Sproutways & Santa Cruz Center of Botanical Studies presents:

Event Speakers

Hezekiah Allen

Hezekiah Allen is the former Executive Director of the California Growers Association. He was born and raised off-the-grid in rural Humboldt County. Allen is an active community leader for the cannabis community in which he was raised. Through lobbying and public affairs programs, Allen works to protect the interests of a broad statewide membership made of several hundred growers and business owners. 

As a senior subject matter specialist and one of the most knowledgeable advocate supporting the transition from California’s non-profit and medical marijuana programs to a for-profit full recreational program, Allen acts as a liaison and voice for the existing, and vast, California cultivation community. Allen studied Politics & Government at Pacific University and has worked successfully in government relations on a state, national and international level. Now he is dedicated to improving the conditions for the California cannabis industry and its shift toward a legal recreational market for profit that will place it at the epicenter of the entire industry for the globe. Allen has a special skillset for consensus-building and the leadership necessary to bring together diverse coalitions and community organizations that advance the challenging issues of our day.

Mark Denzin

Mr. Denzin has a strong background and long history in the financial services industry, technology and Fintech. For more than 20 years, Mark has built and operated companies such as godaddy.com, Endurance International and Newtek Business Services. All of them experienced tremendous success by rapidly implementing marketing, sales, fundraising and acquisition strategies for product and services firms. Mark’s experience has been instrumental for companies to win with customer excellence and execution on product and business strategies.

Mr. Denzin is the co-founder and CEO of C2 LLC his blockchain development company as well as a Venture Partner of ICS Integrated Compliance Solutions. C2 LLC along with ICS’ team, provide the highest quality compliance products and services that enable banks to safely, securely, and cost effectively enter into the cannabis space. ICS allows a cannabis banking program to maintain compliance with an ever-evolving regulatory landscape.

C2 LLC and ICS deliver top quality solutions by only partnering with top service partners such as debit processors, ATMs, and digital wholesale exchange providers that offer fully compliant, transparent, and traceable solutions. Mark Denzin has also partnered with companies such as Sky Tree Insurance, Cimplex Payroll Solutions, First Direct Financial Honor Enterprise Funding. Honor Enterprise Funding makes any traditional lending product available to the cannabis industry. Together, Mark and Honor Enterprise fund some of the largest expansion projects all the way down to simple equipment leases.

Mark and the C2 team have created a compliant blockchain utility token called USMD. This was created for all CRB entities by offering banking and b2b transactions that are FinCEN and AML compliant. C2 is a fully vertical solutions provider to make your coin or token business come alive, our team takes full ownership of your offering and ensures it is managed, maintained, and adheres to all regulatory requirements to ensure your success.

Nick Halmos

Nick began his career in controlled environment agriculture in 2001, and has been a consistent innovator in the AgTech field, while also successfully founding and building companies in real estate. Nick moved Cityblooms to Santa Cruz, California in 2011, and began building a team to develop the next generation of farming technology. Under Nick’s leadership, Cityblooms was awarded the prestigious Business Environmental Award in 2015 by Acterra for its on-site farm at Plantronics, and was also named as one of the “Ten Hot Companies to Watch in Monterey Bay’s Agtech Hub” in early 2016. He was awarded 4 patents in early 2017 for design and utility of Cityblooms’ micro-farming systems, and was named “Innovator of the Year” in March of 2017 for his continued commitment to new and creative sustainable farming solutions.

Nick holds a JD from Vanderbilt Law School and a BA from Brown University.

Gavin Kogan

As one of California’s earliest cannabis business attorneys, Gavin has been deeply involved in local and state cannabis advocacy and have helped architect and guide the development of hundreds of cannabis business endeavors.

In 2014, Gavin left private practice to co-found Indus Holding Co., which launched Altai Brands, a low-dosage edibles brand and brought Colorado’s Dixie Elixirs to the California market in 2015. Today, Indus is one of California’s larger co-packing and last-mile distribution enterprises.

In 2016, Gavin co-founded Grupo Flor, an enterprise initially designed to secure master farm leases in the Salinas valley and sub-lease them to cannabis growers. From that initial seedling sprouted an entire suite of Grupo Flor companies engaged in all aspects of the California supply chain. Today Grupo Flor has in excess of 100 local employees, conducts licensed cannabis operations throughout the state and is expanding its reach into international markets.

In addition to local government advocacy efforts, Gavin also serves on the California Cannabis Industry Association’s Legislative Committee and is a founding board member of the California Cannabis Manufacturers Association.

