Prior Speakers and Bios


Detroit City Council President pro tem George Cushingberry Jr.

In addition to being the current City Council President pro tem, Mr. Cushingberry has had a long and distinguished career fighting to secure equal treatment for all people and an end to the Drug War. His accomplishments include:

Graduate of Cass Tech High School; B.A. (with distinction)
in black studies and political science with communications minor, M.A. in political science, urban politics, policy, and administration, and Ph.D. candidate in political science, Wayne State University; J.D., University of Detroit Mercy; youngest person ever elected to the Michigan House of Representatives (age 21), serving from 1975
to 1982; 16 years as a member of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners; member, New Mount Vernon Baptist Church – Royal Oak Township; Assistant Sunday School superintendent, and chair, Political and Social Action Committee, New Prospect Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Agriculture Commission chair, Rev. S. Leon Whitney; assistant pastor, New Starlight Baptist Church, Rev. C.L. Petty, senior pastor; principal attorney, George Cushingberry, Jr. and Associates PLLC; TV/radio producer and host of “The Prospector Reveals” TV-33 UHF/Radio 88.1FM;
active with the NAACP, the Concerned Citizens Council Youth Task Force, and the Afro-American Museum of Detroit; reelected to the House of Representatives, 2004, 2006, 2008; historian, Michigan Legislative Black Caucus.


Rep/ Yousef Rabhi

Yousef Rabhi is serving in his first term as a state representative for the 53rd House District, which includes parts of the city of Ann Arbor and portions of Ann Arbor, Pittsfield and Scio townships.

Rep. Rabhi was born in Ypsilanti and raised in Ann Arbor. He attended Ann Arbor Public Schools, including Northside, Bach Open, Clague and Huron high schools. After graduating, he attended the University of Michigan where he earned a degree in environmental science with a specialization in urban planning and ecosystem management.

Throughout college, Rep. Rabhi worked for social change as an activist in peace, labor and environmental movements. During his senior year of college, he took his passion for the Ann Arbor community and channeled it into his first political campaign running for the County Board of Commissioners. After winning his first election, he was elected as the board’s working session chair in his first term, where he led the board through many important decisions. In his second term on the board, Rep. Rabhi was elected to be chair of the Board of Commissioners. It was in this capacity that he was able to help put the county on stable fiscal footing by passing the county’s first balanced four-year budget, earning the county a AAA Bond rating for the first time in the county’s history. This accomplishment, along with others, helped him earn his reelection to the board for a third term, where he was subsequently elected to be vice-chair of the board.

During his time on the County Board of Commissioners, Rep. Rabhi was able to serve on nearly 20 different boards, committees and commissions covering topics such as public safety, public works, solid waste management, transportation, human service funding and land preservation, among others. Before being elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, he worked at the University of Michigan as the Volunteer Coordinator at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.




Director Shelly Edgerton, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

Shelly Edgerton is the Director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Prior to joining LARA, Ms. Edgerton dedicated 27 years of service to the state Legislature where she served most recently in the capacity of Deputy Senate Majority Counsel in the Senate Majority Policy Office. She also previously held titles of Assistant Senate Majority Counsel and Chief of Staff for Senator Dave Honigman.


Justin Dunaskiss, Lobbyist

An In-Depth Look At The New Law

Justin is the principal at Dunaskiss Consulting and Development, Inc. Justin has been supporting the MICBD Conferences from early on, and he delivers a crucial element in our Conference format: he gives an hour-long overview of the entire MMFLA, including insights as to how things were done during the drafting process (he was there) and how things are evolving in Lansing today (because he IS there!). Justin is one of the most in-demand speakers at our Conferences and is very generous with his time for extra questions. Join us on July 9 in Detroit.


