Gary Stein, MPH, Executive Director, ClarityPAC
Gary Stein, MPH, received his Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Health Education and Health Policy. A native of Detroit, Gary has been a blogger for the Huffington Post since 2009. He has also written for Context Florida, Health News Florida, Florida Politics, and Politics of Pot and continues to contribute to several blogs and magazines, including High Life and Revive. He is about to release a book about medical cannabis called, "The Great Green Hope", a book about the history, prohibition, research and the people affected by medical cannabis. He has worked as an advocate, activist and consultant on issues of health and health equity including Medicaid expansion, needle exchange programs, gun violence and increased access to healthcare, and continues to advocate and organize for issues regarding access to medicinal cannabis, hemp production and responsible adult use of cannabis.
Mr. Stein worked for decades in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working on HIV/STD/TB and later for the Florida Department of Health (DOH) as the Program Director for Hillsborough County’s Tobacco Control Programs and the Department of Health Equity. He also served as the Director of Public Policy for the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST).
When Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011, he laid off 2000 employees of the Department of Health, including Gary. He found himself over 50, overqualified in the workplace and unable to find work. In addition, his wife Monique was dealing with a genetic disorder which led to a severe glaucoma where no standard treatment could stop her vision loss. At least not the legal treatments.
He decided to get into politics. First, he worked as a patient advocate to expand Medicaid so that people like his family could have more access to healthcare, but that was a hard sell in Florida.
Then he decided, after meeting Cathy Jordan, an ALS patient who had treated herself for 30 years with cannabis, at the capitol in Tallahassee, that he would try to get the medicine to his wife and started writing about the push to get medical cannabis legalized in Florida in the Huffington Post and advocating in the legislature to make it happen. He helped push the first bill the “Compassionate Care Act” or “Charlotte Web Act” to get passed in Florida and help to write the rules, and has been a tireless advocate for continued expanding access for medical cannabis in the state, including the push to help Amendment 2 pass and the writing of the implementation law, and the fight to correct the mistakes the legislation made.
He did all of this with no financial backing other that his own savings, and his meager federal pension from the CDC. His wife lost all of her eyesight before she finally got her medical card, and his mother, who developed breast cancer in Michigan, died in Illinois when she couldn’t bring her medicine across state lines that he had procured for her legally in her state.
Realizing that true change could not happen, the prohibition would not end and the suffering and dying would continue until the political landscape changed, he decided to start Clarity PAC, the very first non-partisan Political Action Committee dedicated to pro-cannabis policy for single-issue voters.
PR/Marketing and Media in the Cannabis Industry
Andrew Felix, Cannabis News Florida
This will discuss the best marketing and pr practices for Cannabis in Florida. Also the layout of producing media in the state.
Andrew Felix, a resident of Florida for more than 15 years, with an extensive background in marketing and sales. Andrew brings a wealth of knowledge of local residential communities and his extensive business network to the cannabis industry. In the rapidly evolving Florida Cannabis market, Andrew believes timeliness coupled with knowledge is crucial for education to everyone.
A former Public Relations executive and established digital personality in the field of consumer technology, Andrew previously hosted TechLaunchpad and has guested on CNN, HLN, Fox News, CBS, and the Weather Channel. He currently hosts a Weekly Podcast “Speaking of Tech” and is Editor-in-Chief of CannabisNewsFlorida.com, an online and print publication covering medical marijuana in Florida. Andrew also has provided Special Events Management to the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Fort Lauderdale and Junior Achievement.
Andrew has 2 children, Caden 8 and Sophia 10. and enjoys coaching their various sports teams.
Cannabis Branding: Building, Growing, Protecting & Advertising Your Cannabis Brand
Bob Reilly, Founder & CEO, HIGHLIFE®
This presentation will take you through the basics of brand development and how to advertise and market your brand. We will take you through the process on what you should consider when implementing your branding vision for your goods and services while also understanding the value and importance of brand protection. This is especially critical in the increasingly-crowded cannabis industry which sees new brands created on a daily basis.
Bob Reilly is a native born and raised Floridian where he has resided most of his life. Bob’s family owned a 4-color printing company, so he learned at a very young age the value of great design. After college Bob worked for some of the top printing companies and advertising agencies in South Florida. Fast forward to today where he is the Founder & CEO of HIGHLIFE® Advertising Agency, Publisher of HIGHLIFE® Magazine, Florida’s Premier Marijuana Lifestyle Magazine, and Director of the HIGHLIFE® Health & Wellness Center™. Bob is a well known figure in South Florida as a branding powerhouse with over 30 years of experience in advertising and marketing where he has won 24 awards for his advertising campaigns for the top Fortune 200 brands he has had the pleasure to work with.
Marketing in Cannabis
Michael Thompson, CEO/Founder, Green Peak Media
Presentation will cover some of the hurdles physicians and brands face with advertising and marketing in the medical cannabis industry.
Michael Thompson is the CEO of Green Peak Media. A marketing and digital media expert in the cannabis industry with an extensive background in building some of the largest cannabis followings in the country. For over a decade, Mr. Thompson has built numerous successful e-commerce businesses through various forms of data-driven digital media advertising and inﬂuencer marketing.
Mr. Thompson also plays a role in the cannabis advocacy community. He currently advises Regulate Florida and various local NORML chapters.
Green Peak Media has an incredible track record in creating some of the largest most engaging cannabis followings in the country and also utilizing AI-powered advertising for cutting edge customer acquisition strategies for the nations largest multi-state operators.