*CANCELLED * ACG San Diego | Cannabis: It’s Here, So What’s Next?


Event Details


April 21, 2020 4:30 PM - 7 PM PDT

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Important Information about COVID-19 & ACG San Diego Event Postponement

At this time, there is unfortunately a confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus in San Diego and an official request by the Governor of California to avoid public gatherings through the end of March. Our hope is that the victim experiences a full recovery quickly and no more cases occur. Increasingly, our member companies are advising employees and their clients to work from home, to cancel all non-essential travel and to avoid attending conferences and other large gatherings, many of which have been cancelled. Considering the dynamic nature of this situation, and the health and safety of our members and attendees, ACG San Diego is postponing the following chapter events:

  • March 17: Impact Investing – HCAP Partners’ Investment in Mission Healthcare
  • March 19: NextGen Event
  • March 24: New Member Lunch
  • April 7: April BrownBag: The Emotions Around Selling a Business
  • April 21: Cannabis: It's Here, So What's Next?

Your registration will be cancelled and refunded in full. As each postponed event has been rescheduled, we will promote a new date and details.

We at ACG San Diego will continue to monitor this situation and follow any advisories issued by the San Diego County Health & Human Services. In addition, ACG Global is monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Canadian Public Health Services and World Health Organization (WHO) response to and guidance about COVID-19.

For more regional information: San Diego County Health & Human Services

We apologize for any inconvenience to our participants and wish good health for our community at home and worldwide.

As States and cities expand their acceptance of medicinal or recreational cannabis, service providers are less worried about impacting their brand’s reputation if they get involved in this industry, and more concerned about how to position themselves to avoid being left behind in this large, fast-growing market. But what support is currently needed by cannabis-related businesses, and where is that support lacking from the service provider community? Join us Tuesday, April 21, 2020 as our panel will discuss developments and issues impacting this industry, including financing alternatives, branding, national and local legislative initiatives, as well as legal (entity and transaction structures, intellectual property), risk management, accounting, and other operational considerations.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The latest on local/state/federal legislation
  2. How banking regulations impact businesses in this industry
  3. Where professional service providers can make a difference
  4. Typical investors in these businesses


  • Bryan Buckley –Helmand Valley Growers Company, CEO & Founder 
  • James Brennan – Enlightened Brand Ventures, CEO 
  • Gary Seelhorst – Flora California, Chief Compliance & Corporate Development Officer 
  • Kristen Suchanec – Island Brands, Vice President of Production 
  • Kimberly R. Simms, Esq. – Law Office of Kimberly R. Simms, Founding Attorney


  • Marshall Varano – CohnReznick, Partner

REGISTRATION SUSPENDED to be rescheduled/new date pending

  • ACGSD Members & ACGSD Sponsors: $0
  • ACGSD Next Gen Members: $0
  • Members of Other Chapters: $75
  • Non-Members & Guests: $95


Contact Executive Director Judy Susser-Travis, CMP, CMM at acgsandiego@acg.org or 619-741-7247.

Please Note: Your registration for this event acts as an audio/video release and includes your permission for ACG San Diego to use your image and comments captured on audio, video or photographic formats while attending the event for marketing and promotional purposes. For further information please contact: Judy Susser-Travis - ACG San Diego Executive Director @ acgcsandiego@acg.org or 619 741 7247.


Bryan Buckley

Bryan Buckley

Helmand Valley Growers Company
CEO & Founder

As a Special Operations Team Commander with Marine Raiders, Bryan led multiple teams deployed to Africa, Asia, and Afghanistan (Helmand Province) -- developing rapport with host nation forces, enhancing capability within host nation units, and briefing U.S. Ambassadors. He also deployed twice for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and received prestigious accomodations such as a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. As CEO of Helmand Valley Growers and Chairman of Battle Brothers Foundation (501c3), Brian is leading those companies on a mission to end the opioid and suicide epidemic plaguing our nation's heroes by exploring the benefits of medical cannabis. He is a graduate of Villanova University.

James Brennan

James Brennan

Enlightened Brand Ventures

James has received national recognition for his success as a restaurateur and nightclub owner, and helped lead Suja Juice’s launch and groundbreaking success as one of the co-founders. Through his venture building firm, Enlightened Brand Ventures, he has co-founded Kopari Beauty and Liveli, both of which live in the health and wellness space.. Currently, his focus is on the Cannabanoid (CBD) market, implementing a unique technology for CBD and incorporating it into Kopari and Liveli products.

Gary Seelhorst

Gary Seelhorst

Flora California
Chief Compliance & Corporate Development Officer

Gary has a passion for developing high quality cannabis products so their most therapeutic effects can be realized. His 25-years in pharmaceuticals and medical devices helps him bring scientific rigor to the cannabis industry. Gary is very active at both the State and Federal level as an advocate for policy reform/higher quality standards. He enjoyed lengthy stints at Eli Lilly and Pfizer (in clinical development and corporate development), and worked with several start-ups developing corporate and compliance strategies. Gary has a B.S./B.A. from UC San Diego in Biochemistry/Psychology, an M.S. in Clinical Physiology from Indiana University, and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Kristen Suhanec

Kristen Suhanec

Island Brands
Vice President of Production

Kristen oversees all manufacturing, with an emphasis on compliance and integrating automation. She has over a decade of experience in supply chain, operations, and manufacturing in industries such as medical devices, consumer packaged goods, and apparel. Kristen joined Island Brands in 2017 to bring best production practices to the cannabis industry. She spent most of her career at Johnson & Johnson, responsible for external manufacturing management, demand planning for a $500M portfolio, and supply chain integration for a cosmetic brand acquisition. Kristen earned her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Penn State University and MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

Kimberly R. Simms, Esq.

Kimberly R. Simms, Esq.

Law Office of Kimberly R. Simms
Founding Attorney

Kimberly has dedicated her entire legal career to the cannabis industry -- negotiating with government officials to craft reasonable regulations for safe access, handling complex zoning matters, advising on local & state regulations, and helping hundreds of cannabis entrepreneurs develop business plans. She is recognized as a thought-leader in cannabis law, teaching courses, leading seminars, and appearing on NPR and CNN. Kimberly was a founding Board Member of the San Diego Cannabis Industry Association, served as a founding and acting Chapter Chair for San Diego Women Grow, and is currently serving her second term as Board Member of the California Cannabis Industry Association.

Marshall Varano

Marshall Varano


Marshall has 35 years of experience in public accounting, with an expertise in business tax consulting and planning. His practice consists of manufacturing, real estate, renewable energy, high-tech/life science companies, and foreign corporations. Marshall also leads the San Diego office’s cannabis practice and hospitality consulting practice. In 2019 he was a panel member at the Connect “Preparing Your Company for Sale” event and the Carlsbad Cannabiz Education Symposium. Marshall’s 2019 article “Tax Incentives for Cannabis Companies” was featured in the March addition of New Frontier Data. Marshall received a B.S. in Business Administration from San Diego State University.

Hosted by: ACG
San Diego