Sherwin Amiran

Posted Posted in Machines

Sherwin Amiran is Chief Operations Officer of Ethos Manufacturing. Sherwin has comprehensive experience in the design, manufacturing and operations of fluid-based processing systems and facilities. A graduate of University of Iowa, Mr. Amiran has a BS in Political Science and Economics.

With over a two decades of industry experience, Sherwin has extensive knowledge in environmental, water, soil, hydrocarbon, and agricultural processes, and has managed operations installed in a variety of far-flung locales, including throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and South Korea. His administration record that includes bidding, site selection, facility operation, personnel management, and intellectual property management.

Andy Spoone

Posted Posted in Machines

Andy has worked with multiple startups in high compliance environments including clinical trials, medical devices, and cannabis. Most recently, Sierra Labs was started to help companies automate software and hardware development processes to meet regulatory demands and stay compliant. Andy’s focus is helping align fast-paced innovative teams with regulatory frameworks and quality systems.

Addison DeMoura

Posted Posted in Testing Round Table

Addison DeMoura co-founded Steep Hill Laboratories in 2008 and for seven years served as its Chief Business Development Officer until leaving the company in 2015. During his time at Steep Hill, Mr. DeMoura focused on overseeing the marketing, sales and branding for the company.

As a brand ambassador and face of the company, Addison cultivated many key relationships and strategic partnerships throughout his time with Steep Hill. Through developing strong relationships with growers, breeders, processors, edible producers and brokers, DeMoura’s efforts helped make Steep Hill the world leader in cannabis science and testing. Addison worked closely on Steep Hill’s expansion into multiple states, with the company now holding laboratory space in over eight states combined. While DeMoura no longer oversees the day-to-day business at Steep Hill, he still holds a claim in the company and works with Steep Hill in many projects to date.

Since 1998, DeMoura had been a compassionate provider in California as well as a former Central Valley dispensary operator. Through his experience as an activist and professional in the cannabis industry, DeMoura’s qualifications afford him the ability to continue to work closely as a consultant with patients, processors, collectives, breeders and growers, as well as municipalities dealing with cannabis legislation. With over 23 years of cannabis experience he is well known in the industry throughout the United States and the globe. Through networking and years of experience Addison has become a key component in the fast developing cannabis industry throughout the United States and abroad. His perspective on hash and hash production as a maker as well as from a scientific standpoint is unparalleled and often a source for many in the field. Over the past 2.5 years Addison worked launching products lines and brands through 11 licenses held in Lynwood California. From the product design, development and marketing concepts all the way to actual production and product launch, DeMoura has led a team to bring products through the regulated market and complaint landscape to the people. Through his Instagram account (@terphova) DeMoura captures his daily life in the cannabis and hash world with a unique perspective on the industry as a whole.

Ken White

Posted Posted in Machines

Upon receiving a B.S. in organic chemistry from Oregon State University, Ken White worked for Thermo Fisher Scientific developing large scale synthesis and purification for the manufacturing of fluorescent biomarkers, increasing scale by over 300% and increasing reaction efficiency by 20%. While working at Thermo Fisher Scientific, Ken earned his Master of Industrial Chemistry from the University of Oregon.

Ken White, Chief Scientist & Vice President of Manufacturing

Hungry for new experience, Ken White transitioned to Bend Research where he developed several pediatric formulations of cancer medication for pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, and continued developing techniques for large scale manufacturing of chemical compounds.

With the legalization of cannabis, Ken left Bend Research to start his own consulting company. During this time Ken assisted several Oregon cannabis companies set up and develop their cannabis processing facilities, earning several industry awards for hawards for his products. Ken also consulted for a large scale Oregon Department of Agriculture approved hemp processing facility, implementing systems and procedures for very large scale hemp extraction and processing.

Ken joined Cura (Select) January 2017 as the Chief Scientist and Director of Manufacturing. Ken designed and built an industry leading cannabis laboratory for Cura that has quickly become the most efficient and largest scale processing facility in Oregon. Ken has developed many innovative products such as pure THCA and CBD Isolates as well as water soluble formulations. Ken has also been an integral part in formulating products for several new projects including hemp CBD formulations for Select CBD.

Ken left Cura in May 2019 to once again Consult for the Cannabis industry. His focus is around large scale manufacturing of cannabis products, custom design and fabrication of manufacturing equipment, product formulations, automation, and innovation in cannabinoid chemistry

“Scale Up or Go Niche” Dustin Powers Advice to Manufacturers and Dedication to Open-Source Cannabis

Posted Posted in Blog

Like many in the industry, Dustin Powers never planned on making cannabis his career. But whether he found the plant or the plant found him, the plant is now his life’s work.

