The Most Influential People in Cannabis Today

Written by

Mell Green

Mell is a cannabis connoisseur who has been published in nearly 50 online publications surrounding cannabis, including Cannabis Industry Association, Analytical Cannabis, Terpenes and Testing Magazine, Plant People, Byrdie, and...

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Influential people in cannabis
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Right now, the world of cannabis is flourishing more than ever. From incredible dispensaries to life-changing organizations and companies that create your favorite product, some remarkable individuals are behind the success of this industry. That’s why we’re celebrating some of the most influential people in cannabis. 

These innovative trailblazers have paved the way for significant change in the world of cannabis, creating an impact that’s more than worth discussing. From cultivators to business owners and your favorite cannabis doctors, we’ve listed fifty of the most influential, impactful people in cannabis today.

Cannabist Activists

Without cannabis activists, legalization would be years behind where we are today. The current wave of marijuana acceptance can largely be attributed to these incredible, outspoken people. 

Jodie Emery

Jodie Emery was, perhaps, one of the most well-known, influential cannabis activists of the past few decades. Known as the Princess of Pot, she continually made headlines as she fought for legalization, cannabis justice, and expungement of cannabis-related crimes as her husband was jailed for the same plant. Today, after years and years of continual advocacy, battles, and legalities, Emery has stepped out of the limelight. Though she’s not particularly happy with where legalization is today, she has reassured us all that she’s not done talking about cannabis. 

Lizzy Jeff

Activist, spiritualist, and plant-based healer Lizzy Jeff is dedicated to bringing a blend of sensuality, fashion, and broader culture to the cannabis scene. Through her lifestyle brand, Zen & Kush, Lizzy Jeff brings cannabis-based events and workshops to her communities, empowering people from all corners of the world to come together through the beauty of plant-based living. 

Dennis Peron

Dennis Peron is known, quite literally, as the “father of medical marijuana.” Peron was the co-author behind the all-important prop 215: the United States’ first medical marijuana proposal. Even though Peron has since passed away, his presence is remembered daily as more and more states continue to pass similar measures. Without Peron, who knows when someone would have written a proposal like 215. He helped make 1996 the year that the US started to change its mind about medical cannabis.

Dennis Peron smoking marijuana with Jack Herer
Dennis Peron (right) with Jack Herer. Andy Kuno/Associated Press

Cannabis Businesses

Cannabis business owners and their creative, innovative ideas have helped further the cannabis scene more than we have ever thought possible. These business owners have impacted the world of weed and consumerism in remarkably positive ways. 

Justin Hartfield

Undoubtedly, if you’re a part of the cannabis community, you’ve turned to Weedmaps to help you find the right dispensary or right strain in your area. Well, you can thank Justin Hartfield for this, as he was the mastermind behind this powerhouse of a cannabis company. With the ability to buy weed online, find all the shops in your area, or even search for one specific product, Weedmaps has brought the cannabis community closer than ever. Thanks, Hartfield.

Scott Coffman

Scott Coffman is the man behind the powerhouse CBD brand cbdMD. cbdMD has grown to be one of the biggest, most popular CBD brands in the United States, selling thousands of products a week. Coffman has over 25 years of business experience, making cbdMD not his first run. However, it is easily one of his most successful, and it’s a brand that’s continuing to grow still today— years after inception. 

The Stanley Brothers

Created by six brothers, the Charlotte’s Web CBD brand has become more famous than anybody could have predicted. The Stanley Brothers first crafted a high CBD oil—called Charlotte’s Web—for a young girl named Charlotte Figi who was suffering severely from her incurable form of epilepsy. Miraculously, this CBD oil reduced the little girl’s seizures down from hundreds a week to just a handful every month. Now, the brothers have grown the brand to an extensive length, selling far more than just their one CBD oil. Today, they aim to help others the same way they helped little Charlotte Figi.

The Stanley Brothers of Charlotte's Web CBD
The Stanley Brothers. Photo/Benjamin Rasmussen (NYT)


Growing cannabis isn’t easy. In fact, most people likely couldn’t do it properly if they tried. That’s exactly why we rely on cannabis cultivation experts to deliver us the mouth-watering, potent products we want. Without these cultivators, the cannabis scene would be obsolete. 

