ralph Morgan, Cullen and his venture, Colorado Harvest Company, took off. Starting on the dense "Green Mile" stretch on Broadway St. in Denver, differentiation was key. Colorado Harvest's guiding principle has been that exceptional customer service brings consumers back time and time again. To Cullen this mindset involves offering his employees an incredible benefits package and treating them like family. Cullen attributes his overall success to "making good business decisions, lots of hard work and luck." For his free time, Cullen prefers to spend his time outdoors with his wife and 4-year-old son. Skiing, white water rafting, camping and enjoying the mountains are his "play hard" tactics after he's worked hard all week long. Looking to the future, Cullen sees negative stigmas surrounding cannabis dropping from society and the more leniency from federal and state levels.


Who has been a positive influence in your life?
"Without a doubt, my wife first, she gave me the blessing to do this. I came home one day and told her what I was thinking about and she said you'll always be able to get another teaching job, but this might be something that never happens to you again, you should try it. None of this would've happened without her. The second person is my business partner, Ralph Morgan, just an outstanding individual, we just make good decisions together, he's a hard worker, he's a very intelligent person, he's easy to sit down and have a hard conversation with."
Bob Eschino and Rick Scarpello
Bob Eschino and Rick Scarpello
Founders - incredibles
iloveincredibles.com


Founders of one of the earliest and well-known edible companies in the game, Bob Eschino and Rick Scarpello had the expertise that the marijuana industry needed. With almost 20 years of packaging experience, Eschino brought logistic maneuverability to the table. On the other side of the partnership, Scarpello knew how to establish and run a regulated kitchen through his experience managing one of the largest bakeries in Denver. Together they make a powerful pair in the edibles market and own the thriving business now in four different states: incredibles. These decadent infused products lead the industry in THC consistency and are responsibly packaged. Eschino believes edibles weren't popular in the past because people "were afraid of them; they were getting over medicated because edibles weren't packaged properly, labeled properly, dosed properly, and weren't in regulated kitchens." Like other current industry leaders, incredibles had to deal with early hurdles such as the sheer lack of available leasing options, bank loans and even credit card opportunities. The duo feels that the industry is slowly changing, and with legislation gradually shifting to pro-cannabis, those same hesitant banks and property owners will come around to making it a fair playing field. Both at home and in the workplace, they express a deep appreciation of family. They take pride in bringing hardworking people from their past businesses to build the solid incredibles family. In the future, they're expecting to legally "ship over state lines, we want to be able to set up in every state that allows legal cannabis."


Which presidential candidate do you support?
Scarpello: "I was just looking at this in my office before one of my employees showed up, I was considering posting it online saying, I, Rick, the CEO, support Gary Johnson, he's got my vote. I can't support those other two, it's more of the same, so to me, Gary Johnson would be real change for the first time in the white house."
Eschino: "I agree - the two front runners are both a nightmare."
Rodney Hurlbut
Listed Alphabetically
Rodney Hurlbut
Owner - Sticky Buds
stickybuds5280.com


Growing up in a small, conservative town in Kansas, Rodney Hurlbut had bigger dreams and decided to make the move to Denver in 1978. With a background in real estate and land development, he decided to broaden his entrepreneurial horizon in early 2009 by jumping into the marijuana industry. First, he helped people get their medical cards. After connecting with expert growers, he then opened Sticky Buds, a successful chain with two stores in the Denver Metro area. Given the intensifying competition, Hurlbut knew from the beginning that customer service would be the most crucial factor for success: "We really take time to talk to customers when they come in to find out what they're trying to achieve, then get them pointed in the right direction and that has worked very well. We know they have a lot of different choices, we want to give them a reason to think of Sticky Buds first." That mentality, paired with an excellent referral program, put the company on the cannabis map.

In five years, Hurlbut knows the industry will be vastly changed, so his philosophy is to not get too comfortable and to always think outside the box. He views the ever-shifting industry as a source of excitement for himself and his employees rather than a burden. As for the future of the nation? It looks like Hurlbut is leaning towards Trump this year. "But I'll tell ya what, it's a crazy expression of where our country is at, that these are the two best candidates that we can come up with."


