An interview with celebrated lawyer, advocate and CanEx Jamaica speaker Hilary V. Bricken

A partner at Harris Bricken in Los Angeles, Hilary V. Bricken has been rightfully titled a Super Lawyer.

In 2013, based on her work in the industry, The Puget Sound Business Journal named Ms. Bricken one of seven Deal Makers of the Year. From 2014 through 2017, she was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine. Also in 2015, the Puget Sound Business Journal named Hilary to its Top 40 Under 40 list for business and leadership, and in 2017 the American Bar Association named Hilary a Top 40 Under 40 “On the Rise” attorney in the United States.

In this interview, Hilary discusses her thoughts on advocacy, entrepreneurship, and more.

When did you first realize that specialized legal advocacy was needed in the cannabis market?

May 2010—there was a severe need for legitimate business and regulatory guidance that just wasn’t being met; mostly because lawyers were afraid of what the bar our or federal government would do/could do.

What would you say are the top two challenges that cannabis startups face?

Lack of access to banking services and the federal government’s treatment of cannabis income (third runner up is lack of access to traditional fundraising).

What effects could full legalization have on other local, community-based businesses?

It can drive tourism. It also can increase tax revenue for various improvements around the community. In some circumstances, it’s even gentrified some communities. It can also cause serious backlash and community uproar over lowered property values, perceived increases in criminality, nuisance, and overall polarized attitudes about legalization.

Can you summarize the concept of “big marijuana?”

According to prohibitionists, big marijuana consists of private money interests driving legalization for their own personal gain at the cost of consumers’ health and safety.

What are you most looking forward to at the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo?

Touring a cannabis farm there. I’ve been in many of my clients’ operations (in the states and abroad), but never one in Jamaica. I very much want to see how they compare on a regulatory level.

In your opinion, why are networking events for ganjaprenuers critical to success?

It’s important to know your business community, and it helps build and support professionalism and valuable relationships. It also helps to promote education over various industry issues that would otherwise go unnoticed or undiscussed.

Hilary will be a featured speaker at CanEx Jamaica! Tickets are currently available.


Jose Belen, U.S. Army Combat Veteran opens up about PTSD and the need for proper emotional and medicinal support

Jose is a decorated United States Army Combat Veteran who was part of the initial invasion into Iraq in the spring of 2003, ultimately serving 14 consecutive months of combat in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom 1 and 2. Jose was Honorably discharged in January 2005 after completing his 3-year enlistment term and immediately entered the workforce. A close family friend referred Jose to AIG to apply for their bilingual insurance professional position. With little qualifications, and only a stellar Army career to prove his worth, Jose interviewed and essentially asked for the job of his life at the time, and in return promised his soon to be supervisor that he would never settle for less than the top producer in the company and work harder than any other employee. Through all of the tumultuousness of AIG going bankrupt and the sale of his division to Farmers Insurance, Jose lived up to his promise and was one of the top direct insurance professionals in the United States for nearly a decade.

Why Jose Belen Speaks:

Having a successful career, and the drive and passion to follow through on his professional commitments, one would think all is well. However, Jose was silently battling a PTSD diagnosis that goes back to 2005. Despite his prognosis, Jose dug deep each and every day to professionally excel not only himself, but also his peers. Jose gave all that he could to mentor others to help them achieve their best version of themselves both personally and professionally. Jose Belen speaks to give hope to the hopeless and to not only help save lives but also give people reasons to live. Most combat veterans never speak of the things they saw and did while at war.

Jose’s personal battle with PTSD uncovered a need for someone to stand up and speak on behalf of all those suffering in silence, and for those who may not have a support system to depend on. Sharing his story is like pouring salt on an open wound, but it is something he has been spiritually led to do in an effort to deter PTSD suicide. From one battle field to another, down range in Iraq to conquering a successful corporate career, Jose speaks first hand on overcoming the challenges one faces juggling their personal and professional lives while battling what could be a crippling disorder that claims 8,000+ lives a year. To balance life and death for nearly 13 years is something that may be unnerving, but is insight of what it is like for a combat veteran to work his way to the top and not be defined by a diagnosis. Jose speaks to use his dynamic story to inspire those in the struggle to say, “I have PTSD, PTSD does NOT have me!” and to understand that “The Sky Is Not The Limit”…and it never has been. Understanding what those principals mean is the key that will unlock the power to achieve a life without limitations.