Corey Barnette

Even though he’s been in the cannabis industry since 2008, Corey Barnette stays one of the only Black cannabis cultivators in the US. Despite being a part of a somewhat lonely market, Barnette has found ways to thrive, now being the owner and operator of District Growers in Washington, DC. District Growers is a 5,000-ft cannabis garden where Barnette cultivates up to 1,000 plants at once. As a man who has fought tooth and nail to join an industry that’s seemingly worked against him for decades, people like Barnette are the change and diversity that the cannabis industry so desperately needs and deserves. 

Cyril Guthridge

Cyril Guthridge takes cannabis cultivation to a whole new level. While many people are openly concerned or passionate about terroir regarding wine and grape cultivation, it isn’t often discussed with cannabis. That’s where Guthridge comes in. Guthridge is the founder of Waterdog Herb Farms, a cannabis farm that’s all about sustainability and healthy utilization of the terroir. With people like Guthridge, cannabis cultivation becomes way more than just growing a few weed plants. 

John Chandler

Quite an expert on the field of cannabis cultivation, Executive Vice President for Cultivation Technologies at Urban-gro, John Chandler knows a thing or two about well-grown bud. One of Chandler’s primary responsibilities is overseeing other large-scale cannabis cultivators, helping them in terms of nutrients, water, lighting, and all things cultivation. 

Josh Kelsch

Josh Kelsch is the happy owner of Pure Joy Family Farm, a small family-owned farm found in the cozy town of Cheney, Washington. Kelsch has mastered the art of growing cannabis indoors, and he uses a unique soil/organic cocoa blend that his customers love. Even though he didn’t grow up working with these plants or as a CEO of a genetic company, Kelsch has worked his way up flawlessly, making quite an impact on the world of small cannabis business owners. 

Nancy Do

Nancy Do and her story are all about perseverance. As a Vietnamese American who fled from her homeland to San Jose, California, Do fought most of her life to feel comfortable and represented. Now, she is the founder of Endo Industries: a cannabis company focused on perfecting plant genetics and helping growers use only the best, most modern techniques possible. Despite all of the obstacles that Do has had to jump through, she stays an influential, remarkable figure in an industry full of privilege. 

Pieter Summs

COO of Otis Gardens, Pieter Summs is a part of a world-class cannabis company. Otis Gardens specializes in cultivating indoor-grown top-tier flower, providing customers with some of Oregon’s highest-quality cannabis options. Summs’ brand has now partnered with almost 50 different dispensaries across the state, and it’s clear that they’re not slowing down any time soon. The next time you visit Oregon, there’s a good chance you’ll be trying some of Summs’ flower. 

Sierra McDonald

Sierra McDonald dove headfirst into the cannabis growing industry, quickly learning that, with such a new industry, she wasn’t following standards: she was setting them. Soon, McDonald became a grower for The Giving Tree Wellness Center, a dispensary found in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. Now, McDonald continues to learn more about this lucrative industry, all while educating others, too. 

Dispensary Owners

Behind your favorite local dispensary are hardworking dispensary owners. These owners ensure that their shops not only sell high-quality, safe products, but a good dispensary owner hires educated, friendly budtenders and people willing to help and grow the industry. That’s exactly what these incredible dispensary owners did. 

Adam Bierman

Previous co-founder of MedMen, one of the country’s leading line of dispensaries, Adam Bierman has taken the world of cannabis by storm throughout this past decade. Though no longer the head of MedMen, Bierman’s efforts and impact stretched all across the medical marijuana industry, quickly becoming one of North America’s leading cannabis entrepreneurs. What’s next for Bierman? We’ll just have to wait and find out. 

Christine De La Rosa

Back in 2015, Christine De La Rosa was suffering from complications due to her undiagnosed lupus. After being on pill after pill and not finding any relief, De La Rosa decided to turn to cannabis, and she’s never turned back since. Now, De La Rosa has left her previous job in the tech world to build a multi-state dispensary called The People’s Dispensary. Every day, Christine De La Rosa focuses on providing everyday people with the relief and comfort that cannabis brought her. 

