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Cannabis investing and media: catch the top journalists in this capital markets-focused NYC event

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The next iteration of the famed Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference will gather industry insiders and investors from around the world once again on October 14 and 15 in New York City. Attendees can expect two full days of keynotes, panel discussions, fireside chats, networking, company presentations, celebrity appearances and an impressive lineup of the top journalists in the cannabis space.

Meet The Reporters

Attending journalists include:

Will Yakowicz

Reporter – Forbes

Will is a journalist who has reported from the West Bank, Moscow, and New York City. He started his career reporting for local newspapers like the Queens Ledger and The Brooklyn Paper in 2009, where he covered local crime, culture, and politics.

In 2010, he was sent to the West Bank to profile an American-born Jewish terrorist for Tablet Magazine. In 2011, Tablet sent him to Moscow to profile the Russian representative of WikiLeaks, known Holocaust-doubter Israel Shamir. Reporting and writing those features taught him how to drop into a foreign country, find and cultivate important sources, and report in dangerous situations.

In 2011, AOL hired him to run hyper-local news site Park Slope Patch. Out of eight sites across Brooklyn, his site drew in the most traffic and was the only one to turn a profit. Will reported and wrote most of the content on Park Slope Patch.

In 2013, Will joined Inc. magazine as a reporter and then staff writer. Editors Jim Ledbetter, Jon Fine, senior writer Christine Lagorio-Chafkin, and Will launched Inc.’s first podcast, Inc. Uncensored. His focus at Inc. is cyber security, legal cannabis, and tech.

In 2018, Will became a staff writer at Forbes covering cannabis, gambling, psychedelics and billionaires.

Debra Borchardt

CEO and Editor-in-Chief – Green Market Report

Debra Borchardt is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief at the cannabis financial news site Green Market Report. Prior to becoming an award-winning financial reporter, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns. She received her Masters Degree in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University. She worked for 8 years at TheStreet.com alongside Jim Cramer before dedicating herself to cannabis reporting.

Jeremy Berke

Senior Reporter – Insider

Jeremy is a senior reporter at Business Insider where he focuses on the emerging cannabis industry.

At BI, Jeremy has covered the bumpy rollout of Canada’s cannabis legalization, the boom in cannabis companies going public in 2018 (and the resulting fallout), multibillion-dollar mergers between cannabis companies and corporations from other industries, the ongoing health effects from vaporizers, the mislabeling of CBD products, and how the world’s largest financial, legal, and political institutions are reacting to and planning for legalization.

He has also gotten scoops and broken news on layoffs affecting cannabis companies, startups raising money, banks and law firms building specialized cannabis practices, tracked which companies and individuals are profiting from cannabis, and profiled some of the top executives, investors, and leaders in the industry.

He is a frequent speaker at cannabis industry conferences, moderating panels and conducting live interviews.

Yeji Lee

Reporter – Insider

Yeji Jesse Lee covers the cannabis and psychedelics industries at Insider, formerly known as Business Insider. She first began writing about cannabis when South Korean lawmakers passed an extremely limited medical program back in 2018. Since joining Insider in early 2020, she’s written about emerging trends, top executives, and funding rounds in the space. She began her coverage of the psychedelics industry in early 2020.

Jelani Gibson

Content Lead – NJ Cannabis Insider

Experienced communications professional in the writing and public relations industry skilled in photography, journalism, social media, and research.

JJ McKay

Founder & Publisher – The Fresh Toast

Combining vision, energy, leadership, and the ability to execute a plan with swift precision, JJ McKay has spent the past two decades helping to build and grow large-scale consumer-focused organizations, both regional and national in scope. McKay has worked with startups, media, and big-box organizations, quickly providing direction, goal setting, and customer engagement for clients such as Sunrun, Fisher Media, CTI Pharma and more. McKay has proven success with national scope consumer engagement programs with Costco, the American Heart Association and other companies.

Connected, strategic, and a natural leader who values hard work and a team-building environment, McKay thrives in the start-up arena, where he has vast experience in sales, connecting with the consumer, partnerships, budgets, client-building, and large-audience capture. With a unique, media-savvy perspective and a broad, global reach across multiple industries, McKay is able to parlay his vision to both business and editorial objectives. Long associated with the media business, McKay is knowledgeable in the engagement of the public for delivery of information, education and entertainment.

McKay currently serves on board of US Bank Washington and advisory boards of Looksharp, UTrip, and Toy Talk. Philanthropic commitments include board chairman of Mary’s place and is past board member of Seattle Opera, the Pilchuck School of Glass and more.

