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VIRGIL GRANT III

The Los Angeles Times refers to Virgil Grant as ”the de facto leader of the cannabis industry.” MG Magazine called him “the King of Los Angeles.”

 

Virgil Grant, III co-founded the California Minority Association, a leading civic engagement organization, to guide minority equitable interests throughout the cannabis space with education, economic opportunity and strong results-oriented advocacy work. Grant, has also unified the entire southern California cannabis community as co-founder and President of the Southern California Coalition (SCC), the region’s largest most inclusive cannabis industry trade organization.
 

On March 7th, 2017, Grant’s organizations united the City of Los Angeles’ government, communities and cannabis stakeholders together, ushering the landslide passage of LA City Proposition M, which sets new precedents for the world’s largest cannabis market with responsible guidelines, regulations and licensing. Civic municipalities like Los Angeles, have entrusted to Virgil, guidance in drafting their ordinance and regulations with his wide-ranging expert insight and knowledge of the industry.


Grant is a longtime pioneer of the legal cannabis industry for over two decades, as owner/operator of up to one time, six medical marijuana dispensaries. With his multi-faceted cannabis business experience, Virgil specializes in establishing commercial sites in all cannabis market sectors from construction, licensing and permits to grand opening from the state of California to other states throughout the U.S.
 

Virgil Grant ongoing activism efforts to codify the cannabis industry interests into “safe and sane”
legislation at the local municipal, state and national level continues as one of the founders and a former steering committee member for the Greater of the Los Angeles Caregivers Alliance (GLACA), a member of America for Safe Access (ASA), board member of Patient Advocacy Network (PAN) and as an active committee member of the NAACP.

 

Recently, Grant joined his SCC co-founder Donnie Anderson, who also chairs the California Minority Alliance, in receiving the California State Assembly's Community Pioneer Award during the 2017 California Democrats State Convention, where they were honored for their work helping Los Angeles to get a handle on its cannabis industry, as annotated in a June 2017 Forbes magazine feature story.

DONNIE ANDERSON

  • California Minority Association(CMA) - Chairman

  • NAACP California/Hawaii - Chair • Cannabis Task Force

  • California Growers Association - Founding Board Member

As Chairman of the California Minority Association, Donnie Anderson, brings a wealth of executive experience by leading market sectors within urban music, film/television and new media entertainment mediums for over 25 years.

Donnie’s executive career highlights include promoting musical artists such as Scarface to double-platinum status, management of chart-topping rap recording artist Snoop Dogg, and managing multi-platinum producers who have produced tracks for Snoop, Madonna, Brian McKnight, and more. Donnie’s music executive profile includes VP of A&R for MCA/Universal Records and music A&R consulting for record label chiefs Clive Davis and Bryan Turner (Priority Records).

Mr. Anderson’s TV/Film/Media background encompasses music supervision, marketing, executive and creative consultant credits for films “Baby Boy,” “Save the Last Dance,” and “Road Dogs,”. Donnie is also notable as a cast member/consultant for gaming industry hit, “Grand Theft Auto V” and recently as Executive Producer of the 2017 film “The Growhouse”; a hilarious send-up on the explosion of the personal cannabis growing trade.

With over 10 years’ involvement of advocacy and activism in the cannabis reform movement, Donnie in 2015 was appointed by Ms. Alice Huffman to chair the NAACP California-Hawaii’s Cannabis Task Force. Donnie has embraced this role in guiding the cannabis industry to become a newly legal and powerful economic force as a founding board member of the California Growers Association, co-founder of the Southern California Coalition and Chairman of the California Minority Alliance (CMA). Along with advocacy leader Virgil Grant, Donnie has been instrumental in driving key legislative initiatives including an overwhelming 80% landslide victory with Los Angeles licensing Proposition M. Mr. Anderson through his work with CMA and fellow coalition organizations is keen on advancing equal opportunity representation of marijuana reform policy initiatives and commercial enterprise endeavors for all socio-economic

groups.

