Presented by Chronogram and The River Newsroom, in partnership with Etain.

Cannabis is increasingly available nationwide for both medical and recreational use. New York, where the plant is currently decriminalized, is likely to be among the next states to join one of the least understood, and, at times controversial, socioeconomic booms of the century to date—legal cannabis.

We chat with representatives from Massachusetts, where recreational marijuana has been in play since 2017, and those currently participating in New York’s cannabis market through medical marijuana and CBD products about their experiences, thoughts on the benefits of legalization, hardships of starting up, and more.

Moderated by Chronogram editorial director Brian K. Mahoney.

Panelists for this event include:

Meg Sanders, CEO, Canna Provisions

Meg Sanders is the co-founder and CEO of Canna Provisions, a cannabis retailer based in Massachusetts. She oversees all operations, but has a particular passion for store design, customer service experience, and employee training. As a leader in the legal cannabis movement, Meg has been featured on National Public Radio and in Rolling Stone, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, “60 Minutes,” Der Spiegel, High Times, and other prominent media outlets.

Marcus Williams, VP of Community Growth Partners, Rebelle

Marcus’ company Community Growth Partners is a women-and-minority owned cannabis company dedicated to empowering communities impacted by cannabis criminalization. Marcus’ knowledge on cannabis enabled Community Growth Partners to implement an e-commerce platform that is unique to Massachusetts and integral to CGP’s brand strategy. Community Growth Partners brand Rebelle is their inaugural lifestyle and wellness brand with an East Coast ethos focused on high style, education, and social justice.

Hillary Peckham, COO of Etain

Hillary Peckham is COO of Etain Health. Her leadership style and contributions to Etain’s strategic planning resulted in Etain’s original success in attaining a medical marijuana license in New York. Hillary’s leadership of Etain and contributions to the company’s license application has made her the youngest individual to be awarded a medical marijuana license in the country.

Melissa Moore, New York State Director of Drug Policy Alliance

Melissa Moore’s 15 years of experience managing media and campaign strategy for progressive nonprofits focused on criminal justice reform, poverty, community-led international development, and resource rights shape her role at Drug Policy Alliance. Melissa has been working with Governor Cuomo and the legislature to implement cannabis legalization from a social justice lens.

Andi Novick, President, NY Small Farma Ltd.

Andi has a strong passion and appreciation for cannabis as a plant—how it’s grown and its impact on the environment, not to mention people’s health. Andi has long researched the healing power of cannabis and has been committed to seizing the opportunity for legalization. As the President of NY Small Farma Ltd. Andi continues working to ensure social and environmental justice for cannabis in New York, including promoting microbusinesses and regenerative businesses to ensure the participation of equity applicants in the new legal marijuana business field.

Gail Hepworth, CEO Hempire State Growers

Gail Hepworth and her twin sister Amy founded Hempire State Growers 2019. Amy and Gail are also the owners of Hepworth Farms, a family-owned business established in 1818, growing 550 acres of certified organic vegetables. Hempire State Growers is a vertically integrated business, specializing in growing high quality, organically grown feminized Cannabis flower. Hempire State Growers extracts the CBD oil and other Cannabinoids on their farm and recently opened their retail shop in Milton NY selling their own CBD product lines as well as other local Cannabis brands.

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