July 17, 2019 – Washington, D.C. – PRESS RELEASE – With conversations about cannabis taking place across the country, a new group has launched to educate and advocate for accessibility and inclusiveness as policy conversations move to legalization and regulation for the cannabis industry. The mission of the Access + Innovation Project, a federal campaign guided by a diverse, all-women advisory board of recognized industry leaders, is to develop a modern and comprehensive regulatory model for the cannabis industry and ensure that small businesses, women and people of color continue to play a leadership role in the industry.
The development of the cannabis industry in states where it is legal has been dominated by entrepreneurs who are women and people of color. The Access + Innovation Project will work to achieve a sustainable federal regulatory framework for cannabis that reflects the diversity of its many stakeholders and is designed to ensure that everyone has an active voice in the policy debates over the industry’s future.
Lacking in the federal conversation about cannabis is a sustainable long-game plan for regulating the industry. The Project supports federal policy that advances states’ rights, product and safety standards, social equity measures and most uniquely, unites capitalism with inclusion. The Project will help guide the conversation and work collaboratively with existing advocacy groups involved in federal advocacy for the legalization of cannabis.
The Project’s advisory board members are eight accomplished leaders in the cannabis industry, all recognized for their exceptional contributions to the field.
- Joyce Cenali – Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Big Rock Partners in San Francisco, Calif. Big Rock is a strategic advisory and investment firm serving companies and investors that has supported many of the Bay Area’s leading cannabis brands.
- Christine De La Rosa – Co-founder and CEO of the People’s Dispensary, in Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore. De La Rosa is an entrepreneur and respected advocate for the chronically ill, people of color, women, the formerly incarcerated and the LGBTQ community.
- Kimberly Dillon – Founder of Plant and Prosper in Los Angeles, Calif., Kimberly led marketing for one of California's leading cannabis brands and currently consults with cannabis brands, retailers and investors. She has been called a "Pioneer of CBD" by Marie Claire.
- Mara Gordon – Founder and CEO of Aunt Zelda’s, Bodega Bay, Calif. Aunt Zelda’s has provided medical cannabis products to thousands of patients seeking relief. Gordon was recently featured in the TEDx talk, Cannabis: Separating the Science From the Hype.
- Erin Gore – Founder and CEO of Garden Society, Sonoma, Calif. Founded in 2016, Garden Society offers high quality cannabis products for women that connect responsible farming, sustainable ingredients and strain-specific cannabis.
- Gaynell Rogers – Co-founder of Treehouse Global Ventures, a women-led private equity firm based in Nevada City, Calif., that invests in cannabis companies founded by women and minorities. Rogers was named Influencer of the Year in 2018 by Industry Power Women.
- Sue Taylor – A Bay area entrepreneur, Taylor is a founder and owner of a senior-focused cannabis dispensary in Berkeley, Calif. Taylor has devoted her career to education and advocacy focusing on removing the stigma of cannabis for seniors, by speaking against the devastating impact of opioids. Taylor was appointed as a Commissioner on Aging in California in 2012.
- Melissa Wilcox - Secretary and founding member of CANN, the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision of the American Chemical Society's Chemical Health and Safety Division. CANN’s mission is to improve safety standards and Cannabis industry practices.
The Access + Innovation Project will be managed by Washington D.C. government relations firm, TwinLogic Strategies, in conjunction with Strategic Advisor, Tami Wahl. Wahl is an attorney with more than a decade of experience in herbal product compliance and regulation.