Join the Benzinga Cannabis Market Spotlight

Market Spotlight: California

Thursday, February 22
BioScience LA

Market Spotlight: California

Join the Benzinga Cannabis Market Spotlight

California, where the cannabis industry’s heart beats.

This premier event, focused on high-impact networking, offers a chance to connect and create lasting business relationships. Engage with top industry figures in structured sessions and casual mixers, turning each interaction into a potential business breakthrough. It’s more than networking: it’s where the future of cannabis in California (and beyond) is shaped. Be part of the defining conversation. Join us.

Join us and discover:
  • In-depth understanding of the current investment landscape and future opportunities in cannabis
  • Clarity on the existing policy in California
  • Perspectives on how the California cannabis model can influence and guide emerging markets in Latin America and Asia
  • Networking opportunities with industry leadersinvestors, and policymakers
  • And much more!
Tommy-Chong Meet and GreetTommy-Chong Meet and Greet
Meet and hang with Tommy Chong at our post-event Happy Hour!

Market Spotlight: California
Culver City California, February 22 2024

Who should attend?

Are you ready to cultivate growth in the cannabis industry? Join us!

This event is the ultimate gathering for entrepreneurs, investors, and professionals looking to thrive in the cannabis market.

  • Dispensary Owners & Managers
  • Cannabis Brand Leaders
  • C-Suite Leaders
  • Market Investors



Registration & Networking Breakfast


State of the State California Cannabis

An overview of the outlook for the California cannabis market in the coming year, focusing on capital markets, regulatory, and market trends.


Lessons From Leadership: The New Growth Paradigm

This panel will feature leading cannabis executives sharing comprehensive best practices, business insights, and foresight into the industry’s growth strategies.

Speakers: Jamie L. Pearson, Tiffany Chin, Graham Farrar, Sahar Ayinehsazian, Mark Russ



Networking Break


The Innovators: Insights on Brand Building

Key figures from top-selling cannabis brands will discuss marketing and growth strategies that have proven successful in building and sustaining brand recognition.

Speakers : Luke Anderson, Erin Gore, Jon Cappetta, Cameron Clarke, Joshua Hirschey, BJ Carretta



The Capital Markets of California Cannabis: Building to Win

Speakers : Seth Yakatan, Lauren Estevez


Exercising Discipline: How to Maximize Profitability in Retail

Experts will delve into retail and customer experience trends, offering best practices for maximizing profitability in the cannabis retail sector.

Speakers: Lauren Carpenter, Ricardo Baca


Networking Lunch


Cannabis Capital: From Seed to Scale

An in-depth conversation on the nuances of raising capital in California, aimed at small businesses seeking funding in the competitive cannabis market.

Speakers: Tiffany Richardson, Aaron Edelheit, Morgan Paxhia, Ford Smith, Paul Weiss


Fireside: Leveraging A Strong Social Media Presence to Drive Business

A focused discussion on the power of social media in the cannabis industry and how a strong online presence can drive business growth.

Speakers: Alice Moon, Steve Council, Manny


Dominating Crowded Markets: The Shelf Space Factor

Panelists will explore the challenges and opportunities in crowded markets, discussing strategies for gaining and maintaining shelf space.

Speakers: Jason Osni, Nishant Reddy, Joey Brabo, Dustin Milner



Speakers: Jesse Redmond, Micah Anderson


Effective Strategies To Convert Illicit Market Consumers

A candid conversation about strategies and solutions to transition consumers from the illicit market to the legal market, addressing economic challenges and opportunities.

Speakers: Emily Paxhia, Wesley Hein, Matt Krishnamachari, Anthony Alegrete, Bill Levers


Cocktails & Networking

The Venue

BioScience LA, Culver City, California

Founded in 2018, BioscienceLA is the innovation catalyst for life sciences in the greater Los Angeles region. The independent not-for-profit organization was seeded by LA County and has backing from Amgen, PhRMA, Richard Lundquist, Richard Merkin, City of Hope, and Cedars-Sinai, among others. Its mission is to ensure that Los Angeles has a collaborative, well-coalesced ecosystem and to advance the region’s capacity and pace of innovation by harmonizing the efforts of all stakeholders.

Address: 4130 Overland Avenue Culver City, CA 90230 United States


Morgan Paxhia,
Co-founder and Managing Director, Poseidon Investment Management

With over sixteen years experience in investing and finance, Morgan has developed a deep understanding of financial markets

Emily Paxhia,
Founding Partner & Managing Partner, Poseidon Investment Management

Emily has reviewed thousands of companies in the cannabis industry and has worked with countless founders in many capacities.

