MCIA Board Members

Meet the board members of MCIA and learn about their accomplishments in the industry.

Swami-Chaitanya

Swami Chaitanya, President

Swami Chaitanya grew his first plants on a south facing slope of Telegraph Hill, in the heart of San Francisco, in the late 1970’s. It wasn’t until many years later, after sampling cannabis products across the globe and becoming a “Swami” in India, that he moved to Mendocino County to hone the fine art of cultivating sun grown cannabis through regenerative agriculture using living soil. Swami has been a Judge in The Emerald Cup since it began in 2003, and is President of the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association. His life is now devoted to teaching, meditating, farming, and helping others, primarily with the assistance of the great goddess of Ganja.

Nikki Lastreto

Nikki Lastreto, Secretary

Nikki Lastreto is a San Franciscan native born at the right time to be a flower child in her own town. Her cannabis connection began as a young girl smoking mediocre marijuana from south of the border and took her through global pursuits in search of other varieties. After some years as a journalist in San Francisco and living abroad, Nikki has established herself as a designer of sacred space and the co-founder of Swami Select. She has lived in the Bell Springs appellation of northern Mendocino County for over 15 years now, where she oversees operations at Swami Select, continues to write, and finally Nikki considers herself a “Mendonesian”.

Jeff Stewart, Treasurer

Bio and photo, coming soon.

Douglas B. Evans, General Counsel

Douglas B. Evans is a San Francisco-based attorney and business executive whose work focuses on cannabis ventures. In previous lives he has worked for major international corporations (IBM, Mitsui & Co., Sega), major international law firms (Nishimura & Asahi in Tokyo, Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco), and successful start-up companies. His work is premised on the belief that through lawful commerce the injustice of prohibition will end.

Lee Anna Sparks

Lee Anna Sparks, Digital Strategy

As founder of Power Pop Public Relations, Lee Anna Sparks ignites the connective, impactful communications programs successful organizations need to succeed. Lee Anna’s adept ability to build engaging brands was forged through six years of managing communications for Burning Man, the internationally-renowned arts and culture event. After spending years building new media startups in San Francisco’s booming tech industry, Lee Anna went on to begin her own company, Power Pop which supports mission-driven brands. Its client roster includes respected businesses working to develop California’s billion dollar cannabis industry.

Cody Bass, Board Member

Cody Bass has lived a life of loving and learning about cannabis which has brought him to aspire to represent cannabis as a positive part of society. Cody has been involved in every angle of the cannabis industry since his teens when he began growing cannabis in the hills of Mendocino, at twenty eight years old Cody decided to open multiple cannabis dispensary’s through out California. Cody was appointed to the commission which was responsible for writing the medical marijuana ordinance for the City of South Lake Tahoe which was adopted. That ordinance allowed Tahoe Wellness Cooperative to be city licensed, Cody founded Tahoe Wellness Cooperative in 2009 and continues to serve as the Executive Director, he has developed the organization into a vertically integrated cooperative model. Cody is also the CEO of Bijou Haus Productions which is a concert production company that has promoted and produced multiple events through out California.

Tim Blake, Board Member

Tim Blake is a cannabis activist and Owner of Area 101 – a dispensary in Northern California. He founded The Emerald Cup in 2003 and currently serves as the event’s promoter and president.

Genine Coleman

Genine Coleman, Board Member

Genine Coleman is the Project Manager for the Mendocino Appellations Project, and serves on the Board of Directors for the 420 Archive. She founded her consulting business BrainBloom in 2015, which is devoted to cannabis education & advocacy. Genine works with local cannabis patients, cultivators and advocacy organizations throughout Mendocino County. ​​

Noel Manners

Noel Manners, Board Member

Noel Manners is the CEO of Gooey Cannabis and the owner of CampCool Farm. His passion for Cannabis and Hemp spans more than four decades.

Dylan Pillsbury

Dylan Pillsbury, Board Member

Waska Farms founder Dylan Pillsbury is a second generation cannabis farmer and creator of the first ever cannabis infused hemp milk. Dedicated to supporting family, community and sustainable farming in Mendocino County, Dylan works tirelessly growing the medical cannabis industry.

Tom Rodrigues

Tom Rodrigues, Board Member

Tom Rodrigues is an artist, award winning winemaker, winery owner and rancher in Yorkville Ca. Mendocino County. Tom has been creating art since 1968 professional, being shown world wide. His fine art paintings have been exhibited across the country from New York to San Francisco and he has a painting installed in The National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown New York. Tom’s graphic art adorns some of the finest wine labels from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Texas and Mendocino County, Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel, Dolce, En Route, Artevino, Maple Creek, Hamel Family Wines, Manzanita Creek just to name a few. Tom has sat on the Davies Medical Center Board in San Francisco, Mendocino Winegrowers Board, and Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association Board. Tom has been a Cannabis judge at the Northern California Harvest Festival, 1978 -1985. Tom has devoted his time to promote Mendocino County grapes and wines and the Mendocino County Cannabis community.

Alicia Rose

Alicia Rose, Board Member

Alicia founded HerbaBuena in 2015 to help define a new standard for the cannabis industry, and a trusted product source for consumers who are looking for the same purity, quality and sophistication in their cannabis products as they’ve come to expect in their organic food and fine wine. HerbaBuena is a culmination of all that’s come before for Alicia including her background in farming on the east coast, a master’s degree in Ecosystem Science, and super successful 15-year career in the ultra-premium wine industry.

Michael Steinmetz, Board Member

Michael Steinmetz is the founder and CEO of Flow Kana a Mendocino based Medicinal Cannabis distributor that pioneered the first sustainable, sun-grown cannabis brand that embraces California values and the small farmer ecosystem.

Jude Thilman

Jude Thilman, Board Member

Jude Thilman is a medical cannabis educator and entrepreneur. She co-founded Dragonfly Wellness Center™ in 2011 and is herself a cannabis patient. She started Bhutan™ — distributor of pure and potent Mendocino herbal medicines in 2015. She has founded and directed 501(c)3 non-profit corporations and large-scale projects since 1986. She brings 30 years’ experience in the management of complex, multi-dimensional projects and in the production of educational media, for which she has received national awards.

She comes from a life-long commitment to social change and has been an activist on behalf of many causes, including civil rights, gender and reproductive rights, peace and social justice campaigns, and many others. She strongly believes in health care as a human right and sees a return to traditional, herbal medicine as sounding the death knell for a “pharmaceuticals dominant” approach to resolving “dis-ease.” She serves on the Board of the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association and served on the steering committee for Measure AF, in the effort to end cannabis prohibition in Mendocino County.