the Cannabis Center of Excellence, inc
Established in late 2019, the Virtual Cannabis Center of Excellence, INC (CCOE), is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that virtually brings together citizens, medical patients, academics, researchers, community members, healthcare professionals, policy makers, and the cannabis industry to drive change in access, best practices, and social justice in cannabis industry. We do this by sharing online, collaborative, and innovative research, education & program resources that drive change.
Our mission is to incorporate citizen-based scientific methods and a platform for community engagement online into mainstream cannabis adult and medical cannabis research, education, and programming. Doing so provides an online vehicle for citizen voices to be amplified to create collective change. CCOE Services include:
The virtual Cannabis Center of Excellence
The Virtual Cannabis Center of Excellence, INC. (CCOE, INC.) is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization that conducts citizen-science focused population studies and programs in the areas of community engagement, medical cannabis, adult-use cannabis, and social justice in the cannabis industry. The CCOE serves as a virtual resource & network of cannabis industry professionals, academics, policy makers, healthcare providers, consumers, and patients who aim to break the stigma and advance social justice in the cannabis industry.
Co-Founder and President
Cannabis Center of Excellence, INC
Digital Health, Cannabis, & Global Health Infectious Disease Researcher, Educator, & Public Health Professional
President of the Cannabis Center of Excellence and current Cannabis Retail Appointee to the Cannabis Advisory Board for the Cannabis Control Commission in Massachusetts. Dr. McNabb co-founded Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN), a Massachusetts-based cannabis research company from 2017 – 2020 that improved the evidence-base related to medical cannabis therapies. C3RN, with UMass Dartmouth, led a two-year open cannabis consumer and patient research study to assess the impact on health, social, and economic outcomes and a 2019 Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Research Study with UMass Dartmouth, and partners. C3RN was an approved qualified training vendor for the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s (CCC) first cohort of the first in the nation Statewide cannabis social equity training program. Dr. McNabb help to establish the Cannabis Education Center at Holyoke Community College in Western Massachusetts. Dr. McNabb holds over 15 years of global public health experience working in the areas of digital health, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and family planning, working primarily in Ethiopia, other African countries, and Haiti. She received her DrPH from Boston University School of Public Health, her MPH from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, and her BA in African and African American Studies from St. Louis University.
Research Data and Program Analyst
Cannabis Center of Excellence, INC.
DJ Ritter is a Research Data and Program Analyst that has worked with the team since 2017, developing research studies, data analytics support, coding, and leadership around data visualization. DJ has an extensive background and knowledge about medical cannabis, from a cultivation, processing, and medical cannabis use perspective. His skill sets range from excellent data analysis, and processing, to co-designing citizen science research studies that employ the latest in digital technology platforms, to help us meet our colleagues, digitally, through accessible mobile applications. We hope to work with DJ for the rest of the Center of Excellence's existence!
Citizen Science Researcher
Cannabis Center of Excellence, INC.
Alex Rewegan is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History, Anthropology, Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) program at MIT. As an anthropologist, Alex studies the social and cultural aspects of cannabis legalization across North America, with a focus on how legalization efforts are offering unique opportunities to address intersecting issues of social, racial, economic, and environmental justice. Studying with and alongside farmers and activists across the continent, Alex studies in particular how and to what extent the legalization of cannabis is informing efforts towards more sustainable and anti-racist forms of agriculture, addressing both the challenges of climate change and the exclusionary, racialized history of North America’s agricultural systems. Alex’s dissertation features ethnographic, comparative case studies of different cannabis farming and market contexts, including California, Massachusetts, and Southern Ontario, providing a rich documentation and analysis of how different legalization regimes roll-out on the ground, and with what effects. Alex originally hails from Toronto, Canada with a B.A. in Anthropology from McMaster University and an M.A. in Social Anthropology from York University.
Director, Experiential Learning Program
Cannabis Center of Excellence, INC
Massachusetts Chapter Head, Minorities for Medical Marijuana
Derrell Black is A Community Board Advisor who is leading theMassachusetts Experiential Learning program the CCOE is launching summer 2021. Derrell Black is the Chapter President of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Inc. (“M4MM”), a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of historically marginalized groups in the Hemp and Marijuana industries. Derrell Black has been honored as one of the 65 outstanding Black and Hispanic Men leading in cannabis.
