Intro image - Event Flyer

Join us Saturday and Sunday July 13-14 at the historic Providence Public Library for Parabola Center's Anti-Monopoly Cannabis Crash Course and Leadership Training.

This event is an opportunity for education and a call to action for those who believe in putting people over profits -- and to be proactive in implementing strong anti-monopoly protections and support for the smaller players at both state and federal levels before corporate interests take hold. Once established, it will become increasingly difficult to challenge their power.

Our crash course (July 13) will empower attendees with the knowledge and tools to shape federal legalization in a way that preserves a path for an equitable industry. This event is for everyone who rejects the corporate model of cannabis legalization that concentrates wealth and power in the hands of a few. Together, we will build a movement that creates the future for cannabis legalization rooted in the principles of justice, economic empowerment, and fair opportunity for all.

This crash course is open to the public, but registration is required.

A rooftop party for crash course attendees will follow from 1-4pm.

If you want to go beyond the crash course, we are offering a leadership training (July 14) for a select group of future leaders to sharpen their skills and strategize for the future. Apply now at parabolacenter.com/leadership

Want to co-host this event? Reach out to info@parabolacenter.com to learn more.

Crash Course Leadership Training

Featuring:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren logo

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

SPECIAL MESSAGE

Senator Elizabeth Warren is the senior senator in Massachusetts. She was a law professor for more than 30 years, including nearly 20 years as the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. She is widely credited for the original thinking, political courage, and relentless persistence that led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senator Warren has used her platform to hold some of the nation’s largest corporations and most powerful government agencies accountable for fraud, waste, and abuse.
Jonathan Van Ness logo

Jonathan Van Ness

SPECIAL MESSAGE

Jonathan Van Ness is an Emmy Award-winning television personality, comedian, New York Times best-selling author, podcaster, hairstylist and founder of JVN Hair. Jonathan is seeking to celebrate authenticity and uniqueness as an HIV+ nonbinary truth teller determined to make this world a better, more equitable yet funnier place. Jonathan is the host of the "Getting Curious" podcast, a journey with Jonathan and experts in their respective fields which includes an episode with Parabola Center called "Can Marijuana Legalization Save Us All?"
Sen. Josh Miller logo

Sen. Josh Miller

SPECIAL GUEST

Senator Josh Miller is a state senator representing Cranston/Providence in Rhode Island. He chaired commissions reviewing the prospect of legalizing marijuana for recreational use and sponsored the 2011 law decriminalizing possession of small quantities of marijuana. He has since sponsored bills to legalize and regulate marijuana in the state. As previous chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Josh was credited with turning the focus of the committee toward protecting consumer rights and facilitating job growth among small businesses.
Shanel Lindsay, Esq. logo

Shanel Lindsay, Esq.

HOST

Shanel Lindsay is an attorney, advocate, and serial entrepreneur. She serves as Parabola Center’s co-founder and entrepreneurship director. She is also the founder and CEO of Ardent Life, a global cannabis hardware and consumer packaged goods company, and Billow, a sesh-friendly filtration system. Shanel was an author of Question 4, the ballot initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis in Massachusetts, and was subsequently appointed to the Massachusetts Cannabis Advisory Board, serving from 2017 to 2021. Shanel also co-founded the grassroots advocacy group Equitable Opportunities Now. Shanel is involved in the development of marijuana laws and new businesses across the United States and globally as a frequent speaker and expert consultant for other emerging businesses in the cannabis and biotech space.
Laury Lucien, Esq. logo

Laury Lucien, Esq.

HOST

Laury Lucien, Parabola’s education director, is an attorney, professor, serial entrepreneur, and transformational speaker. She currently teaches cannabis law at Suffolk University and Clark University, and she’s the founder of a Massachusetts cannabis retailer, manufacturer, and courier. Laury also founded the Legally Great Academy, a consulting and education company that supports emerging entrepreneurs. Through the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s social equity program, she provided training and technical assistance to program participants, and she also served on the state Cannabis Advisory Board.
Shaleen Title, Esq. logo

Shaleen Title, Esq.

