The Origins, Growth and Investment Potential of the Cannabis and Hemp Industries
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The Origins, Growth and Investment Potential of the Cannabis and Hemp Industries

When: Thursday, January 23, 2020
6:00-8:30 pm
Where: The Conference Center
130 East 59th Street
Room 710
New York, New York  10022
United States
Contact: Administrator

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The Origins, Growth and Investment Potential of the Cannabis and Hemp Industries

As a wave of interest and legalization of Medicinal, Industrial and Recreational Marijuana sweeps the nation, the industry is still diverse, complicated, and in need of professionalization. How can businesses and investors alike navigate the patchwork of laws and uses? Regulators, entrepreneurs and industry leaders will discuss the emerging and changing landscape of the cannabis and hemp industries with a focus on New York state regulation and revenue potential.


Axel Bernabe, Assistant Counsel for Health to NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo

June Chin, Physician, MedLeafRx

Smrita Choubey, (CBS ’15), Founder & CEO, Veda Warrior

Eric Schwesinger, ’02, Founding Partner, Gloria Maris LLC and Gloria Maris Trading LLC

(Moderator) Jeremy Kagan, ’99, Managing Director, the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School

Thursday, January 23, 2020

6:00 - 8:30 (registration and networking 6:00-6:45; panel and Q&A 6:45-8:00; additional networking after the session concludes)

Location: The Conference Center, Room 710; 130 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022 (west of Lexington Ave.)

$35 for CBSACNY Members; $60 for non-members

SPECIAL OFFER:  Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York offers ONE FREE EVENT (including this one) for new members who sign up for the first time ($85 or more). Click here to join now and then contact us to receive your promotional code before you register for the event of your choice (sports events, holiday parties and mixers are excluded.)


Axel Bernabe, Assistant Counsel for Health to NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo
As Assistant Counsel for Health to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Axel oversees all legal and policy development in the health portfolio, and provides strategic counsel to the operations, press, and budget teams in the Executive Chamber and at the State Department of Health. Axel also manages the development and implementation of all medical, hemp, and adult-use cannabis policy in the State. Over the past four years he has directed and supervised the expansion of the medical cannabis program and the launch of the State's hemp program. He is also driving the administration's proposed Cannabis Act that would comprehensively regulate all segments of the cannabis economy through a newly created Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). Prior to joining the Cuomo administration, Axel was a partner at Constantine Cannon where he was a nationally recognized antitrust legal expert focused on healthcare markets. He has an LLB (JD) from McGill University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, and BA in Political Science from the University of Ottawa.

June Chin, Physician, MedLeafRx
MarFor over a decade, Dr. June Chin lived and practiced medicine in California, a state with legalized medical cannabis since 1996. In California, their integrative osteopathic clinic focused on children with intractable epilepsy, cancer, and autism. She has seen firsthand just how much medical cannabis can benefit patients. A Bronx native, who moved back to New York several years ago, Dr. Chin is now registered with the New York State Medical Cannabis Program. She is currently treating both children and adults in New York. Dr. Chin is a chronic pain survivor. Doctors suggested opiate pain medications, steroids, epidurals, and ultimately surgery to fuse the spine. As a result of her experience, Dr. Chin decided to dedicate her medical career in finding effective, integrative and holistic approaches to patient care. Dr. Chin is a frequent keynote speaker on the science and medicine of cannabis and has spoken at hospitals, conferences, and events all over the world. She holds a medical degree from Touro University in San Francisco and a BS from Cornell University. 

Smrita Choubey, (CBS ’15), Founder & CEO, Veda Warrior
Smrita Choubey is the Founder & CEO of Veda Warrior, a digital health platform providing personalized cannabis products inspired by the 5,000 year old medical science of Ayurveda. Smrita has nearly a decade of experience in financial services. She started her career in healthcare investment banking at J.P. Morgan in New York, where she gained a deep understanding of the economics of American hospitals and health systems. She also worked at American Express in Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Finance in the New York and London offices. After years of living life as a stressed out New Yorker, she founded Veda Warrior to create healthy, plant-based health solutions for herself and others. As an Indian American, Smrita was raised with the ancient sciences of yoga and Ayurveda and is passionate about reviving the ancient history of cannabis, which has been used in medicine for thousands of years, as well as other plant medicines found throughout the planet. Smrita studied economics at The University of Chicago and got her MBA from Columbia Business School.

Eric Schwesinger, (CBS ’02), Founding Partner, Gloria Maris LLC and Gloria Maris Trading LLC
Eric Schwesinger is the Founder and Owner of Gloria Maris LLC established in 2009, an investment, trading and advisory firm. Gloria Maris LLC is an active investor in private companies and has several investments in agriculture, technology, and energy-related assets. Gloria Maris LLC holds licenses to grow and process industrial hemp in New York State. Previously, Eric was a partner at MBF Trading, LLC where he oversaw commodity trading operations and portfolio management, and designed hedging plans for large commodity corporations in the energy space. As a member firm of the NYMEX, Mr. Schwesinger pioneered commodity markets’ move from open-outcry to electronic trading, and helped develop hedging and margining plans for newly developed cleared swaps from participant and regulatory perspectives. Prior to the commodity markets, Eric worked on successful roll-ups of private companies in both the health care and the hospitality industry. Eric received his MBA from Columbia University with a specialization in Financial Engineering and holds a BA in Economics and Political Science from Emory University. Gloria Maris LLC is a licensed industrial hemp grower and processor in the State of New York with offices in downtown New York City, farming sites in Amenia, New York, and an industrial hemp processing facility opening in Albany, New York in 2020. Gloria Maris Trading LLC is a commodities trading firm specializing in industrial hemp, energy, and environmental trading.

(Moderator) Jeremy Kagan, (CBS ’99), Managing Director, the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at CBS
As Managing Director of the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School, Professor Kagan oversees the entrepreneurial curriculum and programming at Columbia Business School, the multi-million dollar Lang Investment Fund, and the Columbia Startup Lab. He previously founded, a SaaS marketing technology company helping small businesses manage search marketing (SEM) and digital advertising. Prior to CBS, he held executive positions at Sony Music Entertainment in Global Digital Business; at Publicis Modem, as co-head of Strategy and Innovation lead; and was a strategy consultant at IBM and Dean & Company. He has been a Professor at Columbia Business School’s Marketing Dept. for MBA, EMBA and Executive Education programs, teaching coursework in the areas of Digital Marketing, Strategy and Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. His textbook "Digital Marketing: Strategy & Tactics" published by the Wessex Press was released in 2018.  He received his MBA from Columbia University as well as a dual BA in International Relations and BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania/The Wharton School.



Special thanks to Mark Gazdik '00, Brad Jobling '95, and Eric Schwesinger '02 for planning and coordinating this program.