You’re Invited to the Fourth Annual Mother’s High Tea!

Mark your calendars for Monday, October 10, 2016,  it’s time for the  Fourth Annual Mother’s High Tea!

Mother’s High Tea, is the signature social event for the cannabis advocacy and business communities. It is a family friendly, public high tea, designed to normalize legalized cannabis and those who work in the cannabis industry and advocacy sectors. Mother’s High Tea features a world class educational speaker program, fun, creative activities for all ages, which benefit local (cannabis) non-profits while spending unique social time with friends, family and colleagues.

Click here for tickets and join us at McNichols Building in downtown Denver for an autumn Mother’s High Tea!



Sustainable Development = Success for the Cannabis Industry


I’ve been working on an exciting consulting project on Sustainable Development. It has the potential to shift the developmental direction the cannabis industry is headed. This blog comes out of the conversations about sustainability with my client, Catherine Drumheller as we create a service pitch tailored to this business sector. Read the post and let’s continue the dynamic discussion, our future depends on it!

When new infrastructure is being built in developing nations, Sustainable Development principles are utilized for the progress. Sustainable Development (SD) is a programmatic approach applied to large and small projects to ensure successful implementation and effective continuity. Three principle elements: environmental resources, people and the economy are incorporated into the project planning. SD programs find integrated solutions for long term project success.

Cannabis businesses and the cannabis industry need to voluntarily integrate SD principles because long term success depends on creating continuous structures and principles, like environmental management, community engagement and relationship building into the economic development of this newly legalized industry.

For individual businesses, sustainability is a practical program with beneficial impacts for the company and the community it resides.  The SD program creates metrics to measure and evaluate company performance. This program can be scaled small or large depending on budget and designed to flex and adapt over time.  The program metrics examine relationships, employee needs, company diversity goals and community development. By being transparent with company goals, a sustainability program shows engagement and performance to employees and the business becomes a positive community partner.

The SD project model integrates the operational structure with efficiency while developing strong community ties for continued economic growth and success for the company.

Voluntary efforts like a company sustainability program normalizes cannabis business.

When most people think of sustainability, they think about energy usage. Colorado, in the first three years of legalized and regulated marijuana sales to adults, is experiencing a surge of energy consumption from indoor growing and the demands of the nascent market. Current business regulations for most counties in Colorado, except progressive thinking Boulder and Pueblo Counties, ban outdoor grows and greenhouses, which forces indoor only cultivation. High energy usage is a problem for all legalized marijuana states. Energy consumption will change when cannabis business regulations stop treating marijuana as a controlled substance and start treating it as an agriculture crop. The demand for energy is not sustainable and cannabis business and the industry has a responsibility to shape itself by evaluating and becoming a truly green economy.

As Colorado experiences the initial and subsequent cannabis industry regulations, there is an opportunity, through sustainable development, to evaluate the effectiveness and flaws of enacted policies. If a larger state wide, regional or industry program is developed, practical alternatives can be developed to avoid mistakes. If an analysis of industry performance isn’t done, problems will be exacerbated as more states and countries legalize marijuana and model the framework of Colorado regulations.


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Fortunately, steps toward evaluating current industry practices and providing sustainable alternatives is underway. City of Denver has created a Cannabis Sustainability Work Group that meets once a month to discuss environmental impacts and suggest best practices.

Catherine Drumheller is a member of the Cannabis Sustainability Work Group and President of Oak Services, a woman owned engineering, technical, and sustainable development service company. Oak Services is a network of environmental professionals who establish metrics, run performance evaluations, strategize for optimization, and provide technical solutions for businesses and organizations.

In addition to evaluating environmental impacts and suggest resource management strategies, Drumheller wants to see a holistic approach to sustainability. Drumheller says, “when environmental justice and social justice issues are decided separately the solutions are less effective.” It’s important to study the social and community issues in the new industry for long lasting development. Social evaluations include examining relationships, employee needs, racial disparity, social justice issues and community needs.  By evaluating relationships, SD becomes a tool of transformation.