HOST

Shaleen Title is co-founder and director of Parabola Center. She was an inaugural cannabis regulator in Massachusetts. After completing her term as a commissioner, she authored two top-ranking publications on cannabis social equity policies and preventing cannabis monopolies as a fellow at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. Shaleen has spent over 20 years writing, passing, and implementing equitable cannabis laws and has testified before governmental bodies around the world about reparative marijuana laws. She is a founding member of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition. Dubbed "the people's weed watchdog" by Boston Magazine, she is the recipient of multiple lifetime achievement awards for her work as an activist, regulator, and author.
Danielle Schumacher logo

Danielle Schumacher

HOST

Danielle Schumacher is chief of staff of Parabola Center. Her work has focused on helping to create a fair and equitable cannabis industry, including running a national mentoring and coaching program for people harmed by the war on drugs. Named a High Times Freedom Fighter in 2005, she has actively campaigned for sensible drug legalization for 20 years, including founding a chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and serving as the youngest-ever board member of NORML. She was the first Chancellor of Oaksterdam University in 2007 and was arrested in 2012 while protesting raids on the university by federal agents. Danielle is a former board member for Women's Visionary Council and Center for Women in Transition and former chair of the National Lawyers Guild Drug Policy Committee.
Margeaux Lavoie logo

Margeaux Lavoie

HOST

Margeaux (Maggie) Lavoie is a Social Equity Fellow for Parabola Center and a student at the University of Maine School of Law, where she has served as Executive Editor of the Maine Law Review and president of the Maine Association of Public Interest Lawyers. She was a Rural Law Fellow of the Fort Kent Rural Practice Clinic for Spring 2024 and a student research assistant in cannabis law for Professor Scott Bloomberg. Prior to attending law school, Maggie was the Director of Operations of the Church of Safe Injection, a daytime drop-in harm reduction center and CDC-certified syringe service program located in Lewiston, Maine.
Jane Allen logo

Jane Allen

TRAINER

Jane Appleyard Allen is an expert on public health, behavioral change, and health equity who specializes in media campaign evaluation and message effects research. Her work focuses on research to assess cannabis beliefs and behaviors in the context of legalization and to inform the development of cannabis policy. She also has conducted research to understand factors that influence smoking, including public health policy and tobacco industry marketing. She currently serves as a senior scientist in the Center for Communication and Media Impact at RTI International.
Leo Beletsky logo

Leo Beletsky

SPEAKER

Leo Beletsky is a Professor of Law and Health Sciences at Northeastern University. His research and teaching focus on drug policy, with special expertise on the commercial drivers of the overdose crisis. His service has been recognized by recent awards from the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Use and Addiction, the Association of American Law Schools, and the First Church of Cambridge. Before entering academia, he was a street-level weed dealer.
Paul Bologna logo

Paul Bologna

PANELIST

Paul Bologna is a creative director, digital strategist, and communications consultant for progressive causes. He has been advocating for government agencies, politicians, nonprofits, and local initiatives since 2011, and is the creative vision behind Parabola Center's Global Equity Perspective series. He previously directed strategy efforts for Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and now-Governor Maura Healey, and currently leads Boston Mayor Michelle Wu's digital communication strategy.
Tauhid Chappell logo

Tauhid Chappell

SPECIAL GUEST

Tauhid Chappell is the first Executive Director to lead New Jersey’s Cannabis Academy, the country’s first government-run program aimed at diversifying the cannabis industry. Tauhid brings 10 years of experience in the cannabis space as a medical marijuana patient, a journalist who’s covered legalization efforts across the country, a former budtender for Philadelphia’s second medical marijuana dispensary, a current Adjunct Professor at Thomas Jefferson University, and an organizer of the Philadelphia CannaBusiness Association, Pennsylvania's first Black-owned, Black-led cannabis nonprofit aimed at healing the damage done by cannabis prohibition and mass incarceration.
Dasheeda Dawson logo

Dasheeda Dawson

PANELIST

Dasheeda Dawson is The WeedHead™, a global cannabis advocate, award-winning strategist and bestselling author of How to Succeed in the Cannabis Industry. She has 20 years of business development and strategic management excellence while leading teams for United Way, Target and Victoria’s Secret. Currently, Dasheeda is Founding Director of Cannabis NYC overseeing the development of the city’s legal industry. She is also the Founding Chair of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition (CRCC). Dasheeda received her MBA from Rutgers University and an undergraduate degree in molecular biology from Princeton University.
Pat Garofalo logo

Pat Garofalo

SPEAKER

Pat Garofalo is the Director of State and Local Policy at the American Economic Liberties Project and Fight Corporate Monopolies. Pat is the author of The Billionaire Boondoggle: How Our Politicians Let Corporations and Bigwigs Steal Our Money and Jobs. Previously, Pat was assistant managing editor for opinion at U.S. News & World Report and economic policy editor at ThinkProgress. He has written for publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, The Guardian, The Atlantic, and The Week, and currently writes the Boondoggle newsletter on Substack.
Joseph Gilmore logo