ALICE HUFFMAN

Alice A. Huffman is a grassroots leader at the local and national level, a manager, a consultant, a community bridge between government policy makers and the community. She was elected president of the California Hawaii NAACP in 1999 and has won 8 consecutive elections. She is also a member of the National Board of the NAACP. She runs her own consulting firm founded in 1988, AC Public Affairs, Inc.

 

She is a past appointee of three democratic and republican governors. She currently assists the Governor in a volunteer capacity in his appointment of African Americans in state government and judiciary positions. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the American University of Antigua and a founding member and President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Democratic Participation. 

 

She is a member of the California Democratic Party Executive Committee, and Co-chair of the Rules Committee; and a member of the Democratic National Committee since 1988 and a Super Delegate to the national conventions. She also served as Chair of the 2008 National Convention in Boston.

 

Huffman formerly served as a member of the current elected Attorney General’s transition team; The State Parks and Recreation Commission; Member of the University of California President’s Council on Campus Climate, Culture, & Inclusion; The Secretary of State’s California Complete Count Committee for the 2010 Census; and Grand Marshall of the San Francisco’s Gay Pride Parade.

 

Huffman, a high school dropout, was admitted to UC Berkeley as an EOP student from which she graduated in 2 ½ years with honors in Social and Cultural Anthropology. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Kappa Sorority.  She did extensive graduate work in University of Pennsylvania, U.C. Davis in Anthropology and USC in Public Administration.  

 

She has many national and state distinguished awards. The most recent received was the CA Legislative Black Caucus Heritage and Legends Award; numerous awards awarded to her community work, work on behalf of the gay community and efforts to regulate cannabis.  

 

Annually she was included in the 100 most influential California by the Sacramento Observer, and the Capitol Weekly and twice the recipient of The National NAACP Thalheimer Award for the best state conference in the nation.

 

Huffman a widower, devotes a significant amount of her time to the NAACP specializing in organizational development and leadership training.   

DARREN W. PARKER

Darren Parker is a loyal Public Servant, visionary Small Business Owner, and committed Father.

Darren Parker has served as an influential leader for more than 30 years. He has been honored numerous times by both the President pro Tempore(s) of the Senate and California State Assembly Speaker(s). He has also been appointed to various boards and agencies including the City of Lancaster’s Citizens General Plan Advisory Commission by Mayor Hon. Bishop Henry Hearns as well as the Antelope Valley Fair Board appointed by Governor Gray Davis and Governor Jerry Brown.

As a resident of the Antelope Valley, for over 25 years, Darren works tirelessly with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to better the community. Darren has focused on education, equal rights, public safety, smart business growth, improving the quality of life for our Veterans, green energy and agriculture. 

Darren is one of the founding members of the Antelope Valley Human Relations Commission and was elected President for 18 consecutive terms. There he built substantial relationships with Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, the City of Lancaster, the City of Palmdale, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, businesses and the community to establish the Neighbor Dispute Resolution Program, which provides dispute resolution services and holds city officials accountable to the community. 

Parker was nominated and appointment Chairman by Lancaster mayor, R. Rex Parris, to the city of Lancaster’s Architectural Committee. The Lancaster City Council formed the committee to develop architectural guidelines for future residential, commercial, and industrial construction. Darren has also served on the Antelope Valley College Citizens Oversight Review Commission as Chairman, Antelope Valley NAACP as President and the Los Angeles County Commission for the Department of Children and Families as the Vice Chairman.

Darren is serving his 6th term as elected  statewide Chairman of the California Democratic Party’s African American Caucus and has worked with the last 3 Presidents of the United States on varies issues facing local government and education, including the “My Brother’s Keeper” program  with President Obama. Parker continues to serve as the elected CA State executive board member for the 36th AD and as the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Region 1 Secretary. 

