Search Results for: Stu Zakim

Thank You To All Our Loyal Readers, Subscribers, Members And Sponsors!

As we enter December and our 5th anniversary, the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) would like to take this opportunity to thank all our members, sponsors, subscribers and followers for your contribution in helping us to firmly establish ourselves as one of the leading b2b organizations in legal cannabis.  It’s been an amazing first five years, and we enter 2018 poised to take the association and the network to a truly national level.

Thank You 2017 MJBA National Sponsors

Thank You 2017 MJBA National Sponsors

Established to provide business intelligence, professional networking and new business opportunity, MJBA hosts regular industry networking meetups, professional boot camps and educational seminars in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and New York, with MJBA Massachusetts and MJBA Nevada communities scheduled to activate Q1 2018.

NWMJLaw's Anne Van Leynseele leads the 502 Accounting Panel at MJBA Seattle

NWMJLaw’s Anne Van Leynseele leads the 502 Accounting Panel at MJBA Seattle

DOPE Magazine Founder David Tran, MJBA Founder David Rheins and Curved Papers Founder Michael O'Malley at MJBizCon

DOPE Magazine Founder David Tran, MJBA Founder David Rheins and Curved Papers Founder Michael O’Malley at MJBizCon

AK Ventures' Kerri Accardi and MJBA's Stu Zakim

AK Ventures’ Kerri Accardi and MJBA’s Stu Zakim

To date, we have run over 200 meetups, hosted 3 job fairs, 4 Vendor Fairs, and participated as sponsor, exhibitor, speaker and moderator at many of the top industry trade events, including CannaCon (Tacoma, Seattle, Denver, Anchorage, Santa Rosa and Boston), National Cannabis Summit (Denver), Cannabis Creative Conference (Portland), CWCBExpo (New York, LA), Seattle Hempfest, Oregon Hemp Convention, New England Cannabis Convention (Boston) and King Cannabis (Spokane).

f you have anything to do with the legal cannabis industry in Washington or Oregon, you will want to attend both CCC in Portland and CannaCon in Seattle this month. When you do, please stop by the MJBA and MJBA Women’s Alliance booths and say ‘Hi.”

David Rheins leads a panel discussion at Canna Con

Crystal Oliver, Washington's Finest Cannabis, was a featured presenter at MJBA Spokane's February meetup.

Crystal Oliver, Washington’s Finest Cannabis, was a featured presenter at MJBA Spokane.

MJBA publishes the authoritative web site, MJ Headline News and MJ Business Week e-newsletters, and Marijuana Channel One on YouTube, and boasts a massive social media network with more than 300,000 followers and subscribers.


MJ News Network: The Voice of Legal Cannabis

MJ News Network: The Voice of Legal Cannabis


MJBA Publishing LLC provides a host of marketing and professional services, including public and media relations, advertising, sponsorship and business development.  For more information, please contact us at:


Announcing MJ Business Network: A News Release Distribution System For The Cannabis Industry

WASHINGTON: Recognizing the communications and marketing needs of people involved or getting involved with the expanding cannabis business, the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) has launched a press release distribution system that targets the media, both mainstream and industry specific reporters, who cover the cannabis industry.

As one of the cannabis industry’s leaders in helping assist and educate businesses through our workshops and meet-ups, one of the issues MJBA leadership constantly hears from its members in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, New York and New Jersey are questions about Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing; how do we do it, how much should it cost, what should it look like and other related questions.

Introducing MJ Business NetworkMJBA is often sourced by media who are focused on this exciting business, which, through the years, has allowed us to cultivate the key reporters, both in mainstream media like the Seattle Times, NBC News and Variety, as well as industry outlets like DOPE, MG, Freedom Leaf, etc.

They’ve taken that expertise and extensive data base of media to build MJ Business Network as a solution and mechanism to help all kinds of businesses in the industry get their message in front of those who can help boost their brand.  Their media contacts include digital, print and broadcast newsrooms, individual reporters and editors, consumers, news portals, websites, news syndicators, bloggers, social media networks and more.

MJ Business Network provides the following services to its clients:

  • Distribution of  your news release via the cannabis industry’s largest proprietary content distribution network – MJ Headline News –– and its app for IOS and Android phones – as well as the video assets they have such as MJ Channel One, your video source for cannabis news.
  • Posting client’s news release through their highly trafficked Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
  • Delivering client’s message, whether a news release or a video feature, into the inbox of the journalists that cover cannabis for them to consume.
  •  Integrating photos, charts and video into their message that will help the message be read, seen and acted upon.  Multimedia is proven to drive engagement. Photos, videos, and infographics increase press release views significantly.

