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Bridge to Legalization Event Schedule

11:00-11:20 Attendee Check in

11:20-11:30 Opening Remarks with Tiana

11:30-1p Panel Discussion w/ open Q&A 



  • Shanita Penny (Budding Solutions)


  • Matha Figaro (Butacake)

  • Maur Stringer (ShaktiGreenLit)

  • Ulysses Youngblood (Major Bloom)

  • Monet Schultz (MJLuxe)

  • Vlad Bautista (Happy Munkey)


1:00-1:30- Featured Speakers (10 minute slots): 


Daniel Glissman (CTCCC) - Importance of Having A Good Legal Team

Nairoby Sanchez (MassCultivatED) - Why Education Matters

Andrea Comer  (CT Social Equity Council) - Next Steps for CT Licensing 


1:30-2p Closing Remarks with Tiana and Open Networking

Bridge to Legalization Guest Bios

Matha Figaro (Butacake)

The last of four children and the only American born to an immigrant couple from Haiti that decided to plant roots in New Jersey, Matha is the American dream. At the age of 15 she started working her first job as a cashier at a local supermarket after being at school all day followed by track practice or the twice a week church choir practice. Accustomed to long days of pushing her mind and body it was no surprise she ended up choosing hospitality as a career. After graduating high school in 2007 she worked various jobs including bartending, nannying and business office support roles.

In 2010 Matha graduated with an Associate of Arts and Sciences (A.A.S.) in Baking and Pastry Arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu Pittsburgh. After graduating from culinary school she worked as an intern in Philadelphia under Chef Jim Burke at his fine dining restaurant James on 8 th . After just a few short months, her skills landed her the assistant pastry chef position at BLT Steak:Miami before becoming the executive pastry chef in her hometown of Morristown New Jersey at Roots Steak House.

During her time at Roots, Matha became infamous for making the best butter cakes Morris County had ever come across, boosting the pastry program for the restaurant opened networking opportunities in which she made the transition from back of house to front with hopes of someday being a restauranteur. In 2013, she helped open End of Elm and managed the restaurant until taking the opportunity to experience corporate hospitality becoming an assistant team leader for Whole Foods Market. During her time with Whole Foods, she managed three locations. Madison and Union New Jersey along with Tribeca NYC. In 2016 Matha took the leap of faith and started her own brand centered around the Butter Cake she’s always been known for and named it ButACake.

By 2018 her traditional baked goods business had transformed into a legacy empire. ButACake became the go to for thousands of people seeking alternative ways to treat their ailments, parents seeking support that wasn’t attached to hangovers, and the canna curious. With the announcement of the approved adult use market, Matha realized it was the perfect time to

transition from legacy to legal. With the help of her childhood friend since third grade, Matha and Jimmy joined forces and created CannPowerment in 2021.

CannPowerment specializes in contract manufacturing & packaging of cannabis derived products with New Jersey state conditional approval of a Class 2 manufacturing license. Starting with the production of oral dissolvable strips and other edible products, CannPowerment’s first customer will be ButACake for her go-to-market initiative in the NJ Adult-Use Cannabis market. Growth for CannPowerment is expected in the form of onboarding of additional brands that need manufacturing capacity, with an emphasis on helping legacy brands cross over to legal and assisting historically underrepresented people create brands to put on retail shelves.





Maur Stringer (ShaktiGreenLit)

American author, orator, father, husband and lifetime athlete, Maur Stringer is a Cannabis business owner, advocate, and creative. His journey has taken him from legacy Cannabis to legal Cannabis to now building a legacy for my family in Cannabis. He created a pathway to deal with the traumatic stress of the War on Drugs through the Arts, and he shares that with the community via his book, "Massachusetts Jumping Jim Crow for Cannabis", and via his online yoga, meditation, and workout videos. "Wartime relief for the War on Drugs" is one of Maur's slogans that captures his view of the role of equity in the Cannabis industry. In 2022, Maur launched his Cannabis brand, Shakti Green Lit, and product, first full spectrum Cannabis infused energy shot, currently available in Massachusetts. Coming soon nationally.