Seth Yakatan,
Co-Founder, Katan Associates

Seth Yakatan brings more than 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, corporate finance professional and recovering investor.

Tiffany Chin,
CEO, Death Row Records Cannabis

Tiffany Chin has 12 years of experience in the entertainment space, working with world famous talent including Snoop Dogg, Eddie Murphy, and Martha Stewart.

Erin Gore,
Founder – Garden Society

Erin Gore is the founder and CEO of Garden Society, a California-based, cannabis-focused benefit corporation serving consumers in search of new, more holistic ways to rejuvenate from the chaos of their daily lives.

Wesley Hein,
Head of Global Brand Initiatives & Public Policy – Mammoth Distribution

Wesley Hein leads Mammoth Distribution’s brand initiatives, legal, and policy for Heavy Hitters/Almora. He’s CDA President, on CCMA’s board, active in cannabis committees, and has founded successful ventures like Enigma Records.

Tiffany Richardson,
Partner (National Cannabis Industry Lead) – Crowe

Ms. Richardson leads the Crowe National Cannabis Practice and is the Denver Tax Office Managing Partner. She has more than 18 years of experience providing tax consulting and compliance services

Jamie L. Pearson,
President – New Holland Group

Jamie Pearson has been a highly respected leader in the cannabis industry for over a decade. Her “in the trenches” operational success and deep, global relationships led her to be coined “Wonder Woman” in the 2023 Women of Influence issue of Cannabis Now Magazine.

Ford Smith,
Founder & CEO – Ultranative

Ultranative, a public benefit corporation dedicated to investing in and building mission-driven businesses that positively impact humanity and the planet. Ford was an early investor and partner to Eaze and Harborside and is currently interim CEO of Noble Pacific.

Paul Weiss,

CEO – PaperPlanes

Paul Weiss is the CEO of PaperPlanes, bringing passion, authenticity and skill to the role. After a career in financial services, Paul left the industry to focus on private equity investing in other sectors. Paul entered the cannabis space as an investor in 2018, and subsequently met PaperPlanes founder Carter Latimer in 2020.

Jason Osni,
Co-Founder + President – Old Pal

Jason Osni, co-founder of Old Pal and NATIV, shaped Old Pal’s lean licensing model. A Fordham Law honors grad, he’s consulted for top consumer brands and founded the fast-growing clean beauty line Haoma.

Joey Brabo,
Co-Owner and COO – Respect My Region

Joey Brabo, COO of Respect My Region, creates content with Buzzfeed and Univision, penned 600+ articles on music and cannabis, and offers marketing tips for cannabis brands, featured on Yahoo!

Jon Cappetta,
VP, Content – High Times

Jon Cappetta, VP of Content at High Times, is a strategist and award-winning writer on cannabis subcultures. He’s judged top cannabis competitions and produces a monthly product feature, the Stone-Cold Cop List, despite a self-admitted poor memory and green thumb.

Luke Anderson,
Co-Founder – Cann

Luke Anderson, ex-math teacher and Stanford grad, co-founded Cann Social Tonics with Jake Bullock, introducing sessionable THC drinks. Former Bain consultant and Harvard MBA, he’s now on a mission to offer a guilt-free social buzz to new cannabis consumers.

Alice Moon,
Publicist & Influencer Marketing Manager – Trailblaze

Alice Moon, a cannabis PR and marketing expert in LA, specializes in LinkedIn strategy, ghostwriting, and executive coaching. Featured in Forbes and High Times, she secures client coverage from LA to NY Times and manages influencer relations at Trailblaze.

BJ Carretta,
Senior Vice President, Marketing – TerrAscend

Mr. Carretta, with 20+ years in marketing, has been a top strategist in cannabis, holding roles at Columbia Care and MedMen. He’s consulted for various brands and previously led digital marketing at Fender and NBC Sports Group. He’s a Purdue alum and ex-D1 basketball player.

Jesse Redmond,

Managing Director – Water Tower Research

Jesse, MD at Water Tower Research, covers cannabis and natural products. Ex-co-founder of hedge funds and a top California dispensary, he’s allocated over $1B in hedge fund strategies. With a UC Santa Barbara degree, he offers a unique cannabis investment perspective.

Lauren Carpenter,
Co-Founder & CEO – Embarc

Lauren Carpenter, co-founder of Embarc shops in California, leverages her background in government and regulatory affairs. Formerly Chief Strategy Officer at Sweet Flower and Director at MedMen, she excels in creating synergies between business and policy.

Graham Farrar,
Co-founder, President & Board Director – Glass House Brands

Graham, an entrepreneur, co-founded, went public in ’99. Involved in Sonos founding, served on boards like Seacology, Heal the Ocean. Founder of Elite Garden Wholesale in cannabis tech. Currently on the Board of Directors at Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation.