What is the last book that you read and would recommend?
"Napoleon Hills' Think and Grow Rich, which I have read at least 10 times. I read it when I first graduated from college, it was recommended to me by one of my mentors. How to Win Friends and Influence People - I've ready that probably 10 times as well, and gave them both to my daughters when they graduated from college."
Matthew Huron
Listed Alphabetically
Matthew Huron
Founder - Good Chemistry
goodchem.org


Matthew Huron is a Berkeley graduate with an entrepreneurial background and a passion for enabling medical marijuana access to those in need. Matthew Huron's first meaningful experience with cannabis came in 2000 when both his father and his father's partner began using the plant to gain relief from severe symptoms of HIV. Witnessing the amazing effects first-hand, Huron became a full believer. Shortly thereafter, Huron opened a small non-profit medical marijuana co-op with his father in the California Bay Area. In 2008 both his father and his father's partner passed away; Huron retained his fervor for this alternative form of treatment. Due to the lack of regulation in California and progress of legalization in Colorado, Huron decided to move his business to Denver. Now with Good Chemistry's highly acclaimed nursery program and two thriving dispensary locations, Huron's plan to help those in need is in full effect. Good Chemistry uses experienced cultivators to produce superior products without pricing tiers. Huron believes this model helps transfer the savings onto the customer without having to sacrifice quality. In five years, Huron expresses his desire to see "the expansion of Good Chemistry and Good Chemistry nurseries" and hopes to be known as "the premier cannabis nursery with a reputation of producing premium quality products and a known passion for production and operational excellence." If you're looking for your next excellent read, Huron recommends Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.


What are some of your favorite things to do in Colorado?
"I enjoy snowboarding, road biking and traveling, and I love visiting other cultures."
Ron Kolb
Listed Alphabetically
Ron Kolb
Founder and CEO - Sensi Media Group
www.sensimag.com


Rob Kolb's career in publishing spans two decades. Prior to founding Sensi Media Group, he cofounded a publication that expanded internationally to 600 markets. In 2015, after a visit to Colorado, he began looking into cannabinoid therapy to treat his son's Asperger's. His son responded in a nearly miraculous fashion, which prompted Kolb to move his family from Florida to the Centennial State.

After living in Colorado for just a short time, Kolb noticed a predominant theme in marijuana magazines: a sole focus on recreational cannabis culture and where to find the most potent buds. Kolb sensed the cannabis industry could reach a wider audience if it pushed itself beyond its current boundaries and into the American mainstream. This idea led to Sensi Media Group, which would "chronicle the new normal and shift the culture." Sensi Media Group's flagship publication, Sensi Magazine, is a lifestyle publication that treats cannabis as an everyday part of life. As the company moves forward, Kolb utilizes Sensi not only to integrate the cannabis industry into the mainstream, but also to help startups, established businesses, and activist organizations network and coordinate with one another. Eventually, he plans to place Sensi Magazine in 200 cities around the world, each specifically tailored to that area, its culture, and its identity.


What is the last book that you read and would recommend?
"How to Win friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I think the art of communication and working with others and adding value has really been lost. And it's the second bestselling book in the history of the world next to The Bible, so if you haven't read it, How to Win friends and Influence People is pretty good book to pick up and read."
David Maddalena
Listed Alphabetically
David Maddalena
Founder & CEO - The Hemp Connoisseur
www.thcmag.com


