November 22, 2017 8:40 am

2017 CBE 75 Most Important Women

Attorneys Clark Neubert

Santa Monica, CA

Ariel Clark & Nicole Howell Neubert

Clark founded and became the chair of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force. Dedicated to finding a workable alternative to Prop D, the task force raised awareness through an aggressive grassroots organization and a series of town halls. This effort has led to the task force working directly with the city of Los Angeles in the ongoing effort to develop effective rules for cannabis business permitting, zoning, and other regulatory issues.
Nicole Howell Neubert is a California cannabis business attorney. As a counselor and industry advocate, Nicole serves as outside general counsel to numerous cannabis operators, providing advice on corporate and business matters, entity formation and operation, M&A, local and state permitting and compliance, and business litigation. She is also actively involved in local and state legislative and regulatory efforts, most recently as a member of California State Treasurer John Chiang’s Cannabis Banking Working Group.
Nicole previously practiced criminal and civil law at the San Francisco firm Clarence Dyer & Cohen LLP and Farella Braun + Martel LLP, where she worked on a range of complex business litigation, parallel civil, criminal, and regulatory actions, high stakes tort, trade secret, and employment litigation, and trust and estate disputes. She serves on the Board of California NORML, as Policy Committee leadership for California Growers Association, and is actively involved in other industry-related organizations, including the California Cannabis Industry Association and the National Cannabis Bar Association. Nicole teaches legal courses at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, which enables her to share her knowledge with students, and provides her with important insights into the evolving needs of the community.

By Rob Meagher and Dave Hodes

Wowza, CBE Press (CBE) is extremely impressed with the credentials and accomplishments of the many women that we reviewed this year who are involved in building the cannabis industry, and we are grateful for the opportunity to be able to share the names, roles and accomplishments of each of the members of the 2017 CBE 75 Most Important Women (actually 81) in cannabis list.

This year’s list includes women representing licensees (producers, processors, and retailers), ancillary businesses, the regulatory arena (state and federal), advocacy and state-based associations, plus a couple of individuals who have made their mark in the past year moving the industry forward, in the unrelenting effort to create a nationally regulated and prohibition-free industry that competes under the same rules and guidelines that other similar industries enjoy.

CBE Press vetted over 250 women this year to compile the 2017 list and, as is the case with any CBE list, we erred on the side of ranking list members based on a variety of factors. But at the end of the day, performance in the form of running a business and achieving solid revenue generation and growth (like expanding footprints domestically and abroad) were overriding factors deciding placement.

This list included women from the following categories:

Producer, Processor or Retailer: 38
Ancillary Business: 29
Regulator: 8
Advocacy or Association: 6

Similar to the 2017 CBE Ancillary Business 150, we experienced a few non-transparent individuals that didn’t want to be included. But as always, we use all the information available to us publicly or through direct conversations, or information exchanges with candidates, to do our best to include, in our opinion, the most deserving candidates.

And as usual, I am sure we missed some folks along the way. We aren’t perfect, and we encourage any and all to let us know who we might have missed so we can include them in the consideration set for future rankings.

This year’s list has been expanded from the 2016 CBE Most Important Women’s list to a total of 75 to make room for other go-getters that are great examples for aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs to emulate. We were very impressed with the listed’s business pedigrees, and included that as part of our consideration criteria, as well as more and more professional managers continues to make dramatic inroads in the industry.

I would be remiss not mention that all that we are seeing occur in the cannabis industry wouldn’t be possible if not for the efforts made by the hundreds of activists and advocates for a prohibition-free industry, and we salute all of the men and women who have tirelessly worked to make this industry possible.

That said, CBE is a business publication and our goal has always been to recognize business performance – the ultimate criteria in measuring success and failure – regardless of the impediments that have to be dealt with by all members of the cannabis community on a daily basis even after prohibition eventually ends.

As was the case last year, this year CBE decided to share the top spot on the list between two exceptional women that I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past several years – Patricia Rosi,  CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine and Nancy Whiteman, co-founder/owner of Wana Brands.

These two women share several characteristics that CBE admires and believes are imperative not only in this industry but for success anywhere:

  • They both came to the cannabis industry with successful track records and extensive experience in other industries.
  • They both are transparent, direct and incredibly focused on the task at hand, and don’t shy away from getting their hands dirty and doing the work necessary.
  • They incorporate what they learn into their best practices.
  • They lead by example, are motivated by a pursuit of excellence and share the joy in what they do with all around.
  • They contribute to the industry and give back to their communities through action.

And.. they are just good solid human beings that I am proud to call my friends.

That said, I would like to recognize Patricia and Nancy as the 2017 CBE Most Important Women in cannabis.  And yes, I am biased – these two exceptional women have taken the time to share their successes and challenges with me over the last several years, and selflessly with CBE’s readers and their peers.

Please take the time to review the bios of each and every woman on this year’s list, and join CBE in celebrating all that these women have done to help advance the world’s next great industry.

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