2017 honorees

Throughout the dinner, awards will be presented to our guests of honor, trailblazers who have achieved excellence in cannabis activism and entrepreneurship.


Steve Deangelo

Lifetime Achievement

Steve DeAngelo is a national cannabis leader who has inspired millions throughout his four decade career as a cannabis activist, advocate, entrepreneur and educator.  Driven by his compassion for others, Steve has founded many successful socially responsible ventures including Harborside Health Center, the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the world.

Steve is also Co-founder and President of the Arcview Group, a company formed to introduce investors to the cannabis community, and vice versa. To attract the best, brightest and most motivated entrepreneurs and investors for the next innovative American industry, Steve and his staff operate the Arcview Angel Investor Network.

Steve believes cannabis is medicine and that it should be used to further personal wellness and not be used as an intoxicant.  As an accomplished speaker, Steve DeAngelo can be found at events and conferences around the world inspiring others through his work.

His unique sense of style, his commitment to his community and his passion for cannabis make him both a role model and a pop cultural icon.


Excellence in political advocacy & legislative action

Aaron Smith is co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the largest trade association representing legal cannabis businesses in the U.S and the only one working to advance the industry on a national level.

Prior to launching NCIA, Aaron distinguished himself as a public advocate for marijuana policy reform — first under the auspices of a California-based medical cannabis advocacy group, Safe Access Now in 2005, and then as the California state policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project until founding NCIA in 2010. Aaron has successfully built coalitions with elected officials on both sides of the aisle in order to advance marijuana law reform legislation. Aaron’s opinion pieces have appeared in major newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, and he has been a frequent commentator on national television news networks. Originally from California, Aaron is currently based in Denver.



Excellence in Cultivation 

Daniel Grace is a respected pioneer, business leader, activist and expert in the California cannabis industry. Grace founded Dark Heart Nursery in 2007 and has spent the last nine years pioneering the B2B nursery niche and growing the business into California’s most highly regarded purveyor of cannabis clones. Building on the success of Dark Heart Nursery, in 2015 Grace led his team of Dark Heart alchemists on the creation and introduction of the Alchemy line of botanical-infused cannabis vaporizer pens, developed to fill the needs of new and lapsed users who want a moderate potency product and a consistent, controlled experience they can trust. Grace also serves as a director for the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), an organization that represents medical cannabis businesses throughout California and advocates on behalf of members to state representatives in Sacramento and at a local level. In 2016 Grace launched and chaired CCIA’s Agricultural Subcommittee which serves to increase awareness of cannabis agricultural issues and serves as a resource for state regulators on cannabis agriculture. Grace also helped develop CCIA legislative strategy and its Political Action Committee. Through his pioneering work with Dark Heart Nursery and Alchemy, as well as the California Cannabis Industry Association, Grace has an intimate understanding of the complicated and ever-evolving cannabis industry in California and beyond. Looking ahead, Grace plans to continue his his leadership role in protecting, fostering and advocating for this burgeoning industry

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Excellence in Cannabis Media Relations 

Gaynell Rogers is a national media consultant, source & influencer in the cannabis industry for the last 9 years. She was recruited to the industry as a twice cancer survivor with national and international media experience in 2009 by Steve DeAngelo. Gaynell placed early feature stories in national outlets such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Fortune and many others, as well as securing the 1 st cannabis television series on The Discovery Channel “Weed Wars” when media heads were turning the other way because of reputational risk. Past and current cannabis clients include national thought leaders and leading brands including Robert Hoban & The Hoban Law Group, Jim McAlpine’s 420 Games & The New West Summit, Boulder’s The Farm, SF’s Harvest, Troy Dayton & The Arc View Group, as well as all things Harborside. She was formerly Head of Feature Film Publicity at Pixar and a Senior Publicist for Lucasfilm. Gaynell is married to 8 time Grammy nominee producer / performer & virtuoso slide guitarist Roy Rogers.

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Seibo Shen

Excellence in Hardware Technology

After a successful career in a number of revenue-generating roles in the Silicon Valley with 4 successful exits (Data.com, Successfactors, E2open, Yammer), Seibo Shen founded VapeXhale in 2010 and has served as CEO since the company’s inception. An active leader in the vaporizer community, Seibo works closely with VapeXhale’s product team to shape the technology behind the company’s products. The approach behind VapeXhale’s flagship product The EVO was Seibo’s original concept, a technology that won five Best Product awards its first year on the market. Seibo received a Bachelor of Science in Ethnic Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to VapeXhale, Seibo worked as integral part of the sales team at four successful companies in the Silicon Valley, including Jigsaw, Successfactors, E2open, Yammer, and Fliptop. Seibo spent the early part of his career as a stuntman and background dancer for various artists, such as Bone Thugs N Harmony, Mortal Kombat, Bush and The Grinch. Along with his desire to create high quality vaporizer technology, Seibo has a desire to use his voice in the cannabis community as a platform for activism. Seibo is actively involved with spreading awareness about the benefits of using cannabis as a medical aid. As an athlete, he has worked to raise awareness with other athletes that support cannabis for a cause that Seibo started called the Cannathlete. Some of the Cannathletes that Seibo works with to raise awareness include Eugene Monroe, Jake Shields, Denny Prokopos, Ricky Williams, and Kyle Kingsbury. 