The Virtual Cannabis Center of Excellence, INC. (CCOE, Inc)
The CCOE is a registered Massachusetts 501c3 non-profit organization that conducts citizen-science-focused population studies and programs in the areas of community engagement, medical cannabis, adult-use cannabis, and social justice in the cannabis industry. You can visit our website at: www.cannacenterofexcellence.org for more information. The CCOE has partnered with UMass Dartmouth and Rider University on its cannabis research studies. The CCOE has also partnered with MIND Program at Harvard/McLean, Boston University, Holyoke Community College, Olive Harvey Community College, Excelsior College, Wayne State University, and other academic and industry to run and deliver cannabis educational programs. The CCOE serves as a virtual resource & network of cannabis industry professionals, academics, policymakers, healthcare providers, consumers, and patients who aim to break the stigma and advance social justice in the cannabis industry. The CCOE implements cannabis-focused citizen science and population-based research studies together with academic, cannabis, and community partners to better understand the everyday reality of a medical cannabis patient or consumer and their real-time experiences with cannabis. The CCOE studies are all reviewed and approved by the UMass Dartmouth Institutional Review Board (IRB) - with the exception of what other universities noted below - for human subjects’ ethical clearance.
● 2021-2022 Healthcare Provider Medical Cannabis Research Study with Medicinal Genomics
● 2021 New Jersey Cannabis Legalization and Social Justice Study with Rider University
● 2020-2021 COVID-19 and Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Study
● 2020-2021 Environmental Sustainability in Cannabis Cultivation
● 2019 Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Study
● 2018-2019 Medical Cannabis Patient and Consumer Study
The CCOE was founded by Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN) formed by Dr. Marion McNabb and Randal MacCaffrie, which operated in Massachusetts as a cannabis research, education, & advocacy company in operation from 2017 - 2020. C3RN was able to accomplish: advocating for the cannabis research license in Massachusetts, forming a four-year running research and education partnership with UMass Dartmouth, conducting six cannabis adult-use consumers and patients research studies, and publishing the research findings. C3RN worked with Holyoke Community College to establish the Cannabis Education Center at Holyoke Community College.
www.cannacenterofexcellence.org. The C3RN leadership team won the first annual Cannabis Ancillary Business start-up competition hosted by the Boston University Questrom School of Business and Green Lion Partners in 2017.
The winning concept was to create a virtual Cannabis Center of Excellence (CCOE) that Dr. Marion McNabb is the current President and Founder. The C3RN team conducted unique cannabis research studies and developed and taught undergraduate and graduate cannabis-focused educational programs, and led over 20 high-level education and networking events in Massachusetts related to cannabis from 2018 - 2020. C3RN was also a Cannabis Control Commission State Social Equity Training Vendor in 2019-2020, teaching eleven courses on cannabis retail, business operations and establishment, medical cannabis, and municipal process, host community law and agreements, and more hired by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. C3RN donated all of its work, data, and educational materials to form the Virtual Cannabis Center of Excellence in 2020.
Cannabis Center of excellence, inc
Community research advisory board
Community Research Advisory Board Members are volunteers and help the CCOE to:
- Work and communicate with groups, organizations, advisory boards, individuals and stakeholders in the community to identify community research and education priorities.
Dr. Staci Gruber
Professor dr. STEVEN White
Randy MacCaffrie co-founded Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN) with Dr. McNabb in 2017. Randy serves as a strategic advisor community board member to the Cannabis Center of Excellence, INC in the areas of cannabis community engagement, and strategic innovation in community involvement in citizen-science. Randy is the CEO of Rands Brand, a cannabis marketing, partnership, and management company. Rands Brand launched Flaming Fruits hot sauce together with partner Coast Cannabis, company. Randy has over 20 years of experience in cannabis advocacy, education, and community leadership. Randy is a skilled craftsman by trade and also currently consults with the cannabis industry in the areas of licensure and construction build-out.
Kim Napoli, Esq
Kim Napoli is the Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Affairs at Parallel. Kim served as the Director of Outreach for the successful Yes on 4 Campaign to Regulate and Tax Marijuana in Massachusetts in 2016. Now, as a Massachusetts Cannabis Advisory Board member, Kim helps develop and deliver messaging regarding social justice and equality in the Massachusetts cannabis industry in order to support and bolster equity in ownership amongst disparately impacted communities such as her own.