Growing up in Boston, David Maddalena worked in a wide variety of industries from professional acting to managing bars and restaurants. He first plunged into the Colorado cannabis space in 2009 as partner and lead salesman for Connect2Cannabis. Over time he noticed the massive inefficiency of ordering infused products and thus founded Nexus Meds to fill this gap. This online shopping platform rapidly grew to over 350 products in under five months' time. But what really put him on the map was his entry into the publishing space. After dealing with a local cannabis magazine, Maddalena knew that he could produce higher quality work while expanding the industry culture. "We were the first to reject ads for the nature of their content." That meant no women with bikinis using their bodies to sell medicine. The Hemp Connoisseur is a brand that people can always feel comfortable with: "a magazine that an adult can have on their coffee table, and it doesn't matter who is coming to visit, they're not going to hide it." Besides this clean, inclusive approach, he points to his marathon mentality as the reason for his success: "we've kind of outpaced the competition in the long run because we kept to our guns in journalistic integrity." Looking ahead, Maddalena is especially excited for the future of hemp and the emergence of The Hemp Connoisseur multimedia media brand that will soon spread across the nation.


What is the last book that you read and would recommend?
"If I had not read this book I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing. The Emperor Wears no Clothes by Jack Herer. Anybody who is serious about the cannabis industry should have this on their bookshelf."
Amy Poinsett & Jessica Billingsley
Amy Poinsett & Jessica Billingsley
Founders - MJ Freeway Business Solutions
www.mjfreeway.com


With an immense passion for technology and the medicinal value of cannabis, Amy Poinsett and Jessica Billingsley set out in 2010 to establish a smooth platform, connecting business owners with inventory control processes and grow management applications. Now, MJ Freeway is a prominent software businesses use for tracking cannabis from the seed all the way to sale in 23 states and 4 other countries. When not running their brainchild, Poinsett, a former web developer, and Billingsley, a savvy software developer, gain accolades for their public speaking. "While we know cannabis can treat illnesses and improve quality of life, there's not enough data-driven cannabis treatment of medical conditions," so they continue to push for more scientific research like The National Cancer Institute's cannabinoid study. To them, only solid data will legitimize cannabis as a medicine. Looking ahead, the duo is excited to see the inevitable explosion of industry growth that follows the application of predictive analytics. They are leading the way using their vast stores of data on the current market. Currently, they are "using our size and scale for good by partnering with some of our clients on research and whitepapers to provide information and education to the public." Their overall goal is to improve cannabis production, business efficiency and product availability.


What are some of your favorite things to do in Colorado?
Poinsett: "I'm a dive master and fine arts painter.
Billingsley: "My loves are rock climbing and raising my young daughter here in Denver."
Jacob (Jake) Salazar
Listed Alphabetically
Jacob (Jake) Salazar
CEO - MMJ America (including Vault Genetics and Blue Label Holdings)
mmjamerica.com


Owner of one of the oldest licenses in the industry, Jake Salazar started MMJ America back in 2007, and really got off the ground in 2009. Their seed company, Vault Genetics, began in 2012 and provides MMJ America with prime cannabis cultivated by selective breeding. Avid marijuana users who always personally sought the very best seeds and flower, Salazar and his team first mastered their cultivation strategies. They weren't interested in rushing into the market just to increase brand visibility. Instead their top priority was growing, optimistic that this long-term strategy would bring in patients and consumers. Salazar hopes to see MMJ America as a nationally recognized brand in five years, and with 18 Cannabis Cups already under his belt, he is on the right path. Early in the game, Salazar foresaw the potential of the industry and fought through the criticism of naysayers who are "now trying to invest in our company." He attributes his own success to his wife who supported him in the hardest times. Another aid has been his life-mentor and renowned lawyer, Mark Brian. "Every major transaction that has unfolded, or anything I've ever done business-wise, he has helped me with." In his free time, Salazar likes to stay very active with wakeboarding, snowboarding, baseball and a lot of golfing.