Powers was only a casual cannabis consumer when he moved to Washington State shortly before the state coincidentally legalized cannabis in 2012. A couple twists of fate later and Powers found himself working for the renowned Skunk Pharm Research collective.

Powers was fascinated by Skunk Pharm’s meticulously scientific approach to cannabis and revolutionary model of sharing knowledge communally. “That’s where I learned the open source model,” he said in our interview. “That’s how I got really deep into cannabis science, the extraction side of things. It all snowballed from there.” 

As Powers continued to learn and experiment, eventually striking out on his own, that snowball came to include multiple pioneering breakthroughs in the industry, from the beginnings of ethanol extraction to advancements in pesticide remediation.

Crucially though, throughout his successes he’s remained dedicated to an open-source model of cannabis science. That dedication is what led him to launch the cannabis manufacturing forum Future4200, and to begin his latest venture, Good Life Gang, a members-only community committed to supporting each other with knowledge, networking, and other resources.

If that approach seems radical, especially in the face of cannabis’ rapid corporatization, that’s exactly his intention. Powers see the globalization of cannabis as eventually inevitable, and so in order to survive manufacturers will either have to master their craft, or master mass scale production.

“If you look at consumers now, they all want distillate and vape pens, and the name of that game is scale up or go home.

That really is it. You either scale, or you go really niche, like a really high end propane extract. Those things are harder to replicate at scale, especially if you’re working directly with the farmer, so you have some potential staying power as the price falls out.”

No matter which side a manufacturer chooses, mass scale or niche concentration, Powers deeply believes that success never comes alone, and so Powers is excited to not only speak at the Microscopes and Machines conference, but have the chance to connect with and answer questions from the community.

We hope that you’ll join us in Los Angeles on July 27 for the opportunity to talk to Powers and our entire speaker line-up. For tickets and more information,

Dr. Sue Sisley Is Suing the DEA Over Cannabis Research, Here’s Why

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in Blog

51 years ago the U.S. government named the University of Mississippi as the only legal supplier of medical cannabis. Accordingly, generations of scientists were forced to obtain a highly coveted DEA Schedule 1 research license merely for the privilege of being able to purchase whatever cannabis the University decided to provide them.

Three years ago the DEA announced it recognized researcher demand for a larger and diverse variety of cannabis and that it would soon be increasing the number of federally authorized growers. Since then, exactly zero additional growers have been named despite over 30 applications.

Three weeks ago Dr. Sue Sisley filed a lawsuit against the DEA, alleging that the government enforced monopoly at the University of Mississippi was harming researchers by limiting legal access to a plant, in turn harming patients who would remain without potentially critical clinical research information and access to potential new medicines.

“Maintaining only one federally legal drug supply for any clinical trials in the US has been a huge impediment to research because it’s not allowing scientists access to necessary options. We can’t just study from one supplier who seems to be limited from purchasing new genetics. And when there’s a monopoly for this many decades, it tends to breed apathy. There’s no real drive to respond to the public, to be responsive to the demands of scientists, no real need to innovate in the direction of what patients want.”

Dr. Sisley is well-positioned to file the suit. As one of the few people to hold two different DEA Schedule I licenses as researcher & analytical lab, Dr. Sisley has been carrying out the only FDA-approved randomized controlled trial in the world examining safety/efficacy of whole plant marijuana in combat veterans with severe post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, for several years.

As the PTSD study concluded and Dr. Sisley began preparing to publish the results, she unblinded the data and quickly came to believe that the quality of cannabis provided by the University of Mississippi had negatively affected the study’s efficacy data.

“Most scientists end up with this mishmash of different strains (including stem sticks, leaves etc) – all of it seems to get thrown into a grinder in overzealous effort to standardize the study drug batches for clinical trials. I’m arguing that by doing that, they’re overprocessing the plant and decimating the natural efficacy contained in the flowering tops. Further, in controlled trials we issue patients the study drug by weight.

So if the weight of study drug is being augmented with this extraneous plant material instead of just the dry flower/bud,” Dr. Sisley explained, “common sense suggests how this dilution could harm the outcomes of efficacy data”.

Without the ability to legally obtain cannabis from a range of federally legal suppliers who would be motivated to provide better options, service and quality, and without specific access to a diverse variety of strains (more similar to the thousands of phenotypes readily available throughout the US regulated markets) that could be studied to see if they offered varying treatment potential, Dr. Sisley maintains that scientists are unjustly handcuffed.

While the lawsuit is focused on breaking of the University of Mississippi’s supplier monopoly, Dr. Sisley knows firsthand that this issue is only a strand in a larger web of challenges that cannabis researchers face.

