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Top Cannabis Leaders Under 40: 14 Of Them Are Up For This Sought-After Award, But Who’ll Be #1?

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago, September 13-14 will celebrate many things as always. This year’s attendees have the opportunity…

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The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago, September 13-14 will celebrate many things as always. This year's attendees have the opportunity to meet a group of young leaders of the industry who got into the emerging market at a young age and now have a lot to teach us all. 

Join us in celebrating some of the most skilled and knowledgeable cannabis executives under 40, nominated for a Benzinga Cannabis Award. The winner of this award will be announced on September 12.

Top Cannabis Leaders Under 40

Leo Gontmakher, 4Front Ventures

Gontmakher co-founded Northwest Cannabis Solutions, which under his leadership grew to be one of the largest and most successful producers of cannabis products in Washington state. He also served as COO at Cannex, which merged with 4Front Ventures (OTC: FFNTF) in July 2019. Before entering the cannabis industry, Gontmakher served on the senior management team at North America’s largest processor and distributor of specialized seafood products.

Photo: Courtesy Of Marijuana Venture

Alanna Zavoico, MATTIO Communications

Zavoico grew up in Westport, CT along the Long Island Sound. She moved around from marketing to creative recruiting and even fintech before landing at MATTIO Communications, where everything she was looking for in a job 'finally coalesced.' Currently, Zavoico and the MATTIO team meet to fulfill the client's conference, awards and creative needs with powerful story-telling and a first-class organization.

"I never imagined I would be working in this industry but I’m tremendously grateful my path has brought me here. I’ve always believed in the power of the plant and it’s an extremely exciting time for space," she said in an interview about the industry. Zavoico loves cooking and she said that "reinventing recipes" is her ultimate de-stressor, as well as reading and painting. She enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Cole Gibbs, Dama Distributing

Cole Gibbs, founder & CEO of Dama and an innovative entrepreneur, is pioneering the development of sustainable hemp plastic and compliant packaging solutions for a variety of industries. Due to the plastic waste problem, Gibbs established a practical and sustainable strategy for business and industry using the power of hemp and other green technologies. Dama is powered 100% by renewable wind energy.

Over the last three years alone, Gibbs and his team have made a massive impact on the world today by preventing over 2 million lbs of toxic petroleum plastic from entering our environment.


Come and meet extraordinary cannabis visionaries and let’s network and learn together. Join us in September at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference and stay at the historic Palmer House Hotel. Don't miss out on a chance to hear about future market forecasts and worldly advice on investing and finance from those embedded in the cannabis industry. Ready, set, go! 

Book your tickets HERE, and your room HERE.


An active outdoor enthusiast, Gibbs attended Salt Lake Community College and Weber State University where he studied Automotive Technology with an emphasis on alternative fuels, including Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Biodiesel, Hydrogen Fuel, and Hemp Ethanol. He also worked as a high-altitude prototype test driver for Jaguar/Land Rover.

Karson Humiston, Vangst

Karson Humiston is the founder and CEO of cannabis hiring platform Vangst. The platform is dedicated to connecting employers to candidates ranging from entry-level to executive within the emerging cannabis market, helping with information on careers in the industry.

Vangst kicked off 2022 by securing $19 million in financing through a Series B funding round, led by Level One Fund with participation from previous investors. Having a wide range of investors participating has been a "part of our secret sauce," said Humiston, one of the women who has been dominating space for years and who also emphasized how important it is to have a good personal relationship with business ...

Full story available on Benzinga.com

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