Dr. Peter Grinspoon
Grant smith ellis
Grant Smith Ellis is a disabled former graduate student who currently engages with the community as a medical cannabis patient advocate and reporter. Grant was studying political philosophy at Boston College (where he was a Double Eagle) in 2014 when he fell seriously disabled following complications from a surgery. After falling disabled, Grant was introduced to cannabis by his doctor following an 18 month period wherein he was in and out of the hospital. As a result of his positive experiences with medical cannabis, Grant has become involved with grassroots cannabis activism through the local podcast The Young Jurks. His reporting also appears in the local weekly paper DigBoston and on midnightmass.substack.com. Fundamentally, Grant believes the point of grassroots activism or journalism is to ward off public sector malfeasance by corrupt corporate interests. As Grant's favorite adage explains; "journalism is printing what someone else wants to keep hidden; everything else is public relations"."
Liz Grinspoon is the Data Scientist for the Laboratory for Brain and Cognitive Health Technology at McLean Hospital. She earned her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Manufacturing Engineering from Boston University. Her Ph.D. research involved mathematical modeling, stochastic optimization, and simulation applied to manufacturing systems with significant setup times. Dr. Grinspoon has worked at a number of software companies including Oracle, i2 Technologies (acquired by JDA), Blue Agave Software (acquired by i2 Technologies), Dell, having a variety of roles and responsibilities including software engineering, technical consulting, and software system architecting.
Sam Milton is a lifelong advocate for meaningful public policies and forward-thinking business strategies that work to improve the human condition, particularly at the intersection of development and environmental sustainability. As Principal of Climate Resources Group (CRG), a New England-based consulting firm with a focus on identifying business solutions at the intersection of climate and energy, Sam works with the cannabis industry through CRG’s grower advisory service, Enlighten Your Grow. In this work, Sam and his team guide cannabis cultivation facility developers and operators on approaches to optimize their grow operations and on strategies to incorporate sustainability principles into all aspects of their business. Sam has been active in cannabis and energy policy across New England, including serving as policy advisor to the Resource Innovation Institute, a national not-for-profit organization that champions energy efficiency best practices for data, policy and operations for the cannabis industry.
Stephen Mandile is a Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is the CEO and co-founder of United Mass Wellness, a Massachusetts retail cannabis business. Stephen volunteers as the Assistant Legislative Director for DAV Department of Massachusetts. Stephen provides education, services, support, advocacy and opportunities for and to veterans interested in utilizing alternative healing approaches and methodologies in treating ailments or conditions which affect them mentally, physically, emotionally, or psychologically thereby reducing the use of opiates and other pharmacological drugs used to suppress and temporarily manage pain, symptoms, and mental health concerns without stigma.
Chandra Batra is a long time running medical cannabis advocate and leader in the community. Her efforts to fight for patient access to medical cannabis, and her commitment to advocacy makes her an ideal patient advocate representative community board member for the COE.
Derrell Black is the Chapter President of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Inc. (“M4MM”), a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of historically marginalized groups in the Hemp and Marijuana industries. Derrell Black has been honored as one of the 65 outstanding Black and Hispanic Men leading in cannabis, a write up published by Dasheeda Dawson, CEO of The Weedhead Co. and has been featured on Yahoo Finance. Derrell has an astounding work ethic. He has been working since he was 15 years old. He has over 15 years of customer service experience and over 10 years of management experience. In addition, his charismatic personality coupled with his professional experience have imbued him with impeccable people skills. Growing up in Boston, Derrell was able to directly witness the devastating effects that the cruel crusade on cannabis produced in his community. Knowing that he could not stand idly by and watch the emerging industry thrust the interests of blacks and minorities into the shadows of obscurity, he took action and launched his first business, Black’s Canna Consulting. The company’s mission is to help those who were most harmed by the war on drugs navigate the emerging legal marijuana landscape. Derrell is passionate about educating Black people and minorities on cannabis and does so by developing advocacy, education, and marketing campaigns to promote awareness, information, and education about the efficacy of cannabis and the viability of hemp. Derrell is committed to raising youth awareness and continuing to develop an equitable cannabis industry. Derrell has been a part of M4MM since October 2018.
Blake Mensing, ESQ
Attorney Blake M. Mensing is The Mensing Group LLC's Founder and Chief Counsel, and brings a no-nonsense approach to cannabis law in Massachusetts. Blake earned a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2005), a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law (2010), an M.A. in International Affairs with a concentration in Global Environmental Policy from American University School of International Service (2010), and an LL.M. in Environmental Law from the George Washington University Law School (2011), where he was a Randolph C. Shaw Graduate Environmental Fellow. While in law school, Blake served as the Senior Note and Comment Editor of the International Law Review and as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Sustainable Development Law & Policy. Blake received the Dean's Award for Professional Responsibility for exemplifying proficiency in skills and the highest ethical standards of the profession for his work in American University Washington College of Law's nationally recognized General Practice Clinic.
