Navigating the New Cannabis Landscape: The New Culture of Cannabis Series, Part 2

Harvard Business School

Ross Business School

Chicago Booth Alumni Club of Chicago

June 3, 2020: 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Navigating the New Cannabis Landscape


Online Webinar
Chicago, Illinois

Event Details

In this session, we'll discuss opportunities and challenges working in the Cannabis and CBD industry, how the industry has changed in recent months, and perspectives on the future of the industry.

You can submit questions during registration and during the webinar.


No Charge


Register Online

Zoom information will be provided after registration is complete.

Deadline: 6/3/2020

Speaker Profiles

Charles Wu (Speaker) '01
CEO NEXEM and Chief Revenue Officer of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, NEXEM

NEXEM is a global manufacturer, direct seller and solution provider of cultivation technology solutions to indoor grow facilities and greenhouse cultivators across North America.
Charles is an executive, entrepreneur and investor that specializes in identifying and executing explosive growth strategies. He has experience in the cannabis, vertical farming, direct response, media, wireless telecommunications, finTech and AdTech space. While still in college, he organically bootstrapped ConVergence into a $20 million technology infrastructure company that achieved over 1,000% revenue growth over a three year period was recognized as one of the fastest growing privately held companies by INC Magazine in 2007. In 2008, he launched IPpay, a payment technology platform and in less than 3 years, organically grew the business to $1 Billion in payment processing volume. In 2011, he obtained over $50 million in financing through the US Department of Agriculture and negotiated the first non-traditional competitive-carrier spectrum lease and 4G LTE roaming agreement with Verizon to build-out underserved markets throughout Illinois and Indiana.
Also, in 2011, Charles started his angel investing career by becoming one of the founding investors of PodPonics, a vertical farming technology company. In late 2015, Charles became involved in transitioning PodPonics from a CPG-brand with a technological advantage into a tech enabled vertical farming solution provider. After the successful deployment of this technology in the middle east and a 9 month collaboration between PodPonics and EarthBound Farms, the largest North American grower and processor of Organic Packaged Salad Mix,
Charles launched Nexem in 2016 to assist in adapting and commercializing this technology for indoor cannabis cultivation. Since then, the 25 members of the Nexem team have become industry leaders in the design, consulting, build and implementation of High Tech Indoor Cannabis Cultivation Facilities across North America.
In addition to providing "best-in-class" technology for Cannabis cultivators, Nexem "touches the plant" by operating a 40-acre outdoor hemp facility in Marseilles IL, a 3,000 square foot hemp genetics & breeding facility in Chicago and Nexem has currently entered into joint ventures with 3 different publicly traded MSOs to acquire social equity licenses in limited license states.

Marcus Naramore (Speaker)
Director of Business Development & Marketing, LeafWerx

Marcus works with the Edgemont Group in the Washington state I-502 recreational cannabis market. Edgemont Group delivers a suite of cannabis oil and vapor offerings through its Leafwerx and Full Spec brands through a single-source production methodology. This single-source methodology brings cultivation, extraction, and product formulation together in an integrated in-house process that focuses on quality, cleanliness, and consistency from soil to oil. Within Edgemont Group, Marcus has built a sales team and sales process, established strong brand positioning, driven product development, and navigated a uniquely competitive marketplace in a highly regulated environment. Edgemont Group's brands have grown into cornerstone offerings in Washington state, and are positioned to expand to multi-state offerings in coming years. Prior to his work with Edgemont Group, Marcus has worked as a Business Development Executive for Infosys and as an educator within the Teach For America program.
Marcus is joined in the conference by Leo Matz, who works as the Chief Operating Officer at Edgemont Group.
Marcus holds a Masters of Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science from John Brown University.

John A. Leja (Speaker)
Founder, CEO, and Board Member, iVIK Holdings, Ltd.

John A. Leja, is the Founder, CEO and Board Member of iVIK Holdings Ltd, a Canadian, multi-national company positioned across the emerging cannabis value chain. Its holdings include the NuSierra (Colombia), Verde (Canada) and Aruma Labs (Australia) companies and the Relevium™ and Nuelle™ brands. iVIK companies are engaged in cultivation, extraction, processing, R&D formulation and high-efficiency product manufacturing in North America and LatAm with strategic relationships in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, and U.S. John is also a co-founder and board member of American Fiber, a U.S. holding company with various, vertically integrated U.S. cannabis assets.
John's experience with medical cannabis began in 2013 when he co-founded PharmaCannis, a multi-state, fully-vertical, medical cannabis company. As co-CEO and COO, John led operations and strategic direction at PharmaCannis with full responsibility for bottom-line results. He was responsible for developing and implementing the company's mission, vision, strategy, planning and structure, while raising over US$45 million in capital.

Prior to founding PharmaCannis, John was an attorney with over 16 years of experience, and the Vice Chair of the Intellectual Property and Technology Department at Polsinelli PC, an Am Law 100 law firm. He was responsible for assisting with leadership of a 30+ attorney department focused on advising and representing corporations and individuals in sophisticated intellectual property (trade secret, patent, copyright and trademark) matters. He also managed complex commercial matters (contracts, products, class actions and business torts) throughout the country.

John received a B.S. from Purdue University and his J.D. from Cornell Law School.

Greg Fodell (Speaker)
Finance and Business Devolpment, PharmaCann LLC

Greg Fodell's primary roles include leading new business development, M&A, venture investments, financial and market analysis, and capital raising initiatives at PharmaCann. The company's mission is to cultivate and deliver medical cannabis to registered patients in accordance with the highest standards for quality of product, services, patient safety and public safety with the purpose of alleviating symptoms of debilitating health conditions that warrant the administration of medical cannabis.


Nicole Yelsey, '12