Spark Guest Speakers

Spark has hosted dozens of cannabis industry leaders and pioneers to help attendees understand the industry. We always learn a lot and have lively discussions when an industry leader comes to share their expertise.

Giahda Aguirre de Carcer, Founder & CEO, New Frontier Data

Mar 7, 2019

Worldwide Cannabis Data

Giadha Aguirre de Carcer is Founder and CEO of New Frontier Data, the leading cannabis Big Data & Analytics reporting provider in over 68 countries around the world. An entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in business execution, management and strategic business development, de Carcer has worked in investment banking and as a senior consultant in multiple industries across commercial/government sectors domestically and abroad.

Delegate David Moon

Feb 7, 2019

Legalization in Maryland (D-Montgomery County)

David Moon is an American activist, lawyer, and politician. He is currently a member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing District 20.

Saphira Galoob, Founder, The Liaison Group

Jan 10, 2019

Lobbying for Cannabis

Saphira Galoob is Principal and CEO of The Liaison Group, Washington, DC’s only lobbying firm focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. An entrepreneur, strategist, business lawyer and legislative professional with over two decades of experience, Saphira has first-hand understanding of the intersections among entrepreneurial passion, business priorities and regulatory realities. Within the cannabis space, she has developed – and successfully executed – campaigns to assist businesses in the navigation of the complicated – and rapidly evolving – congressional and federal agency landscape.

Janie Maedler, CEO, Rylie’s Sunshine

Nov 8, 2018

Cannabis & Pediatric Patients

Janie Maedler and her family’s lives were forever changed in 2013, a bone tumor was discovered aggressively dissolving the left side of her daughter, Rylie’s, face and palate. After hearing this devastating news Janie dove into research. She could not deny giving Rylie the best outcome if it were a possibility. This meant illegally giving Rylie cannabis oils. After seeing remarkable results Janie decided it was time to take a risk and go public. She single handedly fought for Delaware to have a Pediatric Medical Marijuana law which was named Rylie’s Law.

Steven Hawkins, Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project

Oct 4, 2018

The Fight to Legalization

Steven W. Hawkins is an American social justice leader and litigator who currently serves as the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. Prior to assuming his current role, he was the executive director of Amnesty International USA. He was previously the Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Color People (NAACP). He also held position as executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, as senior program manager at Justice, Equality, Human Dignity and Tolerance Foundation, and as program executive at Atlantic Philanthropies and as an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Hawkins is known for bringing litigation that led to the release of three teenagers wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death row in Tennessee.

Maureen McNamara, Founder, Cannabis Trainers

Sept 13, 2018

Dispensary Training

Maureen McNamara is a Trainer, Facilitator and Coach. She has led hundreds of workshops and coaches business professionals and entrepreneurs to create more success and joy in their lives. With 20+ years of professional training experience, Maureen has trained and certified 10,000+ employees, managers and owners in national certification (ANSI) programs. She has facilitated classes for small locally owned businesses as well as international corporations. Maureen has worked with the Colorado Department of Revenue- Liquor Enforcement Division on the Responsible Vendor Act that was passed in 2005. She has worked with the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division to design the Responsible Cannabis Vendor Program in 2014. Additionally, Maureen has worked with the National Restaurant Association for development of the ServSafe® training materials and facilitator’s guides.

Jordan Tishler, MD

Aug 2, 2018


Dr. Jordan Tishler is a Harvard-trained Holistic Care expert. As a leading expert on Cannabis therapeutics, Dr. Tishler employs Western medicine and Cannabis care to treat a wide array of illness. He is additionally focused on stress management, insomnia, and human sexuality. The intersection of Cannabis medicine and sexuality is a particular area of expertise for Dr. Tishler.

Linda Biggs, International Artist, Maryland Medical Cannabis Patient

July 12, 2018

A Patient’s Journey

John Hudak, Deputy Director, Brookings Institute

June 7, 2018

Spark’s 1st Birthday & Medical Cannabis in Maryland: Rights and Responsibilities

John Hudak is deputy director of the Center for Effective Public Management and a senior fellow in Governance Studies. His research examines questions of presidential power in the contexts of administration, personnel, and public policy. Additionally, he focuses on campaigns and elections, legislative-executive interaction, and state and federal marijuana policy. John’s work has been recognized for its quality and contribution by the Midwest Political Science Association and the American Political Science Association’s Presidency Research Group. His work has been supported by institutions including the National Science Foundation.