Anqunette 'Q' Jamison, former Fox News anchor and M.S. patient

Anqunette spoke at the 2016 MICBD Conference in Flint. Her story of how her illness robbed her of ability, and then the prescription medications robbed her of herself, sets the stage for her tale of healing with cannabis medicines. Her shocking demonstration of the number of prescription medications she was advised to take is a testament to the valued nature of the medical marijuana program, and a reminder during this business-professional gathering that there is a human side to the commerce and regulation of our emergent industry.


Carmen Brace, ACLARA Research

Carmen Brace is a consumer insights and strategy executive with a track record of utilizing consumer research to improve business results.  Her career within the consumer goods industry spans ConAgra Foods, the Campbell Soup Company, and the Wrigley Company.

Brace founded Aclara Research in January 2016 to bring data driven insights to the medical cannabis, consumer goods and healthcare industries. She developed consumer panels in multiple states participating in legalized medical marijuana programs and collects valuable insights from cannabis users to provide research on the impact of cannabis on patients.


Ken "Blanks" Harrell, cannabis stock market expert

Speaker: Cannabis Stocks, the market and small business opportunities

Ken "Blanks" Harrell is a consistent media personality and subject matter expert in the areas of: stock market investing, small-business analysis & development, and personal finance. His company, Bullish Institute of Financial Literacy, LLC exists to educate, enlighten and empower its students. Founded by our resident stock market guru: Ken "Blanks" Harrell, has 20 years of relevant & active stock market trading experience. He has personally executed over 2,000 stock trades in his career.  To date, Ken "Blanks" Harrell has personally taught stock market concepts to hundreds of adults and high school students in Southeastern Michigan. He currently teaches monthly & quarterly workshops in the cities of Detroit, Pontiac and Inkster. Harrell is now expanding the workshop series out of state.


Paul Samways, CPA

Proper Business Practice in a Cannabis Industry

Paul was slated to speak at an earlier MICBD event but was unable to attend; then, in Traverse City, we were able to get him in on the Municipal Relations Panel discussion and he was a hit! His firm Cannabis Accounting Inc is Michigan's top CPA firm dealing with cannabis-related corporations. There are so many questions surrounding the finances and record-keeping involved with cannabis businesses, only a specialist can give you the correct answer! Paul joins the Southeast Michigan Conference as a Primary Speaker.


Barton Morris, Attorney

Moderator: Minority Inclusion Panel Discussion

Barton was voted a Super Lawyer from 2014 - 2016; is an American Chemical Society Forensic Lawyer Scientist; an expert in cannabis-related science; NORML Legal Committee member; Trial Lawyers College graduate; and is the Founder of the Cannabis Legal Group from Royal Oak.


Jamaine Dickens, Political Strategist

Panelist: Minority Inclusion Panel Discussion

Jamaine Dickens is the principal at DMC Strategies, a public affairs firm that has operated in the city of Detroit for 11 years. DMC Strategies has consulted MMCCs throughout the city of Detroit and has represented and consulted on two of the three MMCCs that have been approved by the city of Detroit Board of Zoning Appeals in the nearly 200 cases heard.



Margeaux Bruner, Market Leader, Women Grow

Margeaux Bruner is market leader of Metro Detroit and West Michigan chapters of Women Grow, MJ Freeway affiliate, and National Cannabis Industry Association member. Advocacy comes in many forms; hers is legalization, decriminalization, working to extirpate laws and policies surrounding cannabis that have devastated people of color.   

She is cannabis educator and business consultant at Quantum Mechanic Services and prides herself on having an aptitude for conventional conversations on cannabis in unconventional spaces. Notably, her two program submissions: Cannabis Industry: Jobs and Economics and Politics, Diversity and Advocacy in Cannabis to Chase Bank’s Detroit Startup Week were historical in that they were the first submissions of their kind to the international event.



Allison Ireton, Attorney

Allison Ireton is a cannabis business attorney at Ann Arbor's Huron Valley Law Associates P.C. with a background in health care law.  She is also one of the co-founders of Bloom City Club in Ann Arbor and co-chairs the Ann Arbor chapter of Women Grow.  She routinely advises aspiring entrepreneurs on the challenges and hurdles to entering this market.