Pricing information is available upon request. For more information contact Stu Zakim at

The Wink In Weed: Reflections On An East Coast Pot Show

By David Rheins

Summertime is tradeshow season for the cannabis industry, and like all industry participants, I spend a fair amount of my time on the road, carefully choosing from all the events that fill every available weekend between May and October.

This month, I made my way to the sprawling Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City for the second annual Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo (CWCBExpo), June 15-17.  The Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) was honored to serve as media sponsor, exhibitor at CWCBExpo, and I was invited to serve as featured speaker.

My talk, “The ROI of Professional Cannabis Networking,” stressed the importance of cooperation and community. Using the backdrop of MJBA’s new trade campaign, “The Marijuana Business is Amazing,” which features tiny business folk groping their way through a giant garden maze, I emphasized that the marijuana business is amazing, but it’s nearly impossible to succeed in it without some help.

The marijuana business is Amazing.

The marijuana business is Amazing.

Speaking of mazes, the Jacob Javits is the granddaddy of convention centers  – an enormous, sprawling facility on the banks of the Hudson River on the city’s west side, and there is a certain credibility and significance to hosting a cannabis industry trade show at the giant venue.


As a former New Yorker (I spent 20 years at places like Rolling Stone, SPIN Magazine and AOL Time Warner) who has been living in Seattle for enough years to consider myself a West Coaster, it is always a blast to come back to “the city.” New York is in constant motion and change, with new restaurants, stores and building construction remaking familiar streets into new experiences.

 New York, the epitome of fast-paced, has entered the legal cannabis space slowly.  The Empire State has “legalized” medical marijuana in a very restrictive and limited manner, with only a few doctors who will prescribe cannabis, and then only for the most severe of ailments. There are only a couple of dispensaries that provide very expensive, non-smokeable forms of cannabis, and no participating insurance companies. New York is years behind the legal cannabis marketplaces of Denver, Seattle or Portland.



But legal cannabis is coming, and there was a palpable buzz among attendees at CWCBExpo. Thousands filled the trade show floor to visit some 100 vendors – smallish by cannabis industry standards – and many of them playing in the CBD space.  With more than a whiff of snake oil, many of the CBD products for sale at the show were derived from foreign industrial hemp, and dubious purity and utility.

Heavy on financial, professional services and media exhibitors, this is not the West Coast cannabis marketplace – where we have hundreds of legal cannabis farms producing thousands of branded products sold through hundreds of retail outlets.  Out West, we have a vibrant marketplace, with fine flowers, oils, concentrates, edibles and topicals – while the East Coast still sees cannabis through a narrow medical window.

Evolution begins with education, and CWCBExpo featured a great lineup of speakers – including keynotes from former NFL superstars Leonard Marshall, who along with a panel of professional athletes discussed CTE and CBD, and NORML founder Keith Stroup, who walked us through the history of the marijuana reform movement, and Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

Keith Stroup CWCBExpo

NORML Founder Keith Stroup keynotes CWCBExpo

Attendees tended to fall into one of four buckets – out-of-towners from emerging markets like Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, who came looking for tips on how to start their own legal cannabis industry; investors, circling the room looking for undervalued opportunities; media, with everyone from Crain’s NY Business to PC Magazine covering the show, and the pot press – Cannabis Now, Dope, Freedom Leaf and MJ Headline News exhibiting; and newbie’s looking for the on-ramp to the Green Rush.

David Tran and David Rheins

DOPE Magazine CEO David Tran and MJBA Founder David Rheins

NYC is the heart of our contemporary American culture, and while in town I was able to meet with some of my former colleagues from big media and marketing.  The conversations we shared, and their palpable interest in getting involved in the legal cannabis industry, were demonstrably different from the conversations we shared only a year or two ago.  Marijuana was being openly smoked at all the private parties I attended this trip – and not just at CWCBExpo parties, but also at the private gatherings with my media/marketing friends – and everyone I spoke with was exploring ways to get involved.

There is a sense that federal prohibition is dying fast, and that the mainstream is finally ready to embrace legal pot.

Curved Papers Founder Michael O'Malley talks to Crain's NY Business

Curved Papers Founder Michael O’Malley talks to Crain’s NY Business


For the past 4 years out West, we’ve been building a commercial marketplace, working out the kinks and logistics and laying the regulatory and tax foundations for a scalable industry.  The keys to resolving our two remaining challenges – establishing financial and the cultural (e.g. mass media) normalcy – lie in the East, in the media and money of New York City, and the legislators and lobbyists of D.C.