Joy Strand, Executive Director, MMCC

May 3, 2018

State of the State

Strand served as the chief executive officer of McCready Health in Crisfield. Among her accomplishments while leading the multi-facility system, she helped establish, in collaboration with two other hospitals, an outreach grant program that expanded access, addressed chronic care issues and enhanced case management services to improve population health outcomes in the Lower Eastern Shore region. Before that role, she served for five years as administrator and chief operating officer of Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac, MI, overseeing the $3.5 million expansion of the facility’s emergency department and recruiting more than 13 physicians, among other achievements.

Delegate Eric Leudtke (D-Montgomery County, Maryland)

Feb 1, 2018

Will Maryland Fully Legalize?

John Kagia, Executive Vice President, New Frontier Data

Jan 11, 2018

Dispensary Market Data

John Kagia applies his keen understanding of market research, business strategy and industry analysis to help high performing organizations achieve their strategic objectives. Leveraging his years of experience managing research studies for industry-leading clients including Accenture, Microsoft, The George Washington University, and the U.S. Department of State, Kagia brings a keen understanding of how market insights enable organizations to plan, grow, compete, and measure performance more effectively. Kagia is particularly interested in helping to identify and build sustainable competitive positions. His passion about issues such as disruptive innovation and new market opportunities, has brought him to focus on identifying strategic business opportunities in the fast-evolving marijuana industry.

Brandon Wyatt, ESQ

Nov 2, 2017

Veterans & PTSD

Brandon L. Wyatt Esq., is a decorated army combat soldier and disabled veteran. He received his Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law. Currently, he is matriculation through the Executive Masters of Business Administration program at The George Washington University. Despite being a business attorney, Brandon is dedicated to law & applied sociology in the arena of employment/ labor law, civil rights, disability rights, and Veteran’s health care. Throughout his legal education and career, Brandon has sought and undertook targeted tasks which have cultivated keen analytical skills, a functional understanding of policy development, a real time responsiveness to his client’s legal position, the ability to sort and reduce litigation, and a foothold within special emphasis outreach. Brandon is an pioneer in cannabis law and business development within the mid- atlantic market. He has participated intimately in the internal development, social activism, & policy coordination for various service organizations

Lori Dodson, Director of Compliance for Cannabis Testing Laboratories, MMCC

Aug 3, 2017

Why is Lab Testing So Important? (Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission)

Neill Franklin, Executive Director, LEAP

July 13, 2017

Addressing Maryland’s Opioid Crisis (Law Enforcement Action Partnership)

Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) is a 34-year veteran of both the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department who oversaw 17 separate drug task forces. He has served as an official representative of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (formerly Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) since 2007, and as Executive Director since 2010. He currently represents the Law Enforcement Action Partnership as the public face of the organization, interacting with the media, key partners, and the general public. Additionally, Neill guides the organization’s mission, and serves as both an Executive Board member and a speaker.

Jenny Germano, CEO, ICS Consulting

Mar 1, 2017

Dispensary Do’s and Don’ts

Jennifer Germano began working in the Colorado Marijuana Industry in 2009 as a receptionist in a boutique medical dispensary. She worked her way from the ground floor through every employee and management position in a medical and a recreational marijuana facility to the level of Director of Operations of a multi-million dollar retail dispensary and cultivation operation.


Spark Networking Night – April

Come together to learn something new or just to catch up with friends in the industry. Leave your screens behind and join us to meet cannabis professionals, in person!

Spark Networking Night – April

Come together to learn something new or just to catch up with friends in the industry. Leave your screens behind and join us to meet cannabis professionals, in person!

Spark Networking Night – January

Saphira Galoob, Founder and CEO of The Liaison GroupCome - together to learn something new or just to catch up with friends in the industry. Leave your screens behind and join us to meet cannabis professionals, in person!

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