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.
Dr. Marion mcnabb
President, Cannabis Center of Excellence, INC
Co-Founder of Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN), Digital, Cannabis and Global Health Infectious Disease Researcher and Practitioner
Cannabis Research Data and Program Analyst
Citizen Science Researcher
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.
Cannabis Center of excellence, inc
Community research advisory board
Community Research Advisory Board Members 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.
- Guide the development of an open dataset available for future access to anon cannabis data.
- Increase awareness for the role that research and education can play in solving cannabis medical, adult use and social justice needs.
- Emphasizes the importance of increasing health equity and supporting inclusivity in research studies and educational programs.
Dr. Staci Gruber
Professor dr. STEVEN White
Dr. Peter Grinspoon
Kim Napoli, Esq
Senior Advisor for Research and Social Justice
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.
Senior Cannabis Community Advisor
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 currently a lead of 420deals.club, a web platform that engages and provides marketing support for cannabis businesses of all types. 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.
Grant smith ellis
Medical Cannabis Patient and Research Advisor
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"."
Senior Data and Research Advisor
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.
Energy and Sustainability Expert
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.
Senior Research and Medical Cannabis Advisor
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 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. Since then, he has been expanding the organization and leaving his imprint in Massachusetts at a rapid pace. He is a champion for community collaborations and has partnered with Kush Groove smoke shop on their community outreach efforts in Roxbury. In addition, Derrell created Let’s Talk Weed Outreach Meetings, with the first meeting covering economic empowerment opportunities, Massachusetts marijuana laws and regulations, and social equity. Continuing his legacy of community partnerships, Derrell partnered with the co-founder of Two Buds, Grover Daniels, to host the second, third and fourth Let’s Talk Weed Meetings. These meetings respectively discussed business valuations and taxation and fees and Host Community Agreements.
Due to his immense knowledge and experience in the industry, Derrell has become a regular speaker at cannabis industry events. Derrell has spoken at the New England Real Estate Journal Cannabis in CRE 2019 and NECANN Springfield 2019. As a result of Derrell speaking at NECANN Springfield, he was featured in the Middletown Press published by Ken Dixon. In addition, he was able to cultivate an amazing relationship with Elevate NorthEast while attending their Cultivation Seminar, and, as a result, he has made M4MM a community leader in all of Elevate’s Community Conversation Series.
In November 2019, M4MM partnered with MCR Labs and MRCC to host a career fair in the disproportionately impacted community of Roxbury. In December he finished the year with a visit to MJBIZCON Las Vegas where M4MM won nonprofit organization of the year for two consecutive years.
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.
Iraqi War Veteran and Cannabis Expert
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.
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 me to leave Texas and continue my journey in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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.
Community and Education Expert
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.
L. George Washington 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. In 2018, he launched Elevated Green Health to organize upscale social environments for educational & networking purposes that ignite connections between cannabis investors, operators and consumers. George is one of a few good men invited to participate in the ArcView Women’s Investor Network. Currently, he serves as Sensi-Sommelier and co-founder of RationCompany, a value brand in pre-launch phase with a foundational mission to improve veterans’ quality of life.