who we are

MCBA’s mission is carried out by its diverse managing board whose expertise provides value to our memberships. Strategic collaboration with fellow leaders, directly and indirectly related to the cannabis industry, helps ensure the sustainability and relevancy of this organization.
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our story

who we are

Founded in late 2015, the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) is the first non-profit organization created to serve the specific needs of minority cannabis entrepreneurs, workers, and patients/ consumers. The organization currently serves members from across the United States and Canada. Its 17-member board of directors is comprised of a diverse group of cannabis industry veterans and activists from across the U.S.

MCBA VISION

The cannabis industry will maximize its unique potential to serve as an economic accelerator and creator of opportunity, and improve critical social and health measures of all communities.

MCBA MISSION

To create equal access and economic empowerment for cannabis businesses, their patients, and the communities most affected by the war on drugs.

"MCBA IS THE SUM OF THE EFFORTS, EXPERIENCES, AND FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF OUR INDIVIDUAL AND COMPANY MEMBERS."

- Jeannette Ward, MCBA Board Vice Chairwoman

our passion

why this agenda

COMBAT THE WAR ON DRUGS

The U.S. “war on drugs” — a decades-long policy of racial and class suppression hidden behind cannabis criminality — has resulted in the arrest, interdiction, and incarceration of a high percentage of Americans of color. The legal cannabis industry represents a great opportunity to help balance the detrimental effects of the war on drugs by creating an equal playing field for all people to benefit from the changing legal landscape.

BUILD A BETTER CANNABIS INDUSTRY

Unfortunately, currently there are few minorities in the cannabis industry. MCBA believes heavy regulation, high cost of entry, and information gaps hinder minorities from entering the industry as owners, employees, and patients & consumers. Removing these barriers to embrace all communities will increase the cannabis industry’s growth, contribute to its economic development, and display the positive impact of cannabis medicine.

our board

mcba leaders

meet

jesce horton

Board Chairman
Jesce Horton is the owner of Panacea Valley Gardens, a cultivation center and boutique edibles line serving cannabis patients in Portland, OR. He is also the cofounder of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, a non-profit organization focused on increasing diversity in the cannabis industry through educational programs on economic empowerment, social justice and patient awareness...
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seth adler

Seth Adler runs Cannabis Economy which has four initiatives: The Cannabis Economy Podcast (a real-time oral history of legal cannabis), Action Groups (geographical & industry issue focused working groups), Executive Forums (closed-door, invite-only, workshop-style gatherings), and CannAwards (industry awards ceremonies which recognize and celebrate innovation & leadership in Cannabis)...
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tiffany bowden

Prior to launching the Minority Cannabis business association with her peers, she has played an active role in social justice, advocacy and education. She holds a master's degree in Media Studies from Ohio University and is a PhD Candidate at the University of Illinois specializing in media representation politics and the impact that those representations have on societies...
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judge shelli hayes

Judge Hayes is admitted to the New York Bar and the Illinois Bar.  She served as a Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois for 18 years.  While on the bench, Judge Hayes acquired courtroom legal experience in business, marketing and management.

As a trial lawyer with Earl L. Neal and Associates, Chicago, IL, her legal practice specialized in real estate matters, condemnation, zoning, litigation and municipal law...
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Kayvan Khalatbari

A leading executive in the cannabis industry, Mr. Khalatbari co-founded Denver Relief, which was the longest-operating cannabis business in Denver, Colorado prior to its sale to Willie Nelson in 2016. He is also co-founder and operations manager for Denver Relief Consulting, which has assisted clients in a dozen states, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C. and Canada with winning licenses in merit-based application processes and improving existing operations....
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DR. RACHEL KNOX, MD, MBA

Dr. Rachel Knox received her medical and business degrees from Tufts university after completing her undergraduate studies at Duke. She is trained in Family and Integrative Medicine, now providing focused consultation in the areas of Functional Medicine and Cannabis Therapeutics. 

Dr. Knox counsels over 500 patients a month throughout the Pacific NW and California in Cannabis Therapeutics...
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SHABNAM MALEK

Shabnam Malek is a partner at Brand & Branch LLP. She advises clients on intellectual property strategy and protection and company growth. She also represents clients in disputes, develops worldwide expansion strategies, and negotiates deals.

Shabnam is the founding President of the National Cannabis Bar Association. Her other professional affiliations include the International Trademark Association and California Bar Association...
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JASON ORTIZ

Jason got his Bachelors degree in Public and Community Engagement from the University of Connecticut. He has been fighting to end the war on drugs since he first heard the words "School to prison pipeline". He has worked on a number of progressive campaigns, both issue based and electoral, with victories electing Strong Progressives to the School Board of Durham North Carolina, and changing drug policy law in CT...
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Shanita Penny M.B.A.

Shanita Penny M.B.A. is an internationally recognized management consultant with over a decade of experience in helping Fortune 500 companies solve complex issues and improve business performance. Her reputation as a strategic thinker and a results oriented leader was cultivated in management and consulting roles with companies such as Pepsico, McCormick & Company and JDA Software....
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Jonathan Teeters

Jonathan Teeters is the Director of Government Affairs at Tradiv, a full-service cannabis distribution and logistics company powered by the Tradiv online platform. Prior to joining the Tradiv team, Mr. Teeters served as the Director of Operations for DOPE Magazine, the nation's premier cannabis lifestyle publication, where he developed management structures and revenue systems driving the magazine’s national expansion today.....
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SHALEEN TITLE

Shaleen Title is a co-founder of THC Staffing Group, a boutique recruiting firm for the marijuana industry which places an emphasis on diversity. An attorney specializing in marijuana regulations, she has provided regulatory expertise for leading marijuana consulting firms including 4Front Advisors and Vicente Sederberg.

In 2012, she served as a senior staffer for Amendment 64, the historic initiative which made Colorado the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana...
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JEANNETTE WARD

Jeannette Ward is a strategic marketing and communications leader with nearly 15 years of experience leading communications, marketing, and change management for large and small companies, including The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, UPS, and now MJ Freeway Business Solutions. Her experience includes managing all communications platforms, including print, social media, Web, mobile apps, TV, executive communications, event activation, and consumer and employee reward programs...
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