CanEx Jamaica speaker Larisa E. Bolivar is a trailblazing industry professional and public speaker

Larisa E. Bolivar, M.A. has 16 years of cannabis related experience and is a recognized trailblazer and pioneer in the cannabis industry. Noted by the Washington Post as “one of the city’s [Denver] most well-known proponents of decriminalizing marijuana nationally,” and by Sensi Magazine as a cannabis industry trailblazer, Ms. Bolivar is a cannabis entrepreneur and the first Latina recreational cultivation license holder in Colorado, a cannabis production and wholesaler known as Grow Green Cannabis Company.

She is also executive director of the Cannabis Consumers Coalition, a nonprofit Cannabis consumer watchdog organization known for pushing for standards and laws regarding issues such as pesticides use and consumer safety, and also runs a cannabis related management and business development consulting firm. She is a board member of Colorado NORML and on the planning committee for Mother’s High Tea, an annual event in Denver honoring women in Cannabis. She holds a B.S. Psychology from the University of Phoenix and a M.A. in Public Policy from Regis University. She is a highly sought after public speaker and has spoken on and moderated panels on a variety of cannabis culture and business related topics.


CanEx Jamaica speaker Dr. Uma Dhanabalan is a renowned physician and advocate

Dr. Dhanabalan is the Founder/CEO of Global Health & Hygiene Solutions, LLC in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Global Health & Hygiene Solutions mission is to promote wellness and prevent illness. The tools and lectures created are used in health screening and for education.

Dr. Dhanabalan worked for the Hanford Project in Richland, Washington. The Hanford Site was created in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. They manufactured the Plutonium that was used in the first nuclear bomb which was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan. The operation at Hanford created one of the largest and most complex cleanup projects in the USA. Weapons production resulted in more than 43 million cubic yards of radioactive waste and over 130 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris.

Dr. Dhanabalan is actively involved with multiple diverse organizations. She is passionate about educating the public and patients while empowering with them with knowledge about cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. She is a Cannabis Therapeutics Specialist doing Medical Marijuana authorizations at Uplifting Health and Wellness in Natick MA. She is dedicated to “Educating, Embracing and Empowering” her patients while promoting cannabis as a treatment option. She has an array of patients aging from age 18 and older who suffer from various medical conditions and are using or considering medical marijuana for treatment of their illnesses. Dr. Dhanabalan states “Cannabis is not an entrance drug, it is an exit drug from pharmaceuticals and narcotics.”



Watch This: Michael C. Minardi, attorney and campaign manager for Regulate Florida works to unite Florida on the importance of legalization

Michael C. Minardi is the Senior Partner at Minardi Law. For over 14 years, Michael has dedicated his practice to fighting for clients charged with cannabis crimes. His passion has driven him to learning and understanding medical cannabis laws in the State of Florida and throughout the country.

Michael’s practice represents clients in corporate consulting and services for business and individuals looking to enter the cannabis industry, forfeiture matters, and criminal matters, with a focus in cases where an individual purchases, uses, or cultivates cannabis for medical purposes. He has successfully won many medical cannabis cases, including several landmark high profile cases in Florida. He has represented some well-known patients including Cathy Jordan, Delbert Mullins, and Jeffrey Kennedy whom have had their cases dismissed.