Blake was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 2010 and his legal experience includes transactional real estate, consumer protection litigation, environmental law, and municipal law. In his capacity as associate town counsel for seven towns throughout the Commonwealth, Blake has written and edited zoning and general bylaws, advised boards of selectmen on medical marijuana dispensary regulation by the Department of Public Health, worked with planning boards and zoning boards of appeal, and represented municipalities before the Massachusetts courts and administrative regulatory agencies. As a former Conservation Commissioner for the Town of Holliston, Blake was one of the local regulators charged with enforcing both the state's Wetlands Protection Act and the town's wetlands bylaw. Blake brings his legal and local skills to every interaction with state and local officials, which, when coupled with affability and honesty, helps to make him a different kind of lawyer.
Blake also serves as Chief Counsel of Squared Holdings LLC, which is pursuing licensure from the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program, a state registry program within the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Blake knows cannabis and knows the law.
Bar Admissions: Commonwealth of Massachusetts and U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Beth Waterfall is on a mission to use education, compassion and advocacy to break stigma against people who use and work with cannabis. Named to BostInno’s 2019 ‘50 on Fire’ class and the Boston Business Journal’s 2018 40 Under 40 list, Beth is founder and executive director of 501c3 nonprofit ELEVATE Northeast, and founder and president of cannabis marketing consultancy Beth Waterfall Creative.
Beth is credited with brokering some of the most impactful industry relationships in Massachusetts, and for fostering informed dialogue that increased public acceptance and widened a pathway for countless cannabis entrepreneurs and small businesses to open their doors. As a business development advisor, Beth helps cannabis executives and companies grow through effective communications, strategic connections, and unforgettable event experiences.
Beth is also a passionate educator dedicated to positive public relations for cannabis and is an ardent advocate for inclusion, leadership and ownership in the cannabis industry for women, LGBTQA+ and other traditionally marginalized groups. She has written for the Boston Globe, Ladybud, 1000 Watts, Freedom Leaf, and Cape and Plymouth Business magazines, and is a frequent speaker at cannabis industry, marketing, event planning, and community outreach events. Learn more at bethwaterfall.com.
Andrea Carter an Entrepreneur and Regulatory Compliance Officer with nearly a decade of Regulatory Compliance experience in the Oil&Gas and Semiconductor-Tech industry. She is a first generation American, born In Houston Texas, daughter to a Trinidadian father and British-Trinidadian mother. Ms. Carter has a Bachelors’ degree in Biology from the University of Houston (Clear Lake) and a J.D. from Texas A&M University School of Law. My appreciation for the policy behind social equity (i.e. justice, fairness, and equality), the sense of community in the Cannabis industry, and community outreach opportunities motivated her to leave Texas and continue my journey in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Dr. Sarah Trocchio
Dr. Sarah Trocchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Rider University, with an expertise in the reproduction and remediation of inequities in drug policies and reforms. She obtained her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University-Newark, and is a dedicated scholar-advocate. Prior to earning her Ph.D., Sarah received her M.S.W. from Boston University, where she served as a graduate research fellow at the Center for Addictions Research and Services. She has published, presented, and taught widely in the fields of criminal justice, sociology, and social work, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her work has been featured in outlets such as The Journal of Research on Crime and Delinquency, Substance Use & Misuse, and The American Society of Criminology’s Handbook on Punishment & Corrections.
L. George Sulak
L. George Sulak graduated from Columbia University in 2009 with a focus on Psychology & Business. Over the last 11 years he has advised, operated and invested in small-to-medium sized artisanal luxury cannabis brands across the USA & internationally. Originally his cannabis expertise was focused towards helping farmers arrive at the best post-harvest potential by maximizing flavor, smell, and effects through multi-month curing. Once medical legalization passed in Massachusetts, George could work on projects closer to home including advocacy for the most rigorous quality control testing on the East Coast. Under the penname G.W. Hightower, he has written and edited cannabis articles for Sensi Magazine and Dig Boston.
George specializes in advising cannabis brands on how to inspire & expand clientele through luxury retail, educational, and immersive hospitality experiences as well as the development of innovative infusions for edibles. In 2017, he co-founded Stalk & Beans, an eCommerce and transport platform for the Massachusetts cannabis industry.