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Alison Ettel

Excellence in Medicine for Animals

Alison has a varied professional background from Wall St to think tanks plus a few masters degrees. Her true calling, however, came after trying cannabis while recovering from a coma. After studying and researching the plant, she became passionate about providing high quality cannabis medicine for others and to raise the bar for the industry overall. TreatWell specializes in producing the highest quality cannabis medicine for both people and animals. Their flagship products are their tinctures, with CBD rich, acid (THCA and CBDA), and pet lines. TreatWell strives to be ahead of the curve, integrating the latest research and thinking on the benefits of the cannabis plant to offer innovative, effective and safe medicinal products for humans and animals.

Dr. Andrew Kerklaan

Excellence in Topical Medicine

Dr. Andrew Kerklaan has been in practice for 20 years. A Montrealer, Dr. Kerklaan started his clinical career in London, England before returning home where he established his practice in Westmount, Quebec, helping the Montreal community since 2003. After two decades of being on the front line of pain management and seeing the general effectiveness of available treatment options, as well as side effects of commonly used medications, Dr. Kerklaan was interested to seek additional treatment approaches for patients in need. His research led him to understand the historical use of cannabis for pain management. Further investigation and the development of the medical marijuana regulations in Canada drew him to the conclusion that topical cannabis products should be available to patients who need help. This led to the founding of ECS BioMed which plans to develop(starting in the United States –Oregon, Washington and Colorado) a line of topical cannabis products.

Teaming up with leading biochemists, Dr. Kerklaan is examining ways of formulating topical cannabis creams, ointments and sprays targeting pain and inflammation while avoiding the psychoactive effect of ingesting cannabinoids.  He has seen a significant number of patients benefit from the use of cannabis (through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations) and believes that access to cannabis should be available in the safest forms possible.

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Visionary and creator of Healthy Headie Lifestyle, a direct to consumer information and sales program for the cannabis lifestyle. Current CEO, awarded Best Pitch for Healthy Headie at Arcview Denver 2015, NewWest Summit SF, Weedclub.com and CBWXE 420 Pitch.

Leveraging her 15+ years in customer service, branding and communications and her expert knowledge of the cannabis space as a Cannabis consultant, imparting her business insight and hands-on experience navigating the budding industry. Working with industry titans such as Harborside Health Center and GoldDrop Extracts on community engagement and business development strategies.She has been interviewed by many local and national publications including Huffington Post,  Dope Magazine, International Business Times and has appeared in local programing and nationally on CBS This Morning & VICE. Holly is also a 2011 Oaksterdam Alumni, as well as recipient of Cape and Island 40 Under 40 Award at age 29.

She continues to inspire, create change, spread inspiration and education through social entrepreneurship. Leading by example, being a mentor, a mentee, a connector and bridging the chasm.


Philip Wolf

Philip Wolf, a pioneer in the cannabis industry started in the Colorado market in 2009 after opening Colorado Cannabis Caregivers, one of the first medical dispensaries in Colorado Springs. Following the sale of his equity in the dispensary, Wolf consulted on grow operations around the state. In February of 2014, after working with a Wall St Banker on multiple ancillary businesses, Philip created Cultivating Spirits with the idea on tapping into Main Stream America through wine-style culinary cannabis experiences and education. 

After creating Cultivating Spirits, Wolf conceptualized the science of pairing terpene profiles of Cannabis with flavor profiles of food for a harmonization, which teaches people how to identify the mood of their high and how to consciously consume. This pairing process has been recognized as one of the hottest culinary trends by major media outlets including Rolling Stone and Vice's Bong Appetite. High Times said, "Cultivating Spirits has pioneered the emerging cannabis hospitality scene, hosting dinners, tours, classes, parties and more in Colorado."

Along with Bec Koop, Philip founded the Cannabis Wedding Expo hosting trend setting companies who want to present their products/services to non-traditional cannabis consumers. Being held in Denver and San Fransico in 2017, the Cannabis Wedding Expo looks to expand into San Diego this Spring. "With apologies to ’80s rocker Billy Idol, forget the white wedding. Weed weddings are where it’s at in a post-Prop. 64 world." - The San Francisco Chronicle in an article covering the April of 2017 Cannabis Wedding Expo.


More thought leaders and special guests of honor to be announced.