Joseph Gilmore

SPECIAL GUEST

Joseph Gilmore is the Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund Administrator in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Economic Development. The Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund Program was a result of a coalition-wide effort to bring significant capital support for Social Equity cannabis businesses in Massachusetts, for which he was a vocal advocate and supporter leading up to its passage. Born and raised in Dorchester, MA and an Economics graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston, Joseph’s lived experiences prompted his advocacy for socially equitable cannabis policies and mobilizing residents across the state to engage in the political process throughout the development of the legal cannabis industry. A second-generation Filipino American, Joseph is a member of PAMAS (Philippine American Association of New England) and actively participates in Filipino cultural events to highlight and celebrate his heritage.
Dr. Peter Grinspoon logo

Dr. Peter Grinspoon

SPEAKER

Peter Grinspoon, M.D. is a primary care physician and a cannabis specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of the book ‘Seeing Through the Smoke: A Cannabis Expert Untangles the Truth about Marijuana’ as well as the groundbreaking memoir ‘Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction’. He is a TedX speaker, a certified physician life coach, a board member of the physician advocacy group, ‘Doctors for Drug Policy Reform’ and an advisor to 'The Parabola Center' (which advocates for social justice in the cannabis space). He has served as a board member of the Massachusetts Physician Health Service where he helped hundreds of physicians with their addictions.
Dr. Staci Gruber logo

Dr. Staci Gruber

SPEAKER

Dr. Staci Gruber is the Director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core and the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) Program at McLean Hospital and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She has been studying the impact of cannabis use on the brain for decades using neurocognitive, clinical assessments, and multimodal brain imaging techniques. As director of MIND, Dr. Gruber has generated major contributions to the field as the first to assess medical cannabis patients longitudinally, first to acquire neuroimaging data in medical cannabis patients, and as Principal Investigator of the first clinical trial of a full-spectrum, high-cannabidiol (CBD) product, which she specifically formulated to treat anxiety. Dr. Gruber also launched the Women’s Health Initiative at MIND (WHIM), the first cannabis-focused program designed specifically to address women’s health.
Kassandra Frederique logo

Kassandra Frederique

SPEAKER

Kassandra Frederique is the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national nonprofit founded in 2000 that works to end the war on drugs—which has disproportionately harmed Black, Latinx, Indigenous, immigrant, and LGBTQ communities—and build alternatives grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights. She has received numerous awards, including the Activist Award from SEIU32BJ, New York City Council Women of Distinction, VOCAL New York’s Joe Bostic Advocacy Award, National Advocates for Pregnant Women Emerging Leader award, and was recognized on both Essence Magazine’s Woke 100 and The Root’s ROOT100.
Chelsea Higgs Wise logo

Chelsea Higgs Wise

TRAINER

Chelsea Higgs Wise was a clinical social worker for ten years before transitioning to help organizations create equitable policies for community safety. Chelsea’s expertise continues to influence criminal justice, mental health and anti-drug war priorities in Virginia. In 2019, Chelsea co-founded Marijuana Justice for equitable legalization as a gateway to dismantle the Virginia War on Drugs and in 2021 Virginia became the first state in the South to legalize simple possession of marijuana, home cultivation as well as create a fund to reinvest for community repair. Through her leadership, the organization also convenes southern organizers around Drug War Reparations as well as pushing anti-monopoly regulation in order to build community-led economies. Federally, Chelsea is an active voice within the United for Marijuana Decriminalization (UMD) coalition focused on organizing public comment for the recent marijuana scheduling proposal.
Commissioner Julie Hulburd logo

Commissioner Julie Hulburd

SPEAKER

Commissioner Julie Hulburd is a member of the Vermont Cannabis Control Board, the state’s regulatory body. She brings 20 years of experience in Human Resources, having worked in private, non-profit, and public organizations. Prior to joining the Board, Ms. Hulburd served as Chair of the State’s Ethics Commission. She holds a bachelor's degree in hotel and tourism management and is completing a master's degree in leadership. On the Cannabis Control Board, Ms. Hulburd has played a key role in creating Vermont’s small business focused market focusing on policy areas including social equity, public health, municipal governance, and workforce development.
Drudys Ledbetter logo

Drudys Ledbetter

SPEAKER

Drudys Ledbetter BSN, RN is a mother, author, speaker, registered nurse, cannabis entrepreneur, and advocate for social equity hailing from Caracas, Venezuela. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Boston College. Dru combines her 20 years of nursing expertise and her personal journey through postpartum mental health to champion the medicinal benefits of cannabis, with a special focus on women and mothers. As the pioneer behind Boston's first Afro Latina-owned dispensary and Plant based wellness brand, Dru is redefining industry standards by offering products that resonate with community well-being and honor the legacy market. As the Chief Executive Officer of Zèb Boutique, a 100% people-of-color owned retail cannabis dispensary in Mattapan Square of Boston, Dru leads with a vision of inclusivity and community-focused growth.
Victoria Litman logo

