Acquisition or Exit: Setting Your Cannabis Brand Up for Success in the Eyes of a Buyer
VS Founding Partner Brian Vicente has been helping marijuana businesses obtain state and local licenses since the inception of the regulated cannabis industry — an industry he has played a significant role in shaping. He has also advised national, state, and local government officials in the development of regulated cannabis markets across the country and around the world, including in Uruguay, the first country in the world to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. In late 2018, newly elected Colorado Gov. Jared Polis selected Brian to serve as a member of his gubernatorial transition team, where he sat on the Economic Development and Labor Committee.
Brian was a lead drafter of Colorado's historic legalization initiative, Amendment 64, and he co-directed the successful campaign in support of it. He also served as chair of the Committee for Responsible Regulation, which coordinated the successful campaign to implement statewide excise and sales taxes on adult-use marijuana in Colorado. Previously, Brian served as executive director of Sensible Colorado, a leading nonprofit organization advocating for medical marijuana patients and providers in Colorado. During this time, he played an integral role in litigation that opened the door for medical cannabis dispensaries to open in the state, as well as the legislative process that resulted in Colorado becoming the first state to establish a regulated system of medical cannabis production and distribution.
In 2020 and 2021, Chambers and Partners USA ranked Brian as one of the top cannabis attorneys in the nation. Additionally, he was recognized by Best Lawyers© in 2021 and 2022, named a "Cannabis Law Trailblazer" by the National Law Journal in 2018, and has been included in 5280 magazine's list of "Denver's Top Lawyers" every year from 2015-2021. Brian has conducted more than 1,000 interviews regarding marijuana policy for national, state, and local media outlets, and he was recognized by The Guardian as "the (cannabis) industry's de facto spokesman."
Brian currently serves as president of the National Hispanic Cannabis Council, a purpose-driven nonprofit organization he helped found in 2021. In 2010, Brian was elected as the first board chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association, which now represents nearly 2,000 member businesses and tens of thousands of cannabis professionals. He is also a member of the DanceSafe Advisory Council and previously served on the boards of Sensible Colorado, the Harm Reduction Action Center, and the SAFER Voter Education Fund.
Brian received a full merit scholarship to attend the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, during which time he clerked for outspoken social critic, Senior U.S. District Judge John L. Kane.
Chris served as the founding editor of Marijuana Business Daily during the company’s launch in 2011, becoming the first journalist in the United States to focus exclusively on covering the business of cannabis. As CEO of MJBiz, he now guides the strategic vision of the company and its sister publication – Hemp Industry Daily – while educating mainstream industries about the marijuana and hemp sectors. He’s also the host of the podcast Seed to CEO. Chris has been quoted as one of America’s foremost cannabis industry analysts by dozens of media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, NPR, CNBC, and the New York Times. He earned an MBA in international business from Regis University.
Khadijah Tribble is one of the most respected experts on equity and inclusion in the cannabis industry. As a credible and forward-thinking founder and activist, she advises cannabis investors, government regulators, entrepreneurs and main-stream businesses.
Known as a committed advocate for fair and equitable policies for the betterment of veterans, LGBTQ, POC and individuals from marginalized communities, Khadijah has been on the forefront of interrupting systems for more than two decades.
Tribble is a savvy strategist and a dynamic leader known for her inspiring and passionate style. Whether giving Tedx talks or leading panel discussions, she empowers through educating everyone from the corporate boardroom to the operating rooms- that marijuana matters.
Prior to the mainstream discussion of cannabis, she took a huge risk to her reputation and brand by creating Marijuana Matters (M2), a cannabis education and advocacy incubator. M2 was created while Tribble was a Cheng Fellow at the Social Innovation and Change Initiative.
Khadijah Tribble has served on many boards and advisory groups, including Women in the Life Association, CTF Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce, Human Rights Campaign’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, Not for Profit Hospital (United Medical Center) Board of Directors, National LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce Supplier Diversity Committee and the Community Wellness Collective.
Recognizing the need for trustworthy and experienced equity and inclusion diversity consultants in the cannabis industry, Khadijah Tribble has combined her knowledge of cannabis ecosystem with expertise in the diversity and inclusion field to create the Marijuana Policy Trust (MPT). MPT provides expertise in developing, managing and leading programs designed to foster productive outcomes that lead to an inclusive and diverse cannabis industry.
Heralded as “The Queen of Legal Weed” by Inc. (May 2017) and “The Martha Stewart of Edibles” by Entrepreneur (Jan. 2019), Nancy Whiteman is co-founder and CEO of Wana Brands, a top international brand already available in more than 3,000 dispensaries across the United States and Canada. In October 2021, Canopy Growth Corp. announced it had purchased the right–upon federal permissibility of THC in the US–to acquire Wana Brands. Nancy leads the company’s strategic vision and has been instrumental in Wana Brands’ growth into new and emerging markets. She also directs the development of partnerships and licensing agreements domestically and internationally. Nancy serves on the Marijuana Business Daily Advisory Board and the Benzinga Cannabis Advisory Board. She was included in High Times 100 (May 2022) and received the Green Market Report Women’s Leadership Award for Brands (April 2022). She was recognized as one of Green Entrepreneur’s 35 Most Influential Women in Cannabis (May 2020) and named MJBizDaily’s first-ever Industry Impact Award Winner (December 2019). She is a member of the Colorado Cannabis Manufacturers Association, National Cannabis Industry Association, Cannabis Trade Federation and Marijuana Policy Project. Prior to Wana, Nancy was a principal with The Whiteman Group, a sales and marketing consultancy, and previously held a range of senior-level marketing and business development positions including Vice President, Marketing and New Corporate Ventures for the Paul Revere Insurance Group in Massachusetts. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.