Darren also serves on the Eastside School District Advisory Council, Antelope Valley Union High School District Advisory Council, Palmdale School District African American Advisory Council and is an AVID (Advanced Via Individual Determination) Community Liaison. Darren raised funds to support safe schools, teen summits and "Increase the Peace Day" events.

In his role as Special Assistant to the Speaker of the California State Assembly, Darren faithfully collaborates with state elected officials of both houses to find common sense solutions to some of California’s biggest challenges.

Darren has been honored by the Anti-Defamation League, High Desert Alliance of Black School Educators, CA Association of Human Relations Organizations, City of Lancaster, City of Palmdale, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation, labor unions and numerous local, state, and federal elected officials. He received the Antelope Valley Interfaith Council Certificate of Recognition, African American Community and Labor Leaders “Visionary Award” and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Darren served as an active member in the Communication Workers of America Union during his 30-year career at AT & T. He was appointed to the Executive Board, elected Vice President, and then promoted to the  Communication Workers of America International Staff Representative and went on to become the first African American Political Director for CWA District 9. He is now a CWA Lifetime Retiree.
A former small business owner of The Parker Group, LLC, Darren is known for his track record of excellence and achievements. He understands that leadership requires the capability to fully access and understand the issues at hand, communicate a clear vision and the ability to pull people together to accomplish a common goal.

Darren and his wife have been married for 32 years and have 5 daughters and 5 granddaughters. He serves as a deacon at Livingstone Cathedral of Worship Church.

HON. GWEN MOORE

  • CEO

  • GeM Communications Group

As Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GeM Communications Group, Ms. Moore is the primary consultant, working with clients to develop and implement legislative strategies, public affairs and community outreach programs. Assist companies in becoming certified wmbe businesses and promoting diversity opportunities for business.

Prior to founding GeM Communications Group, Ms. Moore distinguished herself in the California Legislature as a member of the California Assembly for 16 productive years. She served as Majority Whip and gained a national reputation as Chair of the prestigious Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee which had jurisdiction over the California cable television industry, emerging business enterprises, international trade and tourism, California ports, Trucking Industry, and all investor-owned utilities including water, telecommunications, and energy.

Currently she serves as She is 1 st Vice President of the California State Conference of the NAACP, and Co-Vice Chair Ca Utility Diversity Council. She is Chair of CA Black Business Association of She serves on numerous local and national boards including among others NAACP National Board of Directors, California Zero Divide Foundation, California Small Business Association, National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women and the Los Angeles African American Women’s Political Policy Institute. She is a member of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators’ Corporate Round Table. She has been inducted into the CA NAACP Hall of Fame in Sacramento.

She just completed three terms on the California State Bar Board of Governors. Gwen Moore’s dedication, diligence and commitment to finding solutions have brought honors and awards from diverse arenas: U.S. Department of Commerce, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Professional Communication Association, California Independent Gas Producers’ Association, California Trucking Association, California Hunger Action Coalition, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Los Angeles African American Women Political Action Committee and Legislator of the Year NBCSL. She received the prestigious Black Rose Award from the National League of Black Women,

the Business of the Year from the Black Business Association, the Leadership California’s

State Leader Award and numerous other awards.

MIEKO HESTER PEREZ

  • President, CA Corporate & Attorney Services, Inc.

  • Board Member, NORML Women’s Alliance

  • Co-Founder, The Unconventional Foundation for Autism

  • Educational Director, From the Earth Collective CA Retired Scientific Advisor, Cannabis Science Inc.

In 2009, Mieko Hester-Perez decided to go public with her son's success with medical cannabis and since that day in 2009, she has become a source of inspiration and information for families looking to explore unconventional and holistic treatment options within the autism spectrum. Mieko diligently leads the pack with tremendous knowledge regarding laws, regulations, products and a plethora of family resource options. She possesses personal knowledge and experience navigating through treatment options resulting in positive outcomes for families throughout the world. Although medical marijuana is not known to be a cure for autism, it has proven to facilitate life for her son and has ushered him into documented progressive development.