Javier Hasse

Managing Director – Benzinga Cannabis & CEO – El Planteo

Javier Hasse is a cannabis, hemp, CBD and psychedelics-focused reporter, currently serving as Managing Director for Benzinga Cannabis and CEO of Spanish-language news site El Planteo, a company he co-founded. His book, “Start Your Own Cannabis Business,” was published by Entrepreneur Media in 2018 and hit the #1 Best-Seller spot on Amazon.

He is also a senior contributor at Forbes.

As an award-winning reporter and editor, Javier’s had more than 5,000 unique articles in multiple languages published across numerous mass media outlets including CNN, Forbes, MSN, Chicago Tribune, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, Entrepreneur Magazine, MarketWatch, Rolling Stone, Houston Chronicle, The Street, Nasdaq, Morningstar, Playboy, Benzinga, MERRY JANE, High Times and many others.

Beyond cannabis, Javier is a published photographer and Billboard-charting rapper, featured on hip-hop albums that also included Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Inspectah Deck, Twista, Lil Windex, Riff Raff, Cyhi The Prynce, Yung Bleu, DJ Whoo Kid, Jonathan Hay, and others.

Sara Brittany Somerset

Multimedia Content Producer & Drug Policy Analyst – United Nations

Sara Brittany “SB” Somerset started the first cannabis news desk at the United Nations a decade ago and is currently an UN-based cannabis correspondent and global drug policy analyst. Her work appears in myriad outlets worldwide from The New York Times to Forbes. Her coverage has a penchant for social justice issues, equality cannabis, and psychedelics. As a foreign correspondent, Sara Brittany covered the unregulated cannabis trade during the blood diamond wars in Sierra Leone. In 2018, she received an award for Best Freelance Cannabis Writer. In 2020, SB was listed on Green Market Report’s 100 Most Important Women In Weed, and in 2021, as one of Muckrack’s Top 10 Cannabis Writers. She is currently a columnist for Cannabis & Tech Today and sits on the Advisory Board of Regennabis.

Spencer Israel

Executive Producer – Benzinga

Spencer is the producer of PreMarket Prep, doing all the behind-the-scenes work necessary to make sure the show runs smoothly. He also helps with Benzinga’s editorial and newsdesk operations. Spencer has a background in media, graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism in 2013. His previous stops include time at USA Today, Sports Illustrated, The Baltimore Sun, and the MLB Network, where he held various roles across multiple platforms in the media industry. Spencer moved to Detroit to join Benzinga in September 2015 after spending the first 24 years of his life on the east coast.

For the full journalist, speaker and investor lineup, check out this site.

More About The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is guaranteed to offer participants all the benefits of an immersive and robust in-person conference from any remote location. The conference will feature an interactive forum of live and on-demand presentations from top CEOs, investors and leaders in the cannabis space.

You’ll hear from some of the top names in the industry including:

  • Trulieve’s Kim Rivers
  • Harborside’s Matt Hawkins
  • Ascend Wellness’ Dan Neville and Abner Kurtin
  • Verano Holdings’ Aaron Miles
  • Sundial Growers’ Zach George
  • Cowen’s Vivien Azer
  • HousePlant’s Michael “Mikey” Mohr
  • Viridian Capital Advisors’ Scott Greiper
  • Akerna’s Jessica Billingsley
  • Wana Brands’ Nancy Whiteman
  • Urban Gro’s Bradley Nattrass
  • Slang Worldwide’s Chris Driessen
  • Advisorshares’ Dan Ahrens
  • The Fresh Toast’s JJ McKay
  • El Planteo’s Javier Hasse
  • And many more!

Click here to register for the full In-Person or Virtual Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference experience, featuring networking, one-on-one meetings, access to investors, and more.

“We’re really excited to hop into some of the key issues related to cannabis and capital markets, as well as legalization, with these top-notch speakers,” said Chief Zinger Jason Raznick.

“Having such an impressive lineup of speakers evidences the quality of Benzinga events and their massive growth over the years,” added Patrick Lane, Senior Vice President of Partnerships at Benzinga.

Benzinga is a financial technology, media, and data company headquartered in Detroit, Michigan[2]. The company’s free online news service publishes an average of 50 to 60 daily articles[3], including news on the global financial markets and financial commentary and analysis[3]. The company also offers a variety of subscription-based services for investors and financial audiences, including live events and investor education.

“Deal-making in the cannabis space is more exciting than ever and we are proud to be the de-facto platform for companies and capital to connect. While we were happy to help deals get done virtually, the Benzinga team, investors and operators are beyond excited for the opportunity to meet in person after such a long hiatus,” concluded Luke Jacobi, Director of Operations at Benzinga.

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