What are some of your favorite things to do in Colorado?
"I'm active, man! I live on a wakeboard and water skis, snow skis and snowboard. I'm an avid golfer and definitely a boxer. I play baseball, not much anymore - but definitely grew up playing baseball."
Ean Seeb
Listed Alphabetically
Ean Seeb
Co-Owner, Co-Founder - Denver Relief
www.denverrelief.com


This third-generation Denver native is co-owner and co-founder of one of the earliest dispensaries in the Denver area: Denver Relief. He also serves on the Board of Directors of MassRoots, a rising app for marijuana enthusiasts, and is a co-founder of The Green Team, a volunteer group of cannabis professionals and consumers. Ean Seeb has always had a passion for the industry and began helping medical marijuana patients in the early stages of legalization, prior to licensing laws in 2008. The real game changer for both Seeb and Denver Relief came in the form of the remarkable new strain, Bio Diesel. "Premium quality flowers and inventing this strain really got us on the map very early in the industry." This careful cultivation won praise from connoisseurs as well as several awards including a Medical Marijuana Harvest Cup and a Cannabis Cup. In fact, through this strain, Denver Relief won the first award to any dispensary in the state of Colorado. With a passion for nationwide cannabis acceptance, Seeb waits for the day when hundreds of thousands of first time drug offenders incarcerated on marijuana charges will be able to return to their loved ones: "that is more exciting than any other economic gain while in this industry." Looking forward, he is excited for continuous growth with all of his companies. He will continue to be a strong activist and advocate for the industry, hoping to one day see the "walls of prohibition crumbling," revealing a safer, more reasonable country. He owes his success to hard work, transparency and "being a strong advocate for what's right versus what's right for me."


Has there been positive influencers in your life that have helped you along the way?
"Absolutely, my elementary school librarian, Dev Robin, is her name, both of my parents, my mentors in many of the associations that I work with, Scott Levin from the ADL. Susan Kramer, who has taught me a lot about philanthropy and being a better person."
Chris Woods
Listed Alphabetically
Chris Woods
Owner - Terrapin Care Station
terrapincarestation.com


This mathematician's passion for numbers has helped him navigate the bumpy roads of the cannabis industry. As owner of the 4-store dispensary chain, Terrapin Care Station, Chris Woods feels that a focus on the consumer as a complete person is what sets his company apart from other industry power players. "I am incredibly proud to build a new kind of company that is also a part of the movement towards a more economically and socially just society." Following these ideals, he ensures that Terrapin engages with non-profit organizations within each community they serve, offers competitive pricing for quality products, and focuses on an active lifestyle. As a result, the company's "consumers and community partners are as proud of Terrapin as we are." Beginning in 2010, this booming business held one of the first medical marijuana licensees in the state. Terrapin then opened the first retail dispensary in Boulder and was also the first business to hold a retail marijuana license in the city of Aurora. As the general society gets more comfortable with the marijuana industry, Woods is looking forward to cannabis hospitality; "people should have a place to consume cannabis and socialize. We look forward to being an important part of that discussion." To unwind, Woods takes advantage of the Colorado outdoors. "I enjoy running as I did it competitively at Penn State and it's a great way to explore local trails. I also enjoying skiing, camping, and seeing music."


Which presidential candidate do you support?
"I join the marijuana policy project in Endorsing Gary Johnson for President."
Also Nominated

Julie Berliner, Owner
Sweet Grass Kitchen
Julie Dooley, Owner
Julie's Natural Edibles
Dylan Donaldson, Owner
Ally Feiler, Founder/CEO
Kiri Humphrey, Owner
Corey Inniss, Owner
Wanda James, President
Cannabis Global Initiative
Kristi Kelly, Owner
Good Meds
Mike Kwesell, Owner
Karin Lazarus, Owner
Sweet Mary Jane
Robert Lucero, Owner
Mitch Maltz, CEO
Peggy Moore, Owner
Love's Oven
Neil Pacther, Owner
Michael Quattrone, Owner
Guy Rocourt, Co-founder
Brian Ruden, Owner
Gabe Sarikov, Owner
Kyle Sherman, Co-owner
Flowhub
Nicole Smith, Founder/President
Mary's Medicinals
Kyle Speidell, CEO
Joel Stanley, CEO
CW Botanicals
Aeron Sullivan, Founder
Tradiv
Tom Wilczynski, Owner
Brooke Wise, Co-owner
Growing Kitchen
Mitch and Eva Woolhiser, Owners
Northern Lights Cannabis Company
Michael Scialfo, General Manager (Aurora)
Joe Atencio, General Manager

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