The combination of 20 years of legal experience and over 15 years of special education knowledge, make Mieko a modern day “warrior mom” within the industry. As Co-Founder of UF4A.org, she consults with families, autism organizations, universities and healthcare professionals. In 2012, Mieko was awarded the Evelyn DuPont Award for improving the lives of children with autism and she has also received special recognition from Congress for her many hours of community service and dedication. She most recently was also the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Advocate Award at the Chalice Festival.

Her expertise in cannabis consulting with special needs families has made her an ideal board member on the NORML’s Woman’s Alliance, which is one of the most progressive and respected marijuana organizations internationally. In 2015, Mieko was placed on the Advisory Board for Acology Inc. and created a custom, FDA approved, child-resistant container to house “Joey’s Strain”, a specific cannabis strain for persons on the autism spectrum. Mieko is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Cannabis Science, Inc. representing the voice for patient-centered focus regarding clinical decisions.

In 2016, Mieko participated in and endorsed Costa Mesa’s Measure W for safe, quality medical marijuana access in the city. Mieko and Joey’s journey were featured in pamphlets and commercials throughout the campaign.

Mieko is currently participating in a funding campaign with a collaboration of Israeli moms, American moms and cannabis advocates to get medical cannabis treatment accessible for children and adults with Autism. The goal of the campaign is to fund essential research to make it a “Qualifying Condition” around the world. Israel is a groundbreaking state in medical cannabis research and Mieko supports the campaign and has brought attention to it with her professional and personal expertise in the subject.

In 2016, Mieko developed The Joey Network introducing the first cannabis and autism-centered app made available for patients throughout the world. This app was created as an informational tool for families and medical professionals, who have exhausted all other treatment options associated with treating autism symptoms. Updates on cannabis news and media clips are also included within the app.

Mieko has participated as a key speaker and panel expert at many engagements throughout the United States including Canna Tech 2017 in Tel Aviv Israel, the 2016 Palliative Care Education Endowment for Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California, 2016 AutismOne conference, 2015 West Hollywood Cannabis Educational Forum and the 2012 Cypress Hill Smoke Out Festival.

In 2017 Mieko joined the World Cannabis Conference and Expo Abracadabs Festival, as their global Community Outreach Program Director. Also, in 2017 she become the Educational Director at From the Earth Collective in California, continuing to walk families and physicians through the doors of collectives with safe access, knowledgeable staff and products geared towards the special needs family patient base.

Joey and Mieko’s journey has been featured on a number of shows including FOX Morning News, The Doctors, The Dr. Juan Rivera Show, NBC, CBS, Good Morning America, ABC’s 20/20, Motherboard, Vice Media and The National Marijuana News. Their story aired internationally on The Columbian Latin American News Network, Univision, Telemundo, Cannabis Capitol TV, ABC Fusion Channel and Australia’s number one morning show in the United Kingdom.

Medical Cannabis Journal, High Times, Kush, Spectrum Magazine and other cannabis-based publications have featured Mieko as a pioneer to this ground breaking treatment. In April of 2015, Mieko was named among some of the most influential woman in the cannabis movement by Skunk Magazine. Mieko was also recently featured in OC Weekly, ENDOCA, Generosity, Huffington Post, Leafly.com and Medical Jane.

Deep within her soul Mieko feels blessed to have Joey as her son and she strives every single day to share their journey. Today Joey is flourishing with new communicative expressions and he’s happier, healthier, better behaved and is more productive than ever before.

Mieko pledges to “leave no family behind” and every single day her mission is to help families improve the quality of life for their loved ones through unconventional treatments.