Edible Experts

Crafting a potent, delicious edible is tough. Thankfully, these edible experts have absolutely perfected the art of crafting a good cannabis edible, taking infused treats to a whole new level. With these chefs, the days of regular old pot brownies are over.

Chef Luke Reyes

After winning Food Network’s Chopped and truly getting his name out there, Chef Luke Reyes decided to branch out into the cannabis culinary industry. Thus, he and his partners created La Hoja: a low-dose cannabis catering service that brings marijuana-infused foods to private parties and events. Today, Chef Luke Reyes is one of the most sought-after chefs in LA because of his high-end cannabis creations (and incredible cooking skills, of course).

Chef Maverick

Well-known throughout the LA area, Chef Maverick has been whipping up cannabis-infused snacks and sauces for the past few years. Chef Maverick discovered her love for cooking just a few years back, but she dove headfirst and has thrived since. Now, she is shifting focus to carefully dosed cannabis creations, selling these tasty adult treats to California residents who are lucky enough to purchase from Chef Maverick. 

Chef Monica Lo

Chef Monica Lo crafted her company, Sous Weed, to use cannabis for its nutritional value and not just its psychoactive properties. Chef Monica Lo knows firsthand the benefits that a superfood like hemp can bring to a meal, and her company is dedicated to learning about these new cooking techniques and infusions. This cannabis chef plays off unique Taiwanese-American flavors, bringing flavor profiles that many other chefs don’t dare to attempt.

Chris Sayegh

Chris Sayegh is the creator of The Herbal Chef, a cannabis culinary platform that helps erase the negative stigmas that cannabis-infused foods have brought in the past. Sayegh works hard to normalize herbal foods, teaming up with some of the culinary field’s leading professionals to craft educational spaces and offer various personal services like private chefs. 

Holden Jagger

Holden Jagger is the mastermind behind Altered Plates: a culinary cannabis company all about fine-dining and fine cannabis strains. Jagger has been cooking with cannabis for years, perfecting his flavors, blends, and unique infused meals. As someone who considers cannabis an ingredient more than anything, Jagger is a master at blending some top-shelf bud right into your favorite fine-dining meals. 

Chef Andrea Drummer

Chef Andrea Drummer is the chef and co-owner of the Original Cannabis Cafe, the country’s first fine-dining restaurant to sell cannabis-infused foods. Located in West Hollywood, this marijuana cafe shows everyday customers what life can look like with proper cannabis legalization and regulation, normalizing cannabis consumption more than most. Chef Andrea Drummer is a pioneer within the cannabis and hospitality industry, and, now, even more talented cooks and bakers are following suit. 


Making cannabis concentrates and extracts is an extremely tricky, often dangerous process that can only be performed by the most experienced professionals. These talented extractors have changed the cannabis industry entirely, crafting pure, potent products that everyday people can’t even (and shouldn’t) attempt. 

Dani Green

Dani Green is an executive assistant at Harborside Health Center, a famous California cannabis company. For years, she has been dedicated to spreading cannabis education, particularly surrounding dabbing and all things concentrates. Green even threw herself a marijuana-themed wedding that made headlines for its cannabis-infused everything.

Lauren Salgado

Lauren Salgado is the mastermind behind both Johnny Apple CBD and Motherload Extracts. These great cannabis companies have thrived under Salgado’s leadership and knowledge, particularly surrounding concentrates and extraction processes. Still working with her brands today, Salgado stays influencing people everywhere on her Instagram. 

Mark Williams 

Founder and co-owner of the vaporizer company FireFly, Mark Williams has been focused on crafting the world’s best vapes since 2012. And, truthfully, he has. William’s brand was an immediate success, garnering attention from some of the most significant cannabis brands the industry has seen yet. Still today, Williams and his partner Sasha Robinson continue to perfect and shape the cannabis vaporizer market, trailblazing all the way.