Ron Jones, Sons of Hemp

Ronald Jones II- President Sons of Hemp and a second-generation business owner in the City of Detroit.  S.O.H is comprised of a diverse group of Herbalists, Care Givers, & Medical Patients in the Hemp/Cannabis Industry whose sole purpose is to Unity, Educate, Create Opportunities & Support Ownership in every facet of the Hemp & Cannabis Industry. Our Mission is to ensure the existence of diversity while fighting the systematic drug war injustices we face as Healers, Educators, Researchers, Care Givers & Patients of Hemp/Cannabis.   As a Howard University alum, continuing the credence of well-being including: purpose, social, financial and community.  Notably, Mr. Jones is also caregiver, cannabis activist, and cultivator.


Host: Rick Thompson, Emcee

Event Creator and Emcee

As a man with a variety of experience, Rick Thompson can discuss any aspect of the new laws- or Michigan's medical marijuana history- with confidence. Winner of the Citizen Activist of the Year - U.S.A.- Award and awarded the title of Journalist of the Year, Thompson has been involved in cannabis law reform and cannabis publishing industries for years.


Host: Jamie Lowell

Jamie has been involved with marijuana law reform since the medical marijuana law passed in Michigan. In 2009 he co-founded the first medical marijuana dispensary to be licensed by any governmental unit east of the Mississippi River in the United States. 3rd Coast, in Ypsilanti, is still in operation and Lowell is still making inroads in marijuana law reform. He's on the Board of the MILegalize2018 group, and is a top organizer and fundraiser.



Segment Director: Anne Schultz

Anne Schultz has been an educator, writer, and photographer over the last ten years. She has taught Communication and Public Speaking at Saginaw Valley State University and Delta College and her work has been published in the Flint Journal, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Live Magazine, Culture Magazine, and Maximum Yield. She has worked with several industry manufacturers, organizations, and publications and has launched Schultz PR | Media where she will continue to focus on community partnerships, strategic sponsorships, grassroots outreach, media content, and business development. Anne holds a Bachelor’s degree from Saginaw Valley State University in English and a Master’s degree in Public Relations and Organizational Communication from Wayne State University.


Bethany Moore, NCIA



Darrell Stavros, Third Coast Dispensary

Charlie Strachbein, BDT's Pipe and Tobacco Shops



Matthew Abel, attorney, Cannabis Counsel, Exec. Director, Michigan NORML, Board member, MILegalize2018

Thomas Lavigne, attorney, Cannabis Counsel, Board member, MILegalize 2018



Attorney Daniel Grow, Chair, Marijuana Law Section, Michigan Bar Association



Eric L. VanDussen, journalist and many other accomplishments



Jesse L. Williams, attorney



Jeff Irwin, former House Representative



Attorney Joshua Covert, Michigan Cannabis Defender



Mary Chartier, attorney, Alane Chartier PLC



Mike Nichols, attorney, Nichols Law


Bernard Jocuns, attorney, Jocuns Law; founder, Marijuana Law Section, Michigan Bar Association



Jim Powers, Michigan Parents for Compassion



Deb Young, former Board member, MILegalize 2018; petitioning and local ordinance specialist


Photos and Media Coverage of Past MICBD Events

Photos and Media Coverage of Past MICBD Events

Conference by the Bay- Northwest Michigan College's Hagerty Center March 26 2017

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Capital Conference- Lansing Radisson Hotel, December 4, 2016

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December 4, 2016
The Radisson Hotel, downtown Lansing
WLNS TV6 Lansing



Understanding Conference - Flint Holiday Inn Conference Center - October 2016

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‘Understanding’ Conference

October 16, 2016



Cannabis Business Development Conference - Flint Holiday Inn Conference Center - 2015

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