Who We Are

Dr. Dominic Corva | Founder  | co-Executive  and Social Science Research Director | Political Geography Specialist

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Dr. Dominic Corva is the founder and Social Science Research Director at the Cannabis and Social Policy Center (CASP), a federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to learning whole plant lessons about and from emergent landscapes of cannabis legalization. A Political Geographer and Public Policy scholar, he was most recently an adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Washington (2015-2016) and visiting assistant professor in Public Policy at Sarah Lawrence College (2009-2013), and continues to be an Affiliate Researcher for the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) at Humboldt State University, Arcata, California. He has done subcontracting and consulting work for BOTEC, Americans for Safe Access Foundation (ASAF), the State of California, and various industry and civil society organizations. His content can be found on this web site, www.cannabisandsocialpolicy.org; annual popular education events on the West Coast including the Original Terpestival (TM) which he produces, Seattle Hempfest, and Humboldt County’s seasonal spring planting and fall harvest events.His work has been published in The International Journal of Drug Policy, Political Geography, the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, and ACME: A Journal of Radical Geography. His dissertation research examined the political economy of international drug policy in the Western Hemisphere, and his postdoctoral research has focused on the political economy of cannabis agriculture in Southern Humboldt county.

Dr. Michelle Sexton | Co-Founder | co-Executive and Medical Research Director | Analytics Specialist

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Dr. Sexton is a Naturopathic Doctor, herbalist and formerly a midwife currently in private practice in San Diego.  She began her formal study of phytochemicals with a degree in horticulture, and has specialized in the phytochemical analysis of botanical medicines and their application to neuroinflammation, specifically the role of the endogenous cannabinoid signaling system. She completed a three-year NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington in the Departments of Pharmacology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She conducted a clinical study examining the effects of Cannabis use on some defined immune parameters in patients with Multiple Sclerosis.  She has published original research in peer-reviewed journals and presented her research internationally She owned and operated Phytalytics LLC, a Cannabis analysis laboratory, and served as an editor/advisor on the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Cannabis monograph. She has been a consultant to the Washington State liquor control Board on the implementation of I502. She is a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines, and the Society of Cannabis Clinicians,. She provides continuing education to advanced practice nurses, physicians’ assistants and naturopathic doctors on clinical Cannabis use in Washington State.  Dr. Sexton serves on the Board of Directors for Americans for Safe Access Foundation and served as co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee.  See Dr. Sexton’s publications.

Rachel Kurtz | Board Member | National and Oregon Cannabis Industry Specialist  | Legal Specialist

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Rachel Kurtz is business development manager for the National Cannabis Industry Association, making sure NCIA is well represented in WA, OR, AK, HI, and NorCal.  Rachel started as a cannabis activist in the mid 90’s with the Washington Hemp Education Network as an undergrad at Evergreen. She went on to work for a member of Congress, then headed to law school at the University of Washington where she started an SSDP chapter.  Following graduation in 2003, she was a drug policy advisor to bar associations around the country, owned a medical marijuana authorization clinic, and worked with various patient and industry organizations before settling into law practice to represent cannabis businesses in the licensing process.  She has worked with the speaker committee for Seattle Hempfest for 15 years and serves on the board of directors for the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy, Portland NORML, and the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance.  Rachel is a lifelong Army brat and nomad, but considers the Pacific NW her home.

Nazareth Victoria | Board Member | I 502 Producer/Processor | Cannabis POW veteran

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Nazareth Victoria, owner of The Four Twenty Collection, a Washington State I 502 producer/processor. He was one of the first 50 producer/processors to get approved fby the Washington State Liquor Control Board.  In addition to being an experienced businessman, he is well-versed in the history of cannabis markets and supports outdoor, sungrown cannabis for environmental and economic reasons.  His facility is located in Okanagon, Washington, where the first efforts to create a national Sun Growers association are emerging. Naz brings a unique perspective to CASP as a former Federal Prisoner of the Drug War, and enjoys the irony of making a legal living doing something for which he was arrested, prosecuted, and convicted not that long ago.

Aaron Varney |Board Member | I 502 Retail Owner | Indoor Grow Specialist

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Aaron Varney is a co-director of the medical dispensary Dockside Coop and the I-502 retail stores Dockside Cannabis.  Prior to these endeavors, he obtained a MBA in Sustainable Business at Bainbridge Graduate Institute with a focus on entrepreneurship.  For the last 15 years, cannabis has been an ongoing area of work and interest.  He is an active participant in cultivating Washington’s emerging cannabis industry into a successful and positive future.  In his free time, Aaron enjoys taking in the NW’s many gifts with friends, Netflix, cooking, and traveling.

