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.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Steve White, President & Board Member
Steve graduated early from Arizona State’s Honors College summa cum laude with two minors, while also winning an athletic national championship. After his undergraduate work, Steve attended and graduated from Washington and Lee’s School of Law in 1999. At Washington and Lee, he competed on the school’s National Moot Court team and served as a law journal editor. In private practice, he practiced business, business litigation and regulatory law for two national law firms. In 2005, he founded his own boutique law firm and achieved an AV rating, the highest possible rating for skill and ethics. There, Steve represented clients ranging from very large to start-ups across a variety of industries.
Steve founded Harvest in 2011. After opening Harvest’s first dispensary in 2013, Steve worked there for several months fulfilling orders, performing reception duties, and consulting with patients. He quickly learned that he had the ability to help shape a company that gave people control over an aspect of their life where they previously had very little – their health and wellness. This led Steve to instill a culture of education and empowerment at Harvest to provide patients much needed products, resources, and support. For example, Harvest facilities host a new patient orientation and monthly support group meetings for epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer, and PTSD. Under Steve’s direction, Harvest has also engaged in many community activities and events, including donating more than $500,000 to local charitable organizations, veterans, seniors, and patients in need. Steve founded and now serves on the board of directors for Harvesting Hope, a non-profit organization that supports young children suffering from seizure disorders. To date, Harvesting Hope has provided a wide range of services for over 100 families.
As Harvest’s CEO, Steve is responsible for license acquisition, start-up, operations, and organizational direction and strategy. He has also been instrumental in navigating state- and county-level regulatory audits, including, to date, more than one hundred state inspections across multiple states, four Americans for Safe Access Patient Focused Certifications, and more than fifty certified financial audits. He sits on Americans for Safe Access’s Advisory Board for its End Pain, Not Lives campaign. He is also a board member of the Arizona Dispensary Association. In addition, he has done hundreds of interviews, speaking engagements, and provided expert testimony on a multitude of marijuana-related topics.
Mark Steinmetz, Vice President
For the past seven years, Mark Steinmetz has devoted his full-time efforts to the Department of Health Services Licensed Medical Marijuana Dispensary, Infusion, and Cultivation programs as Licensee/Owner/Operator of Sixth Street Enterprises, Inc. – DBA Nature’s Medicines dispensaries, AMMA Investment Group, LLC, and devoted to the management of cultivation, processing, and dispensing state regulated medical cannabis. Mark also owns a principal stake in Amado Management, LLC, an organic, high-tech, light deprivation greenhouse management company located upon 17 acres in Amado, AZ. Mark and his business partners won two Baltimore, MD area dispensary licenses in 2016, and three more dispensaries in State College, Bloomsburg, and Selinsgrove, PA. Mark also operates a management company with several other dispensary clients in CT, MA, & MI. Mark has pioneered the cannabis industry in Arizona, and has emerged as a leader among his peers, serving as the Arizona Dispensaries Association President (2018), and winning over 24 industry awards from 2016-2019 including Errl Cups for “Best Concentrates and Best Flower in Arizona.” Nature’s Medicines dispensaries also won first place (#1) for “Best Dispensary in Arizona” by Phoenix New Times, Leaf-Life, and Cannabis Now Magazine.
Mark’s legacy of government compliance started 35+ years ago as a senior broadcast manager with the ABC and CBS Radio companies. In 1996 ABC Radio/Disney tapped Mark as their Radio Stations Group President, operating 26 radio AM/FM stations in 13 major markets throughout the United States including, 700 employees, $150 million in revenue, and $72 Million in EBITDA. Mark conceptualized, researched, and assisted in the development and launch of the 24/7 ESPN Radio station product and the Radio Disney brand, as well as several music formats for ABC Radio.
He is most proud of the record $1.4 Million raised for Phoenix Children’s Hospital with a 72 hour “Radio-thon” in 2005 while managing the CBS Radio Group, doubling the previous year’s performance. Mark also served on the board of directors of (MAN) Men’s Anti-Violence Network, ten years as a Board of Director of the Radio Advertising Bureau, was President of the Minnesota Advertising Federation, and served for over ten years on the Foundation Board for The Walter Cronkite School of Mass Communications and Journalism at ASU. Mark and his family also donate time to a variety of fundraisers and community outreach programs such as Habitat for Humanity and Humane Boarders. His Phoenix areas dispensaries have raised thousands of pounds of food and water for homeless shelters and gather thousands of toys for under-privileged and societally challenged youth.
When it comes to the emerging medical marijuana industry, he believes MMJ can eliminate human suffering as a viable treatment option for a variety of serious illnesses and medical conditions. He is proud to play a credible role in pioneering the MMJ Dispensary industry for the benefit of all Registered Patients who truly need this amazing natural herbal medicine.
Ryan Hermansky, Treasurer & Secretary
Ryan Hermansky is an Owner and Operator of Greenhouse of Flagstaff. Ryan has been involved in every aspect of the operation of Greenhouse since inception in June 2013. Currently Ryan oversees the retail and wholesale operations of Greenhouse, 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.
Sara Presler, Board Member
MOHAVE CANNABIS CO.