In addition to extraordinarily limited access to research material, studies proposing to examine the potential harms of cannabis are often quickly approved by the government, while studies aimed at the efficacy of cannabis are routinely stalled.

And by refusing to provide any whole cannabis flower which can eventually be sold as a prescription medicine to researchers for study in FDA PHASE 3 Trials, the government is disadvantaging those interested in researching whole plant treatments in favor of large pharmaceutical companies who are only looking to isolate specific patentable cannabis compounds.

Dr. Sisley recognizes that even if her lawsuit is successful the results will still be a long time coming. It will take newly DEA licensed BULK MANUFACTURERS years to get up and running, all while other countries with already fully developed medical cannabis supply chains like Canada, Israel, Australia, and others continue to pull ahead of the U.S. in the race to take the lead in clinical cannabis medicine research.

“That’s why I spend so much time educating about the limitations of this monopoly and the fact that if we could ever license other growers for research and have options for scientists, it could create a renaissance of cannabis research in the US, which is we could, you know, regain our rightful place at the helm of the most important cannabis clinical trials in the world.”

While the lawsuit progresses through the court system Dr. Sisley is actively gearing up for a phase two of the PTSD study, including looking for a private partner to help her redo the study with real world cannabis flower. 

“I believe that efficacy data would be significantly different if these patients were allowed to self-titrate real world cannabis,” explained Dr. Sisley.

And true to her word, she’ll be continuing her mission to educate others about the current medical cannabis monopoly by delivering one of the keynote addresses at the Microscopes & Machines conference, taking place in Los Angeles on July 27. To see Dr. Sisley along with a diverse array of other speakers and cannabis experts, click here for tickets

William Goss

Posted Posted in Psychedelics

William Goss joined the growing team of the largest organic mushroom farm on the continent, advancing their R&D team, and leading their water systems operations for almost 3 years. After working for a bay area biotech start-up producing mycelium leather, he joined the Decriminalize CA campaign full-time as the Mycology Director.

William supports local community mycology societies and the right to forage wild mushrooms, building partnerships with industry mycophiles, researches new technology and cutting edge science, and teaches cultivation workshops. 

William graduated from UC Davis in 2013 with a degree in plant genetics, and a minor in mycology. As a student, he worked in plant pathology, entomology, and ecology labs. William researched soil, nematodes, and mycorrhizae at the Agriculture Sustainability Institute. After college, he moved to the Santa Cruz mountains to become a naturalist in outdoor education for 3 years where he shared his passion for mycology.

He has identified and foraged mushrooms for over 10 years, volunteers for Project Pollinate as the Director of Advocacy, and is developing new IPM strategies for Santa Cruz viticulturists.

The Complete Microscopes & Machines Speaker Line-Up

Posted Posted in Blog

When we set out to create this conference, we believed that there were two crucial but often overlooked topics in the industry

1) The need to refocus on the healing potential of cannabis (Microscopes)

2) How to scale an industry already facing massive bottlenecks (Machines)

While vital, we came to realize that these topics are often under-represented at cannabis conferences because it’s frankly very difficult to find verified experts on these topics, and even more difficult to convince those experts to take time away from their practices.

Thankfully, many experts believed in our mission as much as we did, and the end result is a speaker line-up that we can say without exaggeration is unprecedented. Featuring some of the most highly-regarded thinkers, practitioners, and inventors in hemp and cannabis, these are the people directly shaping the industry’s landscape.

Microscopes Track:

Dr. Jeff Chen: The Founder and Executive Director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, one of the first university programs dedicated to the study of cannabis.

Dr. Pierre Geoffroy: After 25 of global pharmaceutical experience, Dr. Geoffroy is now a leading physician who specializes in using cannabis to treat Substance Abuse Disorder.

Sheila Gibson, Esq.: Sheila Gibson brings deep IP experience to helping independent cannabis operators hold their ground as corporate interests attempt to takeover.

Dr. Pepper Hernandez: Dr. Pepper Hernandez is at the forefront of a new kind of holistic medicine that uses cannabis as a therapeutic instrument.

​Madison Margolin: An experienced cannabis journalist, Margolin is Co-Founder of the recently launched psychedelics magazine, Double Blind.

Dr. Michael Masterman-Smith: Dr. Michael Masterman-Smith is an entrepreneurial scientist, cancer biologist, pharmacologist, and healthcare expert who holds the distinction of being one of the co-discoverers of cancer stem cells.

Nicole Howell Neubert, Esq.: A co-founder of Clark & Neubert LLP, Neubert is one of California’s most effective and respected cannabis business and regulatory attorneys.