 

Don E. Wirtschafter | Board Member | Global Cannabis and Hemp Past and Present Specialist

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Don E. Wirtschafter, based out of Ohio, is a cannabis and counterculture pioneer, at the center of many watershed organizational and entrepreneurial moments in contemporary cannabis history, since the 1960s. He owned and operated the Ohio Hempery, which not only broke ground for bringing hemp products to the U.S. but helped nurture and develop hemp and cannabis organizations throughout the years, including Seattle Hempfest. He helped found GW Pharmaceuticals in the 1990s, served on the national board of NORML, and has been active globally as a cannabis and hemp consultant. Currently, his main project is the Cannabis Museum, which showcases one of the world’s largest collections of patent medicine bottles from the 19th and early 20th century and is accompanied by a comprehensive lecture on the first age of cannabis as medicine in the U.S.

 

 

Crystal Oliver |Board Member | I 502 Producer/Processor| Cannabis Agriculture and Small Business Organizer 

Crystal Oliver is the co-owner and founder of Washington’s Finest Cannabis, an outdoor cannabis farm, licensed by the WSLCB since August of 2014. She also serves as Executive Assistant for Washington NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and presently sits on the Executive Board for the Cannabis Farmers Council. She has been a tireless advocate for small business and family farm friendly regulations in Washington State.  She has represented cannabis farmer’s interest as a member of the Washington State Building Code Council’s Cannabis Issues Technical Advisory Group, Spokane Clean Air’s Marijuana Advisory Committee, and Spokane Conservation District’s Voluntary Stewardship Program.  She is regarded as an expert in navigating the intersection of land use issues and cannabis farming and frequently serves as a resource and consultant for officials, regulators, investors, policy-makers, and business owners.

Jerry Whiting | Board Member | Permaculture and Whole Plant Specialist 

Jerry Whiting is the founder & President of LeBlanc CNE, a Seattle-based company specializing in cannabis genetics, product development, and education. He is also the Director of Permaculture & Sustainability for the Center for Cannabis Living and hosts the LeBlanc CNE podcast.
Jerry is a regular speaker at Hempfest and CannaCon, and has done presentations at Cleveland NORML and The Cannabis Summit as well as teaching “Hacking Cannabis: DIY kitchen chemistry”. He is active in The Cannabis Alliance and works closely with Project CBD.
In addition to writing open source software for the cannabis industry, Jerry was a judge at the 2015 Terpestival and wrote the introduction to “Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy Libations” by Warren Bobrow.

Lara Kaminsky |Board Member | Cannabis Industry Coalition Organizer

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Lara Kaminsky is the Co-Founder & Executive Director of The Cannabis Alliance a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of a sustainable, vital and ethical cannabis industry. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Lara was the Program Director for The Coalition for Cannabis Standards & Ethics a non-profit organization developed in 2010 with a focus on education and industry standards.

Lara has worked in the nonprofit sector in Seattle for over 20 years. She received a Master’s Degree in Arts Leadership from Seattle University with a focus on non-profit management, community organization and change. Lara is devoted to the nonprofit sector and has a strong desire to improve the quality of life for our region and our communities.

Lara specializes in program development and works to strengthen nonprofit organizations by creating seminars, workshops, and other learning opportunities. She has produced a wide array of programming for the cannabis industry from educational seminars to the annual Washington State Cannabis Summit, an event that brings together industry experts from around the nation, now in its 3rd year.

Prior to her work in the cannabis industry Lara worked in video and film production, video editing, design, theatre production and art direction. She worked as a projection designer for 5th Avenue Theater, ACT, Seattle Children’s Theater and the Arizona Theater Company.

In addition to our Board and two employees (Dr. Sexton and Dr. Corva), we have an affiliated research associate.

Dr. Tony Silvaggio  | Senior Research Associate  | Environmental Sociology Specialist

 

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Dr. Silvaggio is a Sociologist specializing in the areas of Survey Research Methods, Environmental Sociology, and Community Organizing.  He is currently a faculty member in the Department of Sociology and teaches courses in the Environment and Community Masters Program at Humboldt State University.  He is also founding faculty member of the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR).   His research on the environmental impacts of cannabis agriculture has been reported on in The New York Times and Mother Jones Magazine.

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Who We Are

  1. Let me know when you need your next graphic design project or website done well.

    Good Nature Publishing is based in Seattle and works with green groups across the country to help with their communications and story telling.

    Look forward to being of service. Good story in the NYT today.

    TSC

    1. Thanks Timothy! We are in bootstrap mode right now (spend money very efficiently to produce intellectual services and public information) with the web site itself (and indeed marketing) as the lowest priority for our core mutual aid group’s attention. Not that they aren’t important, but that’s not really anyone on our full time core team’s specialty so we are finding folks who believe in what we are doing and want to help promote it, then following their lead.

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