Catherine has a concern marijuana business regulations are creating a vice industry, which ultimately suppresses the industry potential. Marijuana business shouldn’t be primarily sidelined to poor neighborhoods or the outskirts of town. Let’s engage this issue through SD principles and change these relationships. “If we don’t evaluate now, inequality gets enshrined in the legal structure,” says Drumheller. With a developmental approach, relationships can be transformed between communities, other business sectors and marijuana companies.

In addition to integrating SD programs into individual businesses, Drumheller is in the preliminary stage of developing a sustainability think tank. The think tank will apply a programmatic approach and perform research to benefit the organization’s goals and provide integrated solutions to industry problems.

If Colorado is in the forefront as a testing ground for legalizing and regulating marijuana, cannabis businesses and the industry needs to examine its progress and adapt towards a green economy.

Contact me for more information about sustainable development programming for your cannabis business.

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The 2015 Mother’s High Tea Committee

Mother’s High Tea this year was amazing!  Nearly 40 business sponsors supported the 3rd Biennial Mother’s High Tea for women and mothers in cannabis business and legalization. The tickets were hot and the event sold out the week before the event.  The food and tea buffet, fun photo booth, craft and letter writing activities, speaker podium and round seating tables for 200  were arranged in a large, beautiful west facing sunlit room at History Colorado Center. This year, we had our first elected official join us as a speaker and the assembled guests had an opportunity to be inspired by our esteemed lineup of speakers AC Braddock, Diane Fornbacher, Kristi Kelly, and Republican Senator Beth Martinez Humenik.  The event created an opportunity for many happy and thought-provoking memories within the cannabis community.

The organized execution of the event (which seemed so easy) took 5 months of diligent and focused effort to produce. The many successes of this year’s event were possible because of the contributions and dedication from the talented women who comprised the 2015 Mother’s High Tea Committee.  Meet nine other brilliant women of cannabis business and legalization in Colorado.

Mrs. Christie Lunsford, Co-Chair. Christie Lunsford returns to Mother’s High Tea Committee as Co-Chair and Event Master of Ceremonies. Christie, a skilled professional speaker, is a pivotal figure in the Colorado cannabis business community.  I first met Christie in 2010 at early meetings of an (now defunct) infused product manufacturing group. (This was before the first wave of marijuana business legislation.) In the verbal fray of chaotic and charged meetings, Christie would be a voice guiding the discordant group to decisions and offering practical solutions to contribute to the goals of the developing group.

Mrs Christie Lunsford. Photo courtesy of 5280 Magazine.

Mrs. Christie Lunsford. Photo courtesy of 5280 Magazine.

In our introductory conversations, Christie described herself as an advocate. Not a recreational consumer herself, Christie advocates for medicinal cannabis via infused topical and oral (sublingual) products blended with other synergistic and therapeutic herbs. Among Christie’s early industry accomplishments was her role as marketing and media manager for Dixie Elixir & Edibles.  Christie formulated the therapeutic hemp and marijuana products for the botanical line of Dixie products. She also linked the mainstreaming company to the grassroots medical marijuana community and was a pioneer in professionalizing the Denver cannabis community.

Christie has a long legacy of mentoring women and fostering the community within cannabis business and medical circles.  She was an organizer and facilitator of a regularly scheduled women’s networking breakfast, a founding board member of the Women’s CannaBusiness Network (WCBN) created in 2012.  As WCBN changed and developed into Women Grow, Christie was a founding member and even was the keynote speaker at the first meeting in 2014. Many women in the community, myself included, have been encouraged by Christie.

For Mother’s High Tea, Christie developed, sparked and rolled out the Facebook historical women and tea photo campaign to create and reinforce the classy feel of the event. In production, Christie primarily served as advisor. In her performance as MC, her thoughtful tribute to the members of the audience who had dedicated five or more years of service to cannabis legalization was heartfelt and memorable.

2015 Mother's High Tea MCs and Speakers. Ms. Susan Squibb, Mrs. Kristi Kelly, Senator Beth Martinez Humenick, Mrs. Christie Lunsford, Ms. AC Braddock. (Not pictured, Ms. Diane Fornbacher) Photo courtesy CliquePics.