AK Ventures' Kerri Accardi and MJBA's Stu Zakim

AK Ventures’ Kerri Accardi and MJBA’s Stu Zakim

I see it as my personal mission, and that of the MJBA, to connect the East Coast media and marketing communities  – with their financial resources and business discipline  – to the West Coast’s nascent but fast-growing community of entrepreneurs and subject matter experts.   CWCBExpo was an excellent beginning to establishing these bridges. I look forward to building relationships, and the legal cannabis industry, one professional connection at a time.



The Wink In Weed: Leap Day Cannabis Industry Report

By David Rheins

Happy Leap Day.  The last two weeks of February have been such a whirlwind of hyperactivity for myself and Team MJBA that I need the extra day to tell you all about it.

On February 17th, MJBA Seattle presented, “Managing Your 502 Business,” a two-hour business boot camp designed to provide Washington’s licensed cannabis companies with “must have” information and best practices.  Sponsored by NWMJ Law, the professional education seminar featured presentations from top industry authorities, including Act Resources, Dani Espinda; Mosaic Insurance’s Norm Ives; business coach Debbie Whitlock and NWMJ Law’s Anne Van Leynseele.

The entire event was recorded, and can be viewed on MJChannelOne:


The very next day, Team MJBA packed up our tent and made our way down to Seattle’s Pier 91 for CannaCon.  The three-day event, February 18th, 19th and 20th, has become a keystone event for MJBA/MJBA Women’s Alliance, one where we participate as exhibitor, and media sponsor.  This year, both Morgan and I were featured speakers,  I had the honor to moderate 10 panels, and conduct a host of 1:1 taped interviews with CannaCon speakers, exhibitors and other industry leaders (special thank you to Darin Bruce and his AV team).

BDS CEO Roy Bingham delivered a keynote at CannaCon

BDS CEO Roy Bingham delivered a keynote at CannaCon

This was MJBA’s fourth CannaCon and I could not help but be struck by both how large and professional the industry and “the business of cannabis” show has become.   Everyone who is anyone in cannabis was present: Washington’s top cannabis regulators came out to participate as panelists, including WSLCB Director Rick Garza, WSDH’s Kristi Weeks, and the WSDA’s Steve Fuller.  This year’s panelists include a very diverse representation from the broad tent of our cannabis community, including long-time activists like Cat Jeter, Kristin Flor, Don E Wirtshafter and Vivian McPeak; legendary growers like Ed Rosenthal, Kyle Kushman and Farmer Tom Lauerman; media personalities like Katherine Grimm and Cheryl Shuman, and a host of power women in cannabis, including Eden Lab’s AC Braddock, Seattle Hempfest’s Sharon Whitson, Washington’s Finest Cannabis founder Crystal Oliver, Cannabis Basic’s Ah Warner, Kush Creams’ Megan Schwarting, and Washington Bud Company’s Shawn DeNae.


On Thursday, February 25th, MJBA Spokane held its February Meetup at a new venue, The Black Diamond.  Jon Legualt, Belladonna Growhouse, was our host and a featured presenter. He shared the stage with Washington’s Finest Crystal Oliver, who updated the group on what’s happening with Spokane’s Clean Air regulations and how they are impacting Eastern Washington producer/processors, and Kevin Oliver, executive director of Washington NORML, who gave the group a report from the legislative fronts in Olympia and Washington D.C.  Front Runner ceo Brian Yauger unveiled his latest offering,, a real-time business intelligence portal designed especially for participants in the legal cannabis industry.


And finally, to close out the month, MJBA New York is hosting a Leap Year Happy Hour at Manhattan’s swanky Gansevoort Hotel. Hosted by MJBA NY’s Stu Zakim and Paul Abramson, the evening of information, community and opportunity takes place at the ultra-hip hotel, located at 420 Park Avenue!

Coming up next: MJBA Portland hosts a special Meetup: “Game On: The Business of Cannabis and Sports,” Wednesday, March 2nd at the On Deck Sports bar.  Sponsored by CannaGuard Security, the event will feature opening remarks by NBA All-Star turned cannabis entrepreneur Cliff Robinson, who’ll debut his new “Uncle Spliffy” brand.  Then an industry panel will discuss the many business opportunites that exist at the intersection of sports and cannabis.  VIP Panelists include Uncle Spliffy’s Linda Miller, Siverback Advisory Groups’ Marc Belsher, and Fore-Twenty Golf’s Matt Enos.

Reserve your spot for this historic discussion here: