ABOUT THE ARIZONA DISPENSARIES ASSOCIATION

Organization

OUR

MISSION

Our Mission is to promote and advocate for a safe, patient focused cannabis industry in Arizona.

We develop and promote best practices and effectively represent the industry with a constant legislative and regulatory presence. Our practice is to recruit and retain responsible industry members who believe in protecting patients and providing high quality cannabis in Arizona. We have a democratically elected 7 member board which is comprised of individuals who serve 2 year terms with rotating elections every year.

OUR

ORGANIZATION

Arizona Dispensaries Association

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Ryan Hermanky Headshot

Ryan Hermansky, President

PURE EDIBLES

Ryan Hermansky is an Owner and Operator of Noble Herb of Flagstaff. Ryan has been involved in every aspect of the operation of Noble Herb since inception in June 2013. Currently Ryan oversees the retail and wholesale operations of Noble Herb, including developing in house brands such as Pure Edibles and Everest Concentrates.

Ryan has had experience starting multiple companies from medical marijuana, medical device sales as well as mobile app technology. Ryan attended Arizona State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the WP Carey School of Business and later returned for a MBA, also from the WP Carey School of Business.

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Lilach Mazor Power, Vice President

GIVING TREE DISPENSARY

Lilach Mazor Power is the founder and CEO of Mazor Collective—one of the only women majority-owned Arizona cannabis company. The collective includes vertically integrated, Arizona-based Giving Tree Dispensary as well as product lines Kindred, Sneakers and cannabis for menopause brand, Revelry. Power has served nine years in the industry with a focus on R&D and retail. Since establishing Giving Tree in 2013, Power has placed a strong emphasis on corporate citizenship raising more than $100,000 for charities. In 2021, Giving Tree Dispensary was named to the Inc. 5000 List of America's fastest growing private companies and was a Phoenix Business Journal Small Business Award finalist. Power also has operations in Puerto Rico and plans to expand to Israel. Beyond her executive leadership, Power is a brand builder with an intuitive understanding of market trends. Power is an Arizona Dispensary Association vice president board member and, among other titles, is the proud mother of two.

Michael

Michael O'Brien, Board Member

Sonoran Roots Craft Cannabis

After graduating from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University with a B.S. Finance, Michael O'Brien attended New York University School of Law, graduating with a J.D. He began his legal career as a corporate lawyer in the Los Angeles office of international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, focusing on Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Governance. Michael then returned home to Arizona and began serving as in-house legal counsel, including Operations Counsel for Clear Channel Outdoor and General Counsel for AZ Crown Investments.

Utilizing the business and legal experience he gained throughout his career as a corporate lawyer and private investor, Michael transitioned full time to the cannabis industry in 2018, co-founding Sonoran Roots and assuming his current role as the CEO & General Counsel. He is responsible for development and implementation of the company's overall business strategy, goals and objectives, and also plays a significant role in operations for the company.

Michael is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, the State Bar of California, the Arizona Cannabis Bar Association, the Marijuana Industry Trade Association, and is now a board member of the Arizona Dispensaries Association.

Brian

Brian Warde, Board Member

The Prime Leaf

Brian Warde is the CEO and Co-Founder of DMC Services and Zanzibar Prime Management companies for Rainbow Collective/ The Prime Leaf and Total Accountability Patient Care. He is also the founder and CEO of the brand Grown4. With 8 years of experience in the Arizona cannabis industry, Warde is an active and well-respected member of the cannabis business community.
In his position as CEO for The Prime Leaf, he developed best practices for organizational structure and financial procedures to maintain market relevance and financial sustainability. He has established policies to improve standards in both cultivation and retail operations, while establishing one of the highest employee retention rates in the industry. Through it all, he maintains the highest of ethical standards.
As a member of the board, Warde hopes to guide the process of expanding social justice and equity opportunities in the cannabis industry. He has extensive experience in grant, legal, government, retail, non-profit management, and advocacy.
Rami Sweis, Oasis

Rami Sweis, Board Member

OASIS DISPENSARIES

As CEO & Founder of Total Health & Wellness Inc., Rami created Oasis Dispensaries, a boutique medical marijuana dispensary brand with the vision of providing patients with the highest standards of care, quality, and trusted knowledgeable advice. Being the CEO of a startup, Rami was responsible for every aspect of the business. He would direct strategy, manage operations, navigate regulatory requirements, and facilitate his team to exceed their potentials. A true entrepreneur, he shaped and developed several retail businesses in his career.