Robert Ferguson

Behind the genius of Jetty Extracts is Robert Ferguson. For the past seven years, Ferguson has worked strenuously to bring the beauty of live resin concentrates to everyday people. But, more than just regular live resin, Ferguson’s products are unrefined, made without solvents to provide the purest, cleanest experience possible. For those looking to embrace their cannabis wholly, Ferguson’s brand is the one for you.

Mitch Earleywine

Professor Mitch Earleywine is a member of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. This non-profit organization works tirelessly to help amend the current cannabis laws the United States has in place, both for recreational and medical forms of the plant. Earleywine has been a long advocate for cannabis reform, working with the plant and its medicinal value for years. 

Cannabis Law

Cannabis legalization has a rocky history in the United States, but it is slowly shifting in terms of acceptance. While many law professionals were wary about standing in support of marijuana legalization, there have been a brave handful that have not only been outspoken about the plant, but have helped mold the community into a better, safer space, too. 

Cat Packer

Back in 2017, Cat Packer became California’s first executive director of the Department of Cannabis Regulation. This new role allows Packer to oversee cannabis rules and regulations in the state, ensuring they’re adequately regulated and correctly followed. She is a figure who has long advocated for cannabis equality and industry diversity. As a Black woman herself, her role within the cannabis sphere is crucial regarding inclusivity and diversification.

Cat Packer
Cat Packer at the LA Department of Cannabis Regulations. Photo/LA Times

Lori Ajax

In 2020, Lori Ajax announced that she was stepping down from overseeing California’s Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation after an impressive five-year run. Ajax was California’s first cannabis czar, and she watched history unfold during her time on the board. For both medical and recreational dispensaries across the state, Ajax was a friendly, helpful figure that did what she could to ensure these businesses were well-taken care of. No matter what her role, Ajax was always around to support the Californian cannabis community. Now, it’s time for her to focus on herself. 

Product Makers

The cannabis market is full of diverse products, with dispensary shelves being restocked daily with new brands. Thanks to product makers like the ones we’re about to talk about, us cannabis consumers are able to enjoy cannabis in a more customized, individualized way. Because of these brands, the cannabis industry is no longer limited to just a few products and a few different strains.

Anja Charbonneau

Anja Charbonneau is the creative genius behind Broccoli magazine: a magazine created by women about the beauty of cannabis and cannabis culture. Charbonneau created Broccoli to help readers read about cannabis in a new way. Instead of the traditional stoner-esque we’re all used to, Charbonneau’s vision tackles cannabis from a more modern, fashion-based perspective. This new look is exactly what the cannabis scene needs as it sheds its skin from its previous negative stigmas and continues to progress. 

Kimberly Dillon

Former CMO of cannabis mega-company Papa & Barkley, Kimberly Dillon is now shifting her focus to a brand-new CBD brand, totally specializing in self-care, both inside and out. Even though she works in the cannabis sphere, Dillon is not afraid to admit that it is challenging, often grueling. That’s why she’s switched focus to working on self-care through cannabinoids like CBD, helping other women like her avoid burning out entirely.

Bruce Linton

Since his years in the cannabis industry, Bruce Linton has accomplished some incredible feats. As the founder and former CEO of Canopy Growth, one of the world’s biggest cannabis corporations in North America, Linton has been in charge of some of the most influential cannabis brands, decisions, and sales on the continent. Though he may no longer be with Canopy Growth, he continues to work within the cannabis industry.

Cole Cacciavillani and John Cervini

Cole Cacciavillani and John Cervini are two of the most influential cannabis businessmen in Canada. The two founded the company Aphria, which is a cannabis brand that cultivates high-quality marijuana for affordable costs. This allows more shops to purchase from this brand, providing a more comprehensive range of products and product prices for Canada’s residents. Today, Aphria has locations in Canada, and the United States (Florida and Arizona), and, likely, their presence will only spread further. 

Kristi Palmer 

If you fell in love with any cannabis edibles in 2020, they probably came from the Kiva Confections brand. Co-founded by Kristi Palmer, this edibles company has completely transformed the way it means to consume cannabis. Palmer has perfected the blend of potency and flavor, crafting mouth-watering edibles that are sure to leave you couch-locked. Great for any type of cannabis consumer, Palmer’s brand will be talked about for years.

