The emergence of the cannabis industry has attracted professionals from a variety of industries. We have seen professionals with credible backgrounds transition into the cannabis industry from positons such as former Governor, Senior Executive of a NASDAQ company, University president, and other roles. We are going to highlight three well-known and well respected professionals that transitioned into the cannabis industry over the last year.
Joe Crowley – President of Sierra Wellness Connection (private company)
The most recent professional to transition in the cannabis industry is the former University of Nevada-Reno president Joe Crowley. Crowley is now the president of Sierra Wellness Connection, one of two companies that were awarded Reno’s first business licenses to cultivate medical marijuana.
Sierra Wellness Connection will also be operating a dispensary in the city of Reno, Crowley said.
Crowley became interested in medical marijuana as his older brother was dying of multiple sclerosis. Crowley said that, “to watch what happened to him was agony for me.” Crowley’s sister also suffered from debilitating illnesses and she underwent 13 surgeries. His sister used medical marijuana as a pain reliever and Crowley said that no other pain reliever worked as well as marijuana for her.
Gary Johnson- CEO and President of Cannabis Sativa (CBDS)
Cannabis Sativa Inc. (CBDS) made a splash when they announced that Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor and U.S. Libertarian presidential candidate, would be taking over as the company’s CEO and president.
Johnson took over Cannabis Sativa with the goal of turning the company into a major marijuana business. Johnson is betting on this emerging industry and believes that the federal government will have to get on board as more states continue to legalize marijuana. He expects that the federal government will eventually legalize recreational marijuana
“I generally believe this is changing the planet for the better,” said Johnson, who will be paid $1 a year and receive equity in the company. “It also is a bet on the future … We think we have the creme de la creme of marijuana products.”
“I think in 10 years, for the most part, the U.S. will legalize marijuana,” Johnson said. “And what the U.S. does, so does the world.”
Tom Bollich- CEO of Surna Inc. (SRNA)
In February 2014, Tom Bollich entered the cannabis industry and became Surna’s Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Bollich was a co-founder of Zynga and provides Surna a wealth of knowledge specific to startup companies.
Mr. Bollich has stated that he sees this as an opportunity to capture market share in an industry that is still in its infancy stage. He went on to discuss how this industry could rival and even surpass the growth seen in the Technology sector during the 90s.