He won the first and second jury trial presenting the medical necessity defense to cultivation and possession of cannabis charges in the cases of Jesse Teplicki, and Bridget Kirouac in Florida. Michael has represented patients, including veterans, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Chronic Pain Disorders, Depression and Anxiety, Glaucoma, Severe Anorexia, Fibromyalgia, Liver Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and other medical conditions charged with cultivation, manufacturing or possession charges. He was recently been brought in to assist in defending Kristoffer Lewandowski in Oklahoma, a ten-year marine veteran facing two-years to life in prison for five plants. Shortly before trial, the prosecuting attorney offered Mr. Lewandowski a 5 year deferred sentence with no supervision and relocation to California.

Michael has been and continues to be at the forefront in Florida of changing antiquated perceptions, educating the public on the safety of cannabis, and bringing light to the harm being perpetuated by current laws. He is also leading the charge to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol as the Campaign Manager of Regulate Florida. He was named the October 2016, Freedom Fighter of the Month in High Times magazine for his continued fight for cannabis freedom.

Michael is part of the NORML Legal Committee, and is a board member of The Silver Tour, Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana, and The Florida Cannabis Action Network. He is also a Board member and Legal Director of NORML of Florida. Michael earned his undergraduate degree Cum Laude from the University of Rhode Island in 1998, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Nova Southeastern Shepard Broad Law Center in 2002, where he was a Senior Staff Member of the Nova Law Review.


Watch This: Super Lawyer and award-winning attorney Hilary Bricken educates the public on legalities

Hilary V. Bricken is a partner at Harris Bricken in its Los Angeles office. Licensed to practice law in California, Washington, and Florida, she is one of the premier cannabis business and regulatory attorneys in the United States. As chair of Harris Bricken’s Regulated Substances practice group, which includes the Canna Law Group, she helps cannabis companies of all sizes with their cannabis related legal issues.

In 2013, based on her work in the marijuana industry, The Puget Sound Business Journal named Ms. Bricken one of seven Deal Makers of the Year. From 2014 through 2017, she was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine. Also in 2015, the Puget Sound Business Journal named Hilary to its Top 40 Under 40 list for business and leadership, and in 2017 the American Bar Association named Hilary a Top 40 Under 40 “On the Rise” attorney in the United States.

Hilary also authors a weekly column for Above the Law that features content on marijuana policy and regulation, and Hilary is a regular contributor to and editor of her firm’s Canna Law Blog.


Diane Edwards Talks JAMPRO and the Expo Jamaica Event

Diane Edwards is the President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) – the national investment and export promotion agency.

Watch as  Diane, one of the CanEx Seminar Series guest speakers, discusses JAMPRO and the 2014 Expo Jamaica trade exposition.


Ebbu: An Innovative Company Merging Cannabis With Predictability

Damon Michaels was a featured speaker for our CanEx Seminar Series. He is amongst the higher-ups working with innovative cannabis technology as the lead of business development for Ebbu.

What is Ebbu? 

As explained on the company’s website, Ebbu is “where cannabis culture meets cannabis science.”
Ebbu takes the optimism surrounding the ever-growing cannabis industry to heart, representing cannabis culture as a unified people in search of contentment and looking towards the future of the herb as a welcome conduit for the betterment of society.

Countless studies and continuing research have yet to falter when proving the many advantages of cannabis and its abilities to improve health, stress levels, and overall wellbeing. Combine these good vibes with scientific examination and you’ve got a beautiful recipe that highlights the power of cannabis and the importance of positive experiences relating to the herb.

What makes the Ebbu brand especially unique?

Whether you’re consuming cannabis for your health or personal reasons, your relationship with ganja should remain consistently pleasurable and effective without the concerns of dangerous risks. Ebbu acknowledges that each individual’s journey with cannabis is personal and no two experiences will ever be alike. Regardless of this fact, enjoyment and safety should be the common threads within the cannabis community.

Ebbu raises the bar for cannabis users, giving you a better idea of how you will feel previous to your cannabis session, aiding in the elimination of users being overwhelmed, or possibly disappointed, by the results of cannabis consumption. As cannabis technology continues to advance, Ebbu knows that the expectations for your cannabis experience should be just as high.

*Special thanks to Damon Michaels.