Dustin Milner,
CEO – Talarya Brands

Dustin Milner, CEO of Talarya Brands, leads with a decade of cannabis industry experience. His leadership elevated Cream of the Crop to a Top 10 brand in California. Formerly CEO of Potentia Labs, he won a grant from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs for mental health innovation.

Lauren Estevez,
Managing Associate – Dentons

Lauren, a recognized attorney at Dentons, specializes in global cannabis law. Notable work includes advising Weedmaps on a $1.5 billion IPO and counseling diverse clients from lenders to tech companies on cannabis policies. Law360 recognized her as a Rising Star in 2023. Based in Los Angeles, Lauren has been involved in cannabis and hemp law since California’s adult-use legalization.

Matt Krishnamachari,
Founder/CEO – Purple Lotus

Matt Krishnamachari founded Purple Lotus in 2010, growing from a $15,000 startup to a $25 million+ revenue, community-centered cannabis success in California. His entrepreneurial journey started in steel and renewable energy sectors. A proud father, Matt is also active in youth initiatives and homeless services in San Jose.

Joshua Hirschey,
President – Timeless Refinery

Josh Hirschey, President of Timeless Refinery, leads a prominent cannabis brand house across multiple states. Previously, he achieved significant growth at Amphenol Broadband Solutions, a Fortune 500 company. With 18+ years of experience, Josh excels in general management, global manufacturing, and M&A. An Arizona State University graduate, he values family, travel, classic cars, and sports.

Steve Council,
Founder – Council Collective

Operating Council Collective, a high-level cultivation consulting company. We specialize in comprehensive training, optimizing harvest success. With direct links to commercial suppliers, we secure 20% average monthly savings for clients. Offering services from design consultation to staff training, equipment upgrades, and more. Leveraging global knowledge, we prioritize efficiency, consistency, and progress in all endeavors.

Ricardo Baca,
Founder & CEO – Grasslands

Ricardo Baca, a 20-year journalist and cannabis expert, pioneered cannabis coverage as The Denver Post’s first cannabis editor. Founder of Grasslands in 2016, he advises regulated industries. Appointed to Colorado’s Natural Medicine Advisory Board in 2023, he shapes psychedelics policy. Recognized by Fortune and AdCann, Ricardo hosts panels, contributes columns, and is a sought-after thought leader at national events and media outlets.

Anthony Alegrete,
Co-Founder & COO – 40 Tons

Anthony Alegrete, Operations Director at 40 Tons, a Black, woman-owned cannabis brand. His advocacy for cannabis prisoners, including lifelong friend Corvain Cooper, led to Corvain’s release. Anthony, with a unconventional education path, holds a Bachelors in Business Marketing and a Masters in Organizational Leadership. Combining over two decades of entrepreneurial experience with meaningful activism, Anthony contributes to 40 Tons’ growth and social impact mission.

Cameron Clarke,
Co-Founder & CEO – Sunderstorm

Cameron Clarke, CEO of Sunderstorm, co-founded KANHA, an award-winning cannabis brand. A serial entrepreneur, he pioneered electronic courtrooms, internet video streaming, and augmented reality for pilots. Clarke’s ventures extend to social projects, including the Blue Nomad Foundation and biohacker spaces. A Stanford University graduate, he combines technical innovation with impactful applications.

Mark Russ,
Chief Revenue Officer – Gold Flora

Mark Russ, Chief Revenue Officer at Gold Flora Corporation (NEO:GRAM), is a seasoned leader with success in cannabis, including roles at Calico Group and Curaleaf. His extensive experience spans executive positions at Lowell Farms, Constellation Brands, and Red Bull. With a track record of driving rapid revenue growth, implementing effective sales strategies, and building world-class teams, Mark brings valuable expertise to Gold Flora.

Ticket Pricing



General Admission – Come see the Who’s Who of the California cannabis industry as they gather all in one room. This ticket is for brands, retailers, dispensaries, manufacturers, and processors.

Free – This pass is for institutional and accredited investors ONLY, see below for criteria. In order to qualify for an Investor Pass, you must meet the following criteria:

1. Must represent a professional investment firm:
– Private Equity or Venture Capital Fund
– Family Office
– Hedge Fund
– Asset Manager
– Pension Fund
– Foundation
– Sovereign Wealth Fund

2. Must provide a corporate email address with an active URL connected to the firm represented.

If you qualify for a free ticket, please email


Partners, Sponsors, and Participating Brands

Interested in sponsoring or participating?