Victoria Litman

SPEAKER

Professor Victoria Litman (Roger Williams University School of Law) is a nonprofit tax lawyer focusing on the emerging cannabis and psychedelic tax exempt sectors. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and holds an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. She received her J.D. from New York Law School, cum laude, and her LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center with distinction. Professor Litman focuses her scholarship on the intersections of constitutional law, tax law, and drug law with a focus on issues of religious freedom. She is affiliated with the International Cannabis Bar Association and the Psychedelic Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, and California.
Maritza Perez Medina, Esq. logo

Maritza Perez Medina, Esq.

SPEAKER

Maritza Perez Medina is the director of federal affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she leads the organization’s federal legislative agenda and strategy to end the drug war. In that role, she lobbies Congress and the president’s administration on issues pertaining to drug policy and criminal legal reform. Maritza convenes the Marijuana Justice Coalition, which helped organize the successful passage of the MORE Act through the U.S. House in 2020 and 2022—the first and only times a Congressional chamber has voted to deschedule marijuana.
Chris Michalakis logo

Chris Michalakis

SPEAKER

Chris Michalakis has served multiple roles at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), currently serving as the Senior Federal Legislative Representative. He has previously served as President of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO, and as UFCW Michigan’s Legislative and Political Director. At UFCW, Chris works on cannabis policy as well as issues like child labor, wage and hour issues, automation and AI, other worker protections. It is this worker-centric focus that Chris brings to cannabis policy discussions, ensuring that workers are a significant part of policies surrounding cannabis legalization.
Sean Morrow logo

Sean Morrow

PANELIST

Sean Morrow is an award-winning video producer, writer, host, and journalist. He currently works with the nonprofit newsroom More Perfect Union, writing videos for "The Classroom," a team which won the 2023 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis. Its videos include "Legal Weed Is Being Ruined by Corporate Greed," which has over half a million views on YouTube. He has created hundreds of hugely successful pieces, from daily news content to major franchises, like "Who Is: The Podcast," including the episode "Who is Big Weed?" He was described as "the most effective troll in history" for a parody social media account that helped lead to a price cap on insulin.
Mary Jane Oatman logo

Mary Jane Oatman

SPEAKER

Mary Jane Oatman is an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe, a descendant of the Delaware Tribe, and a proud mother. She is the executive director of the Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association, founder of the Indigenous CANNabis Coalition (ICANNC), and publisher of THC Magazine. She travels the nation as a culture and events photographer, capturing special moments with plants and people. Dedicated to restoring pre-colonial economies in hemp and cannabis, Mary Jane has advocated on the state and federal levels to protect tribal sovereignty and ensure effective government relationships. Oatman was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education and also served as Idaho’s first director of Indian Education.
Jason Ortiz logo

Jason Ortiz

SPEAKER

Jason Ortiz is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Last Prisoner Project Jason was arrested for simple cannabis possession at the age of 16 in Norwich CT, and that experience inspired him to become a cannabis justice advocate. He was one of the founding board Members of the Minority Cannabis Business Association and is the immediate past Executive Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. In addition to his drug policy activism, Jason sits on the board of the CT Working Families Party and has served as President of the Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda where he organized for economic justice for his home island of Puerto Rico.
Cat Packer, Esq. logo

Cat Packer, Esq.

SPEAKER

Cat Packer is the director of drug markets and legal regulation at the Drug Policy Alliance, the vice chair of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition, and a distinguished cannabis policy practitioner in residence at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. From 2017 to 2022, Cat served as the first executive director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation. Cat is a proud alumna of The Ohio State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in public policy and management, and a law degree.
Shekia Scott logo

Shekia Scott

SPECIAL GUEST

Shekia Scott is the Senior Cannabis Business Manager for the City of Boston, in the Mayor's Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion. She oversees the economic development and equitable growth initiatives for Boston's cannabis industry as well as the Boston Cannabis Equity Program. Previously, she was the Director of Equity and Community Outreach for the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, pioneering the nation's first, statewide cannabis social equity program. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition.
Justin Strekal logo

Justin Strekal

TRAINER

Justin Strekal is a union organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880 in Northeastern Ohio. He previously served as the founder of BOWL PAC and Useful Strategies and political director for NORML. He is a highly respected expert on federal cannabis law reform and aspires to be an effective cog in a machine that promotes justice, fairness, and destroys fascists.

Contact us at info@parabolacenter.com with any questions!