John Clayborn Poss: John Poss serves as The CEO & Chairman of GB Sciences, Inc., a cutting edge cannabis cultivation and biopharmaceutical research company.

Dr. Michele Ross: Dr. Ross holds a PhD in Neuroscience and has been active in psychedelic research and drug policy reform for over a decade. 

Dr. Stuart Silverman: A faculty member of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, Dr. Silverman is also a Professor at both Cedars Sinai Medical Center and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He has published more than 200 peer reviewed papers.

Dr. Sue Sisley: One of the few federally-regulated cannabis researchers in the world, Dr. Sue Sisley recently filed a lawsuit against the DEA.

Dr. Andrea Small-Howard: The Chief Science Officer at GB Sciences, Inc., Dr. Small-Howard is working to advance clinical research on medicinal applications of cannabinoid compounds.

Microscopes Track:

Dr. Wyeth Callaway: Now an independent consultant, Dr. Callaway was previously at Jetty Extracts, where he helped the cannabis manufacturer increase capacity 10 times

Noah Cook: Noah Cook is at the forefront of industrial cannabis applications in a regulatory environment. His work on ethanol extraction and recovery systems is now world renowned.

Boris Kogon: The Founder of BizzyBee, Boris Kogon specializes in the process of choosing a solvent and recovering that solvent at scale.

Dustin Powers: The founder of GoodLifeGang and the Future4200 Forum, Dustin has pioneered multiple breakthroughs in the industry, from the beginnings of ethanol extraction to pesticide remediation.  

Ace Shelander P.E.: The Co-Founder of Beaker & Wench, Ace has brought wiped-film evaporation and machine design to a new level of excellence.

Harrison Spence: The Co-Founder of Accurate Extraction and Head of R&D at JVI, Spence is an industry leader in large-scale production facilities renowned for developing single body dual stage condensing for wipe film Distillation.

Andy Spoone: The Co-Founder and COO of Sierra Labs, Spoone is a widely regarded leader in developing technology solutions to accelerate compliance in Healthcare and Life Science.  

Ken White: The former Chief Scientist and Director of Manufacturing at Cura (Select), White has developed many innovative products such as pure THCA and CBD Isolates as well as water soluble formulations.

There will be opportunities to ask all of our speakers questions, and a special break out Testing Panel towards the end of the day where attendees will have the opportunity to have a direct Q&A with some of the most well-known names in California Cannabis Testing Regulations. Aaron Riley of Cannasafe, Addison Demoura of Steep Hill, Josh Wurzer of SC Labs, and Swetha Kaul of Cannalysis will help demystify some of the common unknowns. Consultations with these speakers normally run in the thousands of dollars, so be sure to come prepared with your best questions!

Please visit our Schedule page for details about the panels each speaker will be on, and click here to buy tickets. We hope to see you there!

Swetha Kaul

Posted Posted in Testing Round Table

Swetha Kaul currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer at Cannalysis, a state licensed ISO/IEC 17025 accredited cannabis testing laboratory that seeks to empower customers through technology integrations, big data analytics and access to information.

Prior to joining Cannalysis, Swetha worked at Allergan where she was responsible for drug development efforts including analytical method development, formulation research, stability studies, new process development, and optimization of processes.

Swetha brings more than a decade of technical and leadership experience from academia and the pharmaceutical industry to the emerging field of cannabis testing. Her experience working in the highly regulated pharmaceutical industry provides valuable insight into the rigorous scientific practices required for compliance. Her experience presenting scientific concepts and data to various audiences has proven to be a valuable tool in the cannabis industry. She has authored several white papers and has been on numerous panels discussing scientific methods and regulations relating to laboratory testing within the industry. As a member of the CCIA Board of Directors and Chair of the Quality Control Committee, Swetha is committed to educating the general public about the science behind testing procedures and legitimizing the cannabis industry by setting a high bar for scientific integrity.   

Aaron Riley

Posted Posted in Machines

Aaron Riley is the President of CannaSafe, the first ISO accredited cannabis lab in the world. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree & M.B.A. from Jacksonville University, where he earned his way through college on a football scholarship. A seasoned entrepreneur who runs a luxury car dealership in FL, he brought his business acumen to the cannabis industry, taking over as President of CannaSafe in late 2016.

Under Aaron’s leadership, CannaSafe recently received California Testing Facility of the Year from Dope magazine. Licensed in California and headquartered in Los Angeles, CannaSafe has become the go-to lab for premier California cannabis brands. CannaSafe has been featured in LA Weekly, Varney & Co. (Fox Business), The Doctors (CBS), and countless other media outlets.