A dual citizen of the US and Jordan, Rami was born in Chicago, returned to Jordan for his youth and then came back to the US to pursue his education and career. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Finance and Global Management. While completing his degree, he started Big Bear Tobacco, his first retail business. Shortly after opening his first store, he returned to Chicago to assist his family's struggling grocery retail business. In a short time, he significantly improved the financial position of the company, allowing for a profitable exit and his return to Arizona to continue the growth of his own retail business.

An innovator in every entrepreneurial endeavor, Rami created a niche market in the tobacco business by providing an alternative to highly-processed, chemical-laden cigarettes. His healthier "roll-your-own" approach grew his retail tobacco business to six locations with ten million in annual sales.

That said, Rami is always looking ahead. He founded Total Health & Wellness Inc. in 2012, hoping to pursue a new opportunity in the up-and-coming Medical Marijuana industry. Rami immersed himself in learning every aspect of cannabis and dispensary management, navigating the many legal and regulatory challenges that faced license holders. The journey was long and arduous. Four years later in January of 2016, Rami opened Oasis, his first dispensary, in Chandler. Since then, the Oasis team has grown into a family of over 50 remarkable people, serving the community from two Chandler locations. Oasis Dispensaries helps tens of thousands of patients each year and continues to provide healing and compassionate service to all those who seek it.

Lauren Neihaus

Lauren Niehaus, Board Member

Trulieve (fka Harvest)

Lauren Niehaus is a Director of Government Relations for Trulieve Cannabis Corp. where she focuses her efforts collaborating with government officials at all levels to ensure the company’s operational goals are carried out throughout the country. Niehaus is responsible for lobbying local, and state government agencies, and providing internal strategic guidance related to the implementation of policies and procedures in alignment with the passage of new administrative rules and legislation.

Prior to joining the Harvest team, Niehaus spent a decade with the Conference of Western Attorneys General, most recently serving as the Deputy Director of the organization. In her role as Deputy Director, Niehaus served in a Chief of Staff capacity with duties including managing priority projects, leading strategic and policy initiatives, streamlining workflows and operational procedures and creating cross-functional partnerships.

Niehaus completed her undergraduate work in communications and Spanish language at Arizona State University, holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Colorado, Denver and completed her Juris Doctor degree from Concord Law School at Purdue University Global in 2017.

Brad Kotansky

Brad Kotansky, Board Member

Copper State Farms

Brad has more than 20 years of executive level experience leading teams in diverse industries (Cannabis/Software/Real Estate/Wall Street) across the USA and Canada.

Prior to his role as CFO at Copperstate farms, Brad was the CFO of 4 Front Ventures, a publicly traded Cannabis company. Prior to 4Front, Brad was a co-founder and CEO of Onist technologies, a software startup based out of Toronto, Canada that was focused on household finances.

 Brad has extensive finance experience having worked on Wall Street for over 15 years as both an investment banker structuring credit and high yield loans and as a hedge fund portfolio manager for one of the top hedge fund firms in the country.

For the past 12 years, Brad has been a strategic advisor and investor for many seed stage companies in the sports analytics, music licensing and healthcare industries . Brad’s key focus is to guide and advise the executive teams on how to scale and build sustainable/growing businesses while trying to implement solutions to de-risk the idea/opportunity with minimal capital required.

OUR

REPRESENTATION

Arizona Capitol
A Torrez Headshot 2022 (1)

Ann Torrez, Executive Director

Ann Torrez has extensive experience in the cannabis space for the past 8 years.  She most recently served as Project Manager for Receivership Specialists where she worked with the Court Appointed Officer tasked with protecting and growing the assets of cannabis businesses in litigation. She has secured properties and improved operations in Arizona and California cultivation, production, wholesale, and retail cannabis businesses. From hand delivering taxes to Departments of Revenue; to hiring, training, terminating employees; analyzing overall business practices, Ann is skilled at quickly identifying at-risk, non-compliant behaviors and operational processes and improving them.  This most recent project was in a rural market where the business has shown a more than 100% increase in sales.