Sara Presler is an effective business-minded attorney with deep experience developing opportunities and transacting for cannabis clients. A graduate of Northern Arizona University and Michigan State University, she clerked for the Michigan Attorney General, State of Michigan Office of Administrative Law and Federal Relations, and the Michigan State University General Counsel’s Office. In 2005, she began practicing as a public defender in Coconino County, representing neglected and delinquent children and mentally ill adult patients. In 2008, Sara was elected Mayor of Flagstaff, Arizona and was the youngest person and first woman to ever hold the office.
Through appointment by the Governor, Sara has served on numerous local and state commissions, including the Governor’s Homeland Security Council. In 2010, Sara was re-elected as Mayor of Flagstaff and served a second term. Her most significant accomplishments include making substantial investments in Flagstaff's children, collaboratively resolving long-running water settlements with tribal nations, and demonstrating unwavering support for the Flagstaff Fire Department and Flagstaff Police Department. Sara began teaching for Northern Arizona University and continued for many semesters as a Business Law and Ethics Adjunct Instructor. She also taught Constitutional Law for Coconino Community College.
Sara has served as General Counsel of a global renewable energy company, CEO of a medical company, and CEO of a women’s foundation. In 2015, Sara shifted full time into the cannabis industry as a lawyer and consultant for licensed operators, including Mohave Cannabis Co. and Debbie’s Dispensary. She chairs the Compliance Committee for the Arizona Dispensaries Association and serves on its Board of Directors. Sara served as a Board Member for six Arizona cannabis licenses and owns cannabis licenses in other states.
Moe Asnani, Board Member
Mohit “Moe” Asnani is the co-founder of the iLAVA and iLAVAHEMP product line and is a partner in two Arizona dispensaries, The Downtown & D2 Dispensaries. He immigrated to the United States from India in 1995 and graduated from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona with a Bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems and a minor in Sociology. He discovered the benefits of medical marijuana when his mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. When Arizona legalized medical marijuana in 2010, he made the decision to participate in the industry with the goal of helping patients who were previously faced with the unfortunate choice of breaking state and local laws or watching a loved one suffer.
Eight years ago, he entered the medical marijuana industry by participating in the rule-making process led by the Arizona Department of Health Services in early 2011. Because of his deep experience with inpatient JCAHO/HIPAA compliance and managed care applications at firms like Cerner and HealthTrio, he launched a consulting firm in 2011 for the purposes of licensing, regulatory compliance & management. As he opened some of his first dispensaries, he saw instances of the state medical marijuana tracking website going down which resulted in dispensaries not being able to dispense, causing a care gap in patient access. He volunteered his time to help the Arizona Department of Health Services Director and Information Technology staff by providing feedback on needed features while beta testing new functionality on the website as they updated their systems to ensure continuity.
In Spring 2013, Moe worked with the Nevada State Legislature in helping create the framework of Senate Bill 374 which allowed over 60 dispensaries regulated by Nevada Division of Public & Behavioral Health & became law in October 2013.
Moe worked independently with his lobbyist to pass a law in the 2018 legislative session that enhances corporate governance in Arizona which benefited employees and business owners by limiting circumstances for business dissolution in the arena of commercial civil litigation. He also worked with legislators in the 2019 legislative session to ensure that Arizona's medical marijuana testing bill would meet the needs of Arizona's 200,000+ card-carrying patients without creating bottlenecks in the production, distribution, and dispensary supply chain.
Moe has a laser focus on ensuring that no patient in Arizona is ever incarcerated for exercising their right to alleviate suffering and pain. He also strives to bring attention to the matter that American companies in medical or adult use states that have developed products using cannabis should have a higher priority to protect their intellectual property than foreign companies who are using their country's legalization status to file provisional patents with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, all while American companies are denied that right.
Rami Sweis, Board Member
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.
Bill Gibbs, Board Member
Mr. Gibbs is currently the co-founder of the Cannabis Concentrate brand PuraEarth. He also was the founding member of the Arizona medical marijuana dispensary, Urban Greenhouse. He started his career with PriceWaterhouse Coopers in the Phoenix Management and Consulting arm of the CPA firm.
He served as the President of the University of Phoenix (Apollo Group) and took the organization from a loss of several million dollars a year when he started to a market cap of several billion dollars when he took the company public on the NASDAQ. Mr. Gibbs has an MBA from the University of Illinois, a BA from Arizona State University, and a CPA (retired) from the State of Arizona.
Samuel Richard, Executive Director
Sam is known for his strategic thinking and development of complex government affairs, communications, and media plans. He approaches every problem with an open mind, patience, and empathy.
Sam has a degree in nonprofit leadership and management from Arizona State University's College of Public Service and Community Solutions, is a Fellow of the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy, and holds certificates from both Valley Leadership and the Center for Progressive Leadership.
Sam was recently recognized by the Arizona Capitol Times in its inaugural Breakouts Award highlighting "the sharpest political minds in the state," and has previously been recognized in the Phoenix New Times' Best of Phoenix as Best Lobbyist and by the Phoenix Business Journal as a member of the 2013 class of Forty under 40.
Sam and his wife, Kim, live in Central Phoenix with their two children, Harlow and Holden.
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.