Cannabis Sustainability Symposium Cannabis Sustainability Symposium
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Environmental Standards and Regulations

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Ben Gelt
Cannabis Certification Council, Chair

Ben is an experienced entrepreneur and consultant focused on public affairs, real estate and business development. Ben has an eclectic range of experiences including over a decade in politics, working in startup cultures, and with corporate and small business clients.

Ben has been recognized as an emerging leader in both the political and business world’s winning awards from groups like the MacArthur Foundation and appearing on major networks and well known publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and Rolling Stone Magazine.

Currently, Ben offers strategic consulting ranging from business development, executive advising, land entitlement, and public affairs. His clientele represent all sectors of the professional world working with clients such as:

• University of Colorado
• Montegra Financial Services
• Education Funding Partners
• Waste Farmers
• Grasslands
• Students for Sensible Drug Policy
• Progress Now
• Swanee Hunt (Former US Ambassador)
• Federico Pena (Mayor of Denver & U.S. Secretary of Transportation/Energy)
• Obama For America Campaign (2008)

Jackee Riccio
Cannabis for Conservation, Executive Director

Ms. Riccio has expertise in wildlife management, conservation, and biology, and has applied that experience to developing conservation science in the cannabis industry. She has two degrees from Humboldt State University in Wildlife Management & Conservation, and Archaeology, and has worked in a multitude of habitats and cultural spaces studying wildlife, and our human impact. Her early research and policy work resulted in the management and protection of Salt Island, CT, a previously unmanaged habitat for endangered and threatened nesting shorebirds. Living in Humboldt County, CA, Jackee's conservation work naturally melded with the rise of cannabis. She founded Cannabis for Conservation in 2017, the first 501(c)(3) environmental nonprofit in cannabis, and is now establishing on-the-ground conservation programs for local farms. Her passion is centered in empowering communities with the knowledge and resources to support healthy ecosystems.

Margaret Mantor
California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist)

I began working for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) seven years ago, after earning my PhD in Geography from UC Davis. My focus at CDFW is on environmental permitting for commercial cannabis cultivation, including Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreements.


Harry Etra
HXE Partners, CEO

Harry Etra is the CEO & Founder of HXE Partners. Harry's experience is in advising public and private companies on their sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategies. 

As a Principal at CamberView Partners, he helped companies prioritize their sustainability disclosures and prepare for engagements with institutional investors. Previously as a Director at CodeGreen Solutions, he advised companies on ESG best practices with a focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. His experience includes working with clients to develop annual sustainability reports and earn recognition for their ESG initiatives through reporting programs such as the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), and the EPA's ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award.


Harry holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in history from Yale University.


As the cannabis industry sends its roots down, the standard in which the plant is grown differs from state to state and grow to grow. The need for transparency on whats in our cannabis and how it's grown is becoming a increased demand amongst consumers. This panel will discuss the environmental standards and regulations for cultivating cannabis.