2015 Mother’s High Tea MCs and Speakers, L to R.
Ms. Susan Squibb, Mrs. Kristi Kelly, Senator Beth Martinez Humenick, Mrs. Christie Lunsford, and Ms. AC Braddock. (Not pictured, Ms. Diane Fornbacher) Photo courtesy CliquePics.

Currently, Christie’s professional advice and development services are sought after by investors and emerging cannabis companies across the country looking to gain a knowledgeable edge in license application process and by startup companies working on cannabis product development.  In addition to her consulting company, Christie is a health and wellness writer for, a hemp education writer for The Hemp Connoisseur and THC Radio co-host.

 Publishers of The Hemp Connoisseur: Mr. David Maddalena and Mrs. Christianna Brown. Christianna holds the primary event graphic she designed for Mother's High Tea. Photo courtesy Cannabis Camera

Publishers of The Hemp Connoisseur: Mr. David Maddalena and Mrs. Christianna Brown. Christianna holds the primary event graphic she designed for Mother’s High Tea. Photo courtesy Cannabis Camera.

Mrs. Christianna Brown, Graphic Design Chair.  Christianna is a tour de force at The Hemp Connoisseur, the Denver based cannabis culture magazine. As Publisher, Art Director and Graphic Designer, Christianna photographs and designs the monthly covers and designs the content layouts. She also directs sales and marketing. Christianna additionally consults and designs compliance labels for cannabis packaging.  For Mother’s High Tea, Christianna set the elegant tone for the event by designing the graphics for Mother’s High Tea.  She created images for the Facebook page, designed the beautiful postcard invitations, monthly advertisements, 11 X 17 posters, event program and round event stickers for the craft table.

Ms. Caren Kershner and Ms. Sara Conrad.  Photo courtesy Cannabis Camera.

Ms. Caren Kershner and Ms. Sara Conrad.
Photo courtesy Cannabis Camera.

Ms. Sara Conrad: Social Media Chair. Sara Conrad, comes to the cannabis community from a career background in technology. She became an active volunteer in the cannabis community during the Amendment 64 campaign and currently is a booster for NORML, National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and Marijuana Business Association (MJBA). Sara is a social media strategist and adept at social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedInGoogle +, Pinterest Tumbler, Instagram and Facebook– (of course).  For Mother’s High Tea, Sara focused on frequent posting, tweeting and sharing Mother’s High Tea on social media to increase presence and drive awareness (and ticket sales). Sara added value to the event promotions by interacting with the sponsoring companies.


Ms. Susan Squibb and Mrs. CiCi Dunn. Photo Courtesy of Cannabis Camera.

Mrs. CiCi Dunn, Ticket Chair. CiCi joins the Colorado cannabis community by way of Amsterdam, where she has been an integral part of the well-established hemp clothing store, Hemp Works and notable hemp clothing company, Hemp Hoodlamb (HHL).  CiCi established the North American hub for HHL with the innovative art and lifestyle concept store, Hoodlab.  Additionally, CiCi has significant production management experience from producing the yearly fashion show at the Amsterdam High Times Cannabis Cup. For Mother’s High Tea, CiCi was in charge of guest services, managing ticket sales, organizing guest name tags and directed the check in table.

Miss Kara Janowsky. Photo courtesy of Kara

Miss Miss Kara Janowsky. Photo courtesy of Kara.

Miss Kara Janowski, Volunteer Chair. Kara, an enthusiastic, kind and ambitious college graduate, has proven leadership skills developed from CU Boulder chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and as Boulder Chapter organizer of Women Grow. Kara additionally is an established event volunteer for NCIA and The ArcView Group. Post graduation, Kara is developing her career in cannabis business and is set to develop and accomplish her goals. For Mother’s High Tea, Kara developed the day of production time schedule and coordinated volunteers at the event.