Cannabis Celebrities

While these celebrities are known by the public for their music, movies, or fighting careers, we know them for something even better: their cannabis careers. These big-name celebrities aren’t afraid to advocate for the green, spreading the word that marijuana simply isn’t the demonized plant it once was. 


Everybody knows Jay-Z for some reason or another, whether it is his rap career, his marriage to Beyonce, or even his cannabis business. Most recently, however, Jay-Z has started speaking out about the racial imbalances in the cannabis sphere. He’s vowed to help minority-owned cannabis companies to thrive this year, creating a $10 million startup fund for more POC to move into the industry they’ve long been shut out from. Now, Jay-Z’s impact on the cannabis community is so much more than it’s ever been, and it’s more important than ever. 

Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen may be one of the country’s most well-known canna-friendly celebrities. From his films to his personal life, Seth Rogen has made it clear that cannabis is a huge aspect of his identity. Recently, Rogen and his business partner decided to take it a step further and craft their own Canadian cannabis company. Their brand, Houseplant, was only available in Canada up until early 2021, when the actor announced it would be available in California dispensaries, too. With Rogen’s following, this brand is sure to have an insane influence over the US cannabis market now, as well.

Seth Rogan
Seth Rogan at Houseplant farm. Photo/Fast Company

Snoop Dogg

Of course, we can’t talk about influential people in cannabis without talking about Snoop Dogg. Snoop has been advocating for cannabis legalization for years, always being at the forefront of the conversation and education. This famous rapper has a huge following, allowing his advocacy to reach much further than everyday people. From cannabis brands to a line of bongs and outspoken support, Snoop’s done it all for the world of weed.

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson has been open about his cannabis use, specifically how he benefits from CBD, for the past few years, even going so far as to start his cannabis brands. Currently, Tyson has a multi-million dollar cannabis resort project in the works; just as it sounds, this resort is all about rest and relaxation alongside some high-quality cannabis flower. Needless to say, stoners everywhere cannot wait for Tyson’s canna-resort.

Cannabis Scientists

Just a few decades ago, cannabis science practically didn’t exist. Today, it’s a thriving scientific field that more and more people are getting into every day. Because of these progressive and open-minded scientists and researchers, we now know so much more about cannabis and its complexities. 

Constance Finley

Even before her start in the cannabis industry, Constance Finley was making positive impacts in every which way. Unfortunately, Finley experienced chronic pain daily, eventually leading her to turn to prescription drugs to find relief; however, these exact drugs deteriorated the woman. Then, she turned to cannabis, and she’s never looked back. Since then, Finley started Constance Therapeutics, a medical company that works directly with patients and their doctors to help provide the right cannabis extract treatment. Finley and her work demonstrate what the future of medical marijuana could look like– and it looks incredible.

Dr. Alex Capano

Dr. Alex Capano is the world’s first weed doctor. That’s right: Capano is the first person we’ve seen yet to earn a Ph.D. in cannabinoid studies. Now, she’s leading the industry, helping to demonstrate the apparent relationship between cannabis’ benefits and the medical field. As a plant that so many of us know very little about, people like Dr. Capano and her work is integral in helping the community progress and continue to help those who need it most through all-natural, non-traditional therapies.

Dr. Alex Capano
Dr. Alex Capano

Dr. Chanda Macias 

Dr. Chanda Macias is one of the most influential, impactful people the cannabis industry has seen in decades. Dr. Macias is an MBA, focusing her career for the past 15 years on educating those around her about cannabis, hemp, as well as equality and reform. Dr. Macias works directly with women and minorities in the industry, fighting for better representation and research. The woman is also the founder of National Holistic Healing Center,  a medical dispensary in Washington DC that helps patients find the perfect cannabis products for their healing journeys. 

Dr. Dina

Nicknamed the “Queen of Marijuana” and called Dr. Dina because of Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dina has made an impression on the Californian cannabis community. Co-owner of Alternative Herbal Health Services, or AHHS, Dr. Dina is credited with helping Snoop himself receive his medical marijuana card in CA. As she stays working for AHHS and spreading awareness about the benefits of weed, the Queen of Marijuana continues to influence the world of cannabis today.