TYRONE FREEMAN

  • Expertise/Strategic Business Development

  • Consultant/ Leadership Expert/Speaker,

  • "Turnaround" Management Expert

 

Transformational leader, business leadership consultant. Tyrone Freeman led AFL-CIO affiliates with over 200,000 members, served as board member for International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), California Prison Industry Board, Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles Fire Commissioner, Employment Training Panel, City of Los Angeles Wage Commission, and Chair Los Angeles, SCLC. He has been honored with Los Angeles John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, Instituto Laboral De La Raza Leadership Award, SCLC Drum Major Award, and named 1996 Time Magazine Leader revitalizing the Labor Movement just to name a few. He created and founded the California Long-Term Care Education Center, and Housing Trust Fund which led the development of a mega-affordable housing complex in Compton, CA. He holds a DBA, MBA, two BAs and an AA, is a licensed Sports Agent, and currently the principal of Maven Innovative Consultancy, LLC, a California boutique consulting firm.

MATT HASKIN

Matt Haskin is the co-founder and CEO of CannaSafe Analytics. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Columbia State University and has extensive experience in both domestic and international business. A visionary entrepreneur, Matt struck upon the concept of a medical cannabis laboratory after observing close family and friends struggle with concerns over the safety of the cannabis they used as medicine. With no industry established protocols or methods for testing cannabis, Matt set out to develop a lab that would set the standard and earn the trust of its clients. This was accomplished when CannaSafe Analytics became the first cannabis laboratory in the United States to be awarded an ISO 17025:2005 accreditation. In February 2015 Matt was appointed Vice Chair of the Independent Laboratory Advisory Committee to the state of Nevada. The Committee makes policy recommendations on the state’s medical marijuana program. Matt is also a member of the AOCS Cannabis Expert Panel, sits on the board of directors of the California Minority Alliance and a member of the Green Standard Working Group. He was honored to be nominated and evaluated for the position of Bureau Chief of the California Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation.

SENATOR RICHARD G. POLANCO

Richard G. Polanco is a former California State Senate Majority leader and member of the California State Assembly. He is known for his significant efforts in increasing Latino representation in the California Legislature. First elected in 1986 to fill the unexpired term of Richard Alatorre who been elected in late 1985 to the Los Angeles City Council, Polanco served in the California State Assembly (District 55 in the 1980s, District 45 in the 1990s) for eight years. In 1994 he was elected to the California State Senate (District 22, Los Angeles) and served as Senate Majority Leader from 1998 until his retirement in 2002.


For most of his tenure in the Legislature, he served the Northeast Los Angeles area which includes Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Mount Washington, Glassell Park, Atwater Village, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Montecito Heights and Cypress, in addition to Boyle Heights and City Terrace. In the 1980s, he also represented the western areas of Pasadena, including the Northwest and Linda Vista areas.


In the Senate, his areas expanded to include downtown Los Angeles, Chinatown, Little Tokyo and other communities. Polanco is best known for his work with the Latino Legislative Caucus, which he chaired from 1990 to 2002. Under his leadership, the Senator led efforts to increase the number of Democratic Latino legislators from seven to 24. Eventually, his efforts contributed to election of the first Latino Speaker of the Assembly, Cruz Bustamante.


In 1998, he authored legislation that provided $115 million for after-school and summer school programs. He pioneered California’s citizenship education program assisting more than 500,000 Californians in becoming naturalized citizens. Polanco authored legislation that created the California state holiday honoring the legendary labor and civil rights leader, Cesar Chavez.


In 2001 he was seen as the presumptive front-runner to succeed termed-out Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Hernandez, but he abruptly dropped out of the race for reasons that many found rather unconvincing. [1]  He has since begun a lucrative career as a lobbyist. Prior to elected office, he served on the staff of Los Angeles County Supervisor Edmund D. Edelman, Assemblyman Richard Alatorre and former Governor Jerry Brown.

 

A native of East Los Angeles, California, he graduated from James A. Garfield High School where he served as senior class president. He attended both the University of Redlands and the Universidad Nacional Mexico, majoring in business administration.

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