Ms. Caren Kershner and Ms. Sara Conrad. Photo courtesy Cannabis Camera

Ms. Caren Kershner and Ms. Sara Conrad. Photo courtesy Cannabis Camera

Ms. Caren Kershner, Craft Chair.  Caren is the Executive Director of the Colorado Industrial Hemp Coalition. Caren is a familiar face to the residents of the San Luis Valley and she smartly utilizes her local educational authority as a retired science and art teacher to advocate for hemp agriculture in the valley.  For Mother’s High Tea, she is a dedicated, helpful and kind contributor. Caren developed the multiple activities at the art table, including the tea time word search and coloring pages. Caren contributed a letter to the letter writing table for New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez regarding recent hemp legislation she vetoed from the widely supportive state legislature.

Ms. Jill Lamoureux. Photo courtesy LinkedIn.

Ms. Jill Lamoureux.
Photo courtesy LinkedIn.

Ms. Jill Lamoureux, Letter Writing Chair. Jill Lamoureux began in the cannabis community as owner of the first licensed dispensary and grow in Boulder County.  In the initial development of cannabis business in Colorado, Jill served on the first state task force for the development of regulations.  Currently Jill is a legislative liaison and regulatory consultant with development accomplishments with Americans for Safe Access, Denver Relief Consulting and Carbon Bond Holdings.  For Mother’s High Tea, Jill, coordinated the event letters written to federal, state and local representatives by the Mother’s High Tea Committee and assembled guests. The purpose of the letter writing table is to continue and foster communication with elected officials on the various topics related to legislative reform. Jill coordinated the event letter writing efforts from notable nonprofit organizations, SSDP and Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and brought in the inspiration voice of recent DU Economics graduate, Caitlin McKennie for the rousing letter to President Obama. Jill, excitingly was unable to attend Mother’s High Tea this year because she accepted a great opportunity to consult in Israel!

Ms. Belita Nelson speaking at launch of Womens Marijuana Movement, 2010. Photo Courtesy of SAFER.

Ms. Belita Nelson speaking at launch of Womens Marijuana Movement, 2010. Photo Courtesy of SAFER.

Ms. Belita Nelson, Speaker Chair. Belita, a former drug warrior (a debate coach for DEA!) has experienced catastrophes of the Drug War first hand and now advocates for cannabis legal reform as a lobbyist in Colorado.  Belita’s heart felt speech  helped the launch of Women’ s Marijuana Movement in 2010. In her home state of Texas, Belita ran her own large scale event production company.  For Mother’s High Tea, Belita with her Republican party contacts, persuaded and confirmed our surprising keynote speaker, Senator Beth Martinez Humenik.

Miss Katie O   Block

Miss Katie O Block, Ms. Sara Conrad and Ms. Susan Squibb. (Mother’s High Tea selfie)

Miss Katie O Block, Sponsorship Chair. Katie, a relative newcomer to the cannabis community, is full of fresh energy as Marketing Director for Surna, an efficiency engineering company for cannabis grows. Katie was effective and professional at communicating and coordinating the event sponsors prior to the event.  She is a fantastic young talent!

These are the amazing women that contributed to the many successes of this year’s Mother High Tea. Everyone, of course, did more than what is specifically featured here, their efforts are significant and appreciated. A toast to the 2015 Mother’s High Tea Committee!

Mother's High Tea 2015. Photo courtesy Cannabis Camera.

Mother’s High Tea 2015. Photo courtesy Cannabis Camera.

3rd Biennial Mother’s High Tea Speaker Announcement

The inspiring speakers at Mother’s High Tea share their experience and perspective in cannabis business and legalization, as well as share endearing family stories.  A first for Mother’s High Tea, an elected state official will give the keynote address this year!  Meet our wonderful and talented speakers! 


Legislative Portrait

Senator Beth Martinez Humenik

Our keynote speaker is Republican Senator Beth Martinez Humenik of Adams County.  Senator Humenik is a freshman senator, and fourth generation Coloradan.  

A former teacher for elementary schools and college students, Senator Humenik joins us as a freshly  elected official getting her first legislative experience with marijuana law and regulation.

She serves on the Health and Human Services Committee and Local Government Committee.  