Scott Krauger

A serial entrepreneur, and a business consultant. Scott brings a broad and diverse level of expertise and insights into the world business and agriculture. His career includes thirty plus years of experience in the wine industry at the global level with a massive array of expertises such as marketing, e-commerce, and technology such as HIVE Energy Storage, AgroSonics (Green Technology) Vineyard Management and Winery Consulting. His special gifts are building teams & partnerships. Scott believes that through collaboration we can make our world a better place.

Matt McClain

Matt has been active and advocating within the Cannabis space for five years, primarily focused on industrial and medicinal hemp. In 2013, working with local community leaders, his team convinced the American Farm Bureau Federation to support industrial
hemp farming.  He founded Recreator Hemp Apparel in 2013 with some close friends, and that venture raised $45,000+ on the initial Kickstarter project. Matt has his hands in many facets of cultivation, processing and finished added-value hemp products.
With a focus on the mystical and shamanic aspects of Cannabis practices throughout history, Matt McClain finished his Ph.D. in Mythological Studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute last year. His dissertation was entitled, Herb & Shaman. This academic focus
has also inspired his real-world and practical knowledge of the plant and market–for instance, he attended the first hemp harvest in 50 years in the United States at Ryan Loflin’s Family Farm in Springfield, Colorado in 2014.

Having lived in Southern California for the past decade, Dr. McClain is honored to represent many different organizations in the state. He currently is year two of three in his term with the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board at the California Dept. of Food and Ag.

In addition, he sits on the advisory board for Fibershed’s regional supply chain development. Currently, as a Founder and Board Member of the California Hemp Foundation, Matt and his team are partnering with a number of hemp farmers across California in variety trials and production-level research of industrial hemp. Also, as the Vice Chair of the California Hemp Association, he has been instrumental in lobbying at the state and local level, including the recent passage of SB 1409.

Angus Mills

Angus is the visionary behind Strong Agronomy, an ecologically-minded farm management company in Watsonville, CA. His extensive experience with agricultural sciences, innovative cultivation methods, and direct marketing channels has helped Strong Agronomy deliver rapid success with Coastal Moon Berries, Coastal Sun Cannabis, and Coastal Star/ts Cannabis Plugs.

He works with a new-breed of ag pioneers to develop growing practices founded in regenerative agriculture. With knowledge learned from many industry leaders, Strong Agronomy is building a comprehensive systems-based approach to plant nutrition – a method solidly based on the sciences of plant physiology, mineral nutrition, and soil microbiology.

Craig Nejedly

Congratulations to Craig and his team at Talking Tree Farms for their recent success.

Craig has been a sustainably focused entrepreneur in the hemp and cannabis sector for over 20 years. In 1998, He founded Satori Movement which was a lifestyle brand focused on sustainability and action sports. In 2004, he started High-Grade Distribution which sold Satori and other brands across the globe into over 30 countries.  In 2014 he formed Talking Trees Farms and was an early pioneer on permitting his cannabis farms. 

In 2018, he opened the Satori Wellness dispensary in Humboldt County and changed the focus of high-grade distribution to be a cannabis-focused distribution company that currently sells his products into over a hundred permitted retailers. Currently Holding 7 cannabis related permits, Craig is constantly expanding business while sticking to his roots of paced growth and sustainability.

Len Pisciotta

Prior to founding Pavatii Pure H2Organics, LLC, Len Pisciotta served as Founding Partner and Systems Implementation Supervisor responsible for installing proprietary clean water treatment systems used across multiple industries to meaningfully resolve the negative environmental impact caused by unclean storm and agricultural run-off, in the state of California. From these clean water technology roots, now via Pavatii Pure H2Organics, LLC, Len iworks to deliver Gardner’s Green Gold™ Fertilizer, the most exceptional fertilizer currently available to growers, worldwide. Gardner’s Green Gold™ Fertilizer is an all-natural, superior growth-stimulating and remarkably cost-effective formula is now leading the agricultural industry toward more top quality, earth-friendly, sustainable, more effective, pure and renewable products.

Jeff Wille

Erinco Capital is a business development partner in cannabis, technology, and energy conservation industries. Erinco structures asset-based funding that provides the necessary capital for infrastructure expansion. Jeff works with clients to leverage those investments with sales tools and processes that reduce business risk.

Mr. Willie has a long track record in real estate, finance, and sales positions.