Additionally, as an Independent Contractor, Ms. Torrez has developed Policy and Procedures, Standard Operating Procedures, Cost Modeling, and Branding for cannabis edibles, production, and cultivation businesses. Ann has assisted in the development of license applications with a national cannabis licensing company, working in over 15 states, in dozens of application processes. She has a clear vision of the national cannabis opportunities and strategies to achieve success in these.  

Ms. Torrez has an in-depth knowledge of the analysis and implementation of transportation and sales systems to create compliant, safe, and fiscally sound products. She is familiar with Treez, Blaze, MJ Freeway, BioTrackTHC, METRC, Leaf Logix, Leaf Link, Leafly, Weedmaps, Onward Content, Releaf and has extensive relationships with marijuana specific manufacturers for dispensary, cultivation, and extraction/processing.   

Before entering the cannabis industry, Ms. Torrez led the launch of Arizona’s AT&T Wireless and US West retail and wholesale divisions. Ann later served as Fundraising Director at the American Diabetes Association of Southern Arizona and The Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. She increased awareness of the organizations while fundraising up to $3,000,000 annually.

Ann is a fervent supporter and activist in both local and national cannabis industry groups.  Ann graduated from the University of New Mexico, Robert Anderson School of Management with a degree in marketing and a minor in child psychology.

Pele Fischer, ADA Lobbyist

Pele Fischer Esq., Lobbyist

Pele Fischer, Esq. is the principal of Peacock Legal, PLC, a government affairs and legal consulting firm. Through a comprehensive approach to policy development, advocacy, and legal consulting Peacock Legal is focused advancing the business and policy goals of its clients. Peacock Legal is committed to providing its clients with the highest level of quality service. Pele is an expert in Arizona policy and navigating its legislative and regulatory environment. She has a successful track record in advocacy, problem solving, and consensus/coalition building.

Prior to starting Peacock Legal, Pele served as the Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs for the Arizona Medical Association where she directed strategies in legal, political, and regulatory development and advocacy. Before joining the Arizona Medical Association, Pele served as a Senior Policy Advisor and Staff Attorney for the Arizona House of Representatives for multiple committees including: Health, Human Services, and Commerce.

Christie Lee Headshot

Christie Lee, Membership & Program Director

Christie joined the ADA as Membership & Programming Director in October of 2021. Her professional background is rooted in marketing and sales, with organizational experience ranging from local start-ups to international corporations. Originating from the Midwest, Christie moved to Arizona in 2016 where she currently resides in Scottsdale. Back in her home state of Missouri, Christie's family is involved with the Show-Me State's recently-launched medical program, and Christie spent many years volunteering with the Missouri School Board Association.

On a personal level, Christie is passionate about fitness, local eats (and drinks), travel, golf and dogs. She looks forward to continuing to build relationships within the cannabis community and lead the growth of the ADA family.

ElenaWeinberger_Lo-Res

Elena Weinberger, Esq.

Elena is an associate at Strategies 360 and lobbyist for the Arizona Dispensaries Association.
Prior to joining Strategies 360, Elena began her career as an associate attorney at Peacock Legal,
a government affairs and legal consulting firm in Arizona.  Elena worked alongside Pele Fischer
while representing clients in legislative, regulatory, and compliance matters in areas including
marijuana and health care.

Elena attended law school at Santa Clara University and worked as a law clerk in a boutique
family law firm in San Jose, CA.   While a law student, Elena was the Founder and President of
the Cannabis Law and Policy Group. She was also a Founder and Vice President for Santa
Clara’s chapter of Law Students for Sensible Drug Policy, served as the Risk Management
Officer Co-Chair for the Student Bar Association, and was a board member for several other
student organizations.  Elena also holds a BS in psychology with a minor in government and
public policy from the University of Arizona.

Currently, Elena is a Young Professional Council member and a volunteer of the Cancer Support
Community.