Ms. AC Braddock

Ms. AC Braddock, a career entrepreneur, is currently CEO of Eden Labs in Seattle Washington.  Ms. Braddock has guided and transformed the extraction technology company into the highly respected multi-million dollar company.  Ms. Braddock is regarded as a thought leader in cannabis business and supports community organizations as a member of two of Washington’s Cannabis Business Women’s groups; WOW (Women of Weed) and the MJBA’s Women’s Alliance. Ms. Braddock is determined to create a new corporate structure in the emerging cannabis industry.




Mrs. Kristi Kelly

Mrs. Kristi Kelly is principal and founder of Good Meds Network, a medical marijuana company in the Denver area. Mrs. Kelly has founded several marijuana business organizations; served on state and local rulemaking committees and workgroups and has been a voice for the community as a business owner, association leader, and patient advocate.  She is currently a board member of Marijuana Industry Group; a sustaining member of National Cannabis Industry Association; and founding board member of The Fourth Corner Credit Union, the world’s first marijuana financial institution.     

Mrs. Kelly grew up under the influence of strong and empowered women.   From this foundation, she has a developed an enduring passion for helping those in need and investing in areas that benefit women and children. 

diane and kids

Ms. Diane Fornbacher, is  founder of Ladybud Magazine, a lifestyle site for politically engaged women who enjoy cannabis. Ms. Fornbacher  is co-founder of the NORML Women’s Alliance and recipient of the NORML Pauline Sabin Award in 2012,  has contributed nearly 20 years of activism to local grassroots and national drug policy reform organizations.  Her role as mother to two sons inspires her to create a more compassionate and sensible world for them. 


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Mrs. Christie Lunsford. Photo courtesy 5280 Magazine.

Mrs. Christie Lunsford is a Denver based cannabis business consultant,  specializing in license applications and infused product business development.   Since the beginning of her first cannabis company, she has encouraged women’s development in cannabis business. Mrs. Lunsford is a founding board member of the Women’s CannaBusiness Network (WCBN), Co Chair and MC for Mother’s High Tea in 2012 and founding member of Women Grow in 2014. 


Ms. Susan Squibb

Ms. Susan Squibb, Cannabis Maven, is currently Director of Operations at Steep Hill Colorado.

She is a legalization advocate and  hemp and marijuana business trailblazer since her days as a CU-Boulder student.  

Ms. Squibb founded the event Mother’s High Tea in 2011, for the growing community of women in legalization and business.  


Join us for Mother’s High Tea this year. Tickets are purchased on Eventbrite.

Are you coming to Mother’s High Tea?

You are invited to join 4&20 Blackbirds and the inspirational pioneering women  of cannabis legalization and business for the 3rd Biennial Mother’s High Tea!

Mother’s High Tea celebrates the accomplishments of women on the forefront of cannabis reform and business. The biennial event creates speaking opportunities for accomplished women to share their perspective on the changing cannabis times.

The 3rd Biennial Mother’s High Tea is May 14 from 2-5pm at the History Colorado Center in Denver.   Join us for tea!

The first Mother’s High Tea began in 2011 as a community event featuring inspiring speakers around Mother’s Day for women and mothers in cannabis business.

In 2012, Mother’s High Tea was the launch of Women’s CannaBusiness Network, a project of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the women’s group that developed into Women Grow in 2014.

In 2015, with the generous sponsorship from a growing community of businesses,  Mother’s High Tea continues making history with a beautiful venue, an expanding audience of women and an exciting program of speakers. Special thanks to Mary’s Medicinal’s, Julie’s Natural Edibles, MiNDFUL, Steep Hill, The Farm and Ideal 420 Soil.

Accomplished cannabis educator and entrepreneur, Mrs. Christie Lunsford is returning  Master of Ceremonies, along with myself. This year’s speakers will be announced next week!

Children and well-dressed gentlemen are encouraged to attend! Event activities include a craft table, letter writing and photo booth.

We suggest buying tickets early as the event will most likely sell out. Purchase Eventbrite tickets here!

Join the community and like the Mother’s High Tea Facebook page!