Dr. Joshua Kaplan

A senior fellow from the University of Washington and accredited neuroscientist, Dr. Joshua Kaplan’s main focus surrounds cannabis, its effects, and the endocannabinoid system. For years, he has dedicated his practice to further understanding the influence medicinal cannabis has on the body, hoping to find answers to some of the industry’s most burning questions. 

Dr. Sue Sisley 

An Arizona-based doctor, Dr. Sue Sisley has been a cannabis advocate and activist for years, consistently fighting for proper medical cannabis research and clinical trials. Despite the consistent obstacles that Dr. Sisley has faced, she continues to advocate for reform and patient rights, an integral factor in the world of medical marijuana. People like Dr. Sisley are why the industry can continue moving forward with the right research and objective scientific evidence. 

Eloise Theisen, RN, MSN

When it comes to treatments using medical cannabis, few medical professionals have more experience than Dr. Eloise Theisen. Theisen is known as one of the first people to bring the idea of a clinical dosing regimen into the cannabis community. She’s treated thousands of patients using cannabis. Now, Theisen is the American Cannabis Nurses Association president, an organization focusing on spreading cannabis-based education to nurses across the US.

Jessica Peters

After Jessica Peters found herself plagued with serious menstrual pains and discomforts caused by her period, she knew a better solution had to be out there. Thus, Peters crafted Moxie Meds: a CBD company made by women, for women. Moxie aims to help women tackle even their most sensitive, intimate pains, providing relief that is tough to get from anything else. With influential people like Peters, everyday women can take their health back into their own hands.

Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN

President and co-founder of Patients Out of Time, Dr. Mary Lynn Mathre has been working within the cannabis industry for decades. Patients Out of Time is an organization dedicated to reversing the damage that marijuana prohibition has caused over the years. Mathre’s goal is to spread awareness and education about medical marijuana and the benefits it can so easily create. For 25 years, Mary Lynn Mathre has been at the forefront of cannabis advocacy, and she shows no sign of slowing down. 

Perry Solomon, MD

As the Chief Medical Officer of HelloMD, Dr. Perry Solomon holds quite an influential role for cannabis consumers in New York and California. HelloMD is a unique company that works to match potential medical marijuana patients with the right doctors in hopes of receiving their MMJ cards. In general, Solomon hopes to bring general cannabis education to both the public and the mainstream medical community. This kind of joining could be transformative for the world of medical cannabis, and Solomon is continuing to fight for it.

Sandra Guynes, RN, MSN

Dr. Sandra Guynes is a woman who has long advocated for cannabis and cannabis justice. Her work is focused on women and nurses of color looking to discover the benefits of medical marijuana. As the founder of Cannabis Nurses of Color, Guynes advocates for diversity and equality within the cannabis sphere, which has long been ignored. Along with working for the CNOC, Guynes also is a part of the Cannabis Nurses Network, American Cannabis Nurses Association, and the Minority Cannabis Business Association.

Raphael Mechoulam

Known as the “father of cannabis”, a list wouldn’t be complete without this world renowned chemist and researcher and genius responsible for discovering the endocannabinoid system. In 1964, Dr. Mechoulam was the first to delve into the world of cutting edge research as the first to ever isolate THC. What’s even more? He is famed for his discovery of the endocannabinoid system and an effect gaining much traction — the entourage effect. Yet at age 90, he stands to continue revolutionizing cannabis research and the industry as a whole.

Cannabis Influencers

We all know that word spreads quickly on the internet. And, that’s exactly what influencers dedicate to doing every day. Cannabis influencers help to promote small canna-businesses and unknown products, single handedly growing the marijuana community. 

Joel Hradecky

It’s hard to talk about influential people in cannabis without talking about actual influencers like Joel Hradecky. Better known as CustomGrow420 on YouTube, this man dedicates his time to reviewing cannabis products and giving genuine responses for his over a million viewers to see. Indeed, his ability to promote products and answer 420-related questions significantly impacts cannabis smokers.