“I’m a legacy operator who’s documented for operating in the Cannabis industry since 1994. My first arrest was at the age 14 for Cannabis sale to a minor, as a minor myself. I’ve always been a part of this industry. I’ve taken great risks with my freedom to operate and be a part of this industry in the legacy market. Being able to transition to the legal side is a dream come true. It’s my responsibility and duty to build a space for myself in the industry that my children can benefit from. That's what legacy to legal to Legacy means to me.” - Maur B. Stringer




Ulysses Youngblood (Major Bloom)

 Ulysses Youngblood is the Founder President of Major Bloom, an impact-driven cannabis company in the state's Equity program. As a vertically integrated business, the company has manufacturing, retail, and delivery operations co-located in Worcester, MA. Ulysses and Major Bloom are highly involved in the Worcester community. Also, an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Cannabis Regulation at Clark University, while developing a cannabis course for LIM College in Manhattan, NY. Before decriminalization in 2008, he was expelled from a local Worcester College for marijuana-related offenses. Still, he finished a business degree from Sacred Heart University and later earned an MBA from Northeastern University while gaining experience in corporate sales leadership roles.



Monet Schultz (LUXE MJ)

Mone’t Schultz is the founder and owner of NYC Based Cannabis Brand LUXE MJ. LUXE MJ is part ancillary products and part community collective through equity and education. Our signature event is The LUXEMJ Sundown Meditation Retreat is Curated to be community-based and culturally responsive.

Each session is roughly 3 hours from 5- 8 pm and is designed to host 15-20 participants. Attendees are supplied LUXEMJ Rolling Kits to utilize as they prepare for their cannabis experience.1-hour Community Care Conversation, 1-hour Internal Reflection Exercise, 1-hour Culturally Responsive Meditation Exercise. Our annual events also include 90s Skate Beach Part in collaboration with RollerWaveNYC & the Far Rockaway Greek Council.

As her 9-5 she is currently the Deputy Chief of Staff & Legislative Director for New York State Assembly member Khaleel M. Anderson. She is also on her journey to Law School, where she intends to practice Impact Litigation. Ms. Schultz is a graduate of Binghamton University, where she majored in Sociology, led the Black Student Union, was a member of the Binghamton Speech and Debate Team, as well as participated in other socio-political initiatives.




Vlad Bautista (Happy Munkey)

Vladimir Bautista is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Happy Munkey brand, an internationally-known NYC lifestyle company that is synonymous with cannabis culture.


Born and raised in Hamilton Heights, NYC, Vlad and The Happy Munkey are  formidable advocates and leaders in the cannabis space. Vlad is widely recognized for his deep relationships with the international cannabis elite and his successful experience in music, hospitality and event production. He provides corporate cannabis access to the authentic NYC cannabis scene. Under Vlad’s leadership, Happy Munkey hosts popular VIP events that connect politicians, chefs, doctors, influencers, athletes and creative artists with each other based on a mutual love of the plant. 


Vladimir and his partner Ramon Reyes, co-host the popular Happy Munkey on the Boulevard podcast where they bring the Happy Munkey to the masses. The podcast features an eclectic mix of guests who run the cannabis gamut from rap stars to CEOs to the founder of the Canadian Securities Exchange and can be found on all major podcast sites. 


In 2021, Vlad was a featured speaker at many virtual and live Cannabis conferences, but none more noteworthy as being on the keynote panel at MJBIZ CON, the largest trade show in the US, discussing how the legacy and legal Cannabis industries must work together and unite rather than clash. He and The Happy Munkey were featured in many mainstream media outlets including CNBC, Bloomberg Business Week, USA Today, Rolling Stone and NBC News among others.  


The feather in the cap for 2021 was The Happy Munkey team awarded a Silver Clio for their groundbreaking “Happy Munkey After Hours'' consumption event at the Original Immersive VanGogh exhibit.   That was on top of their hosting the End of Prohibition celebration on April 20, the Cannabis industry’s unofficial global holiday, at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse on Wall Street, presenting New York’s first legal pot party which attracted over 500 people and massive media exposure, solidifying Vlad’s and The Happy Munkey as industry leaders in NYC and beyond.





Daniel Glissman (CTCCC) 

Daniel Glissman has focused much of his law practice on the formation, licensing, and operation of both medical and adult-use cannabis establishments. Daniel draws on deep knowledge and practical experience in all aspects of the cannabis industry, including corporate structuring and entity formation, commercial contract review, mergers and acquisitions, real estate leases and/or purchases, regulatory compliance, and state/local licensing. 




Nairoby Sanchez (MassCultivatED)

Nairoby Sanchez is a passionate public servant dedicated to achieving community wellbeing through policy, 

civic engagement and direct community outreach. Nairoby is the Director of Programs for Mass CultivatED, the first in the nation jails-to-jobs program for the Cannabis Industry that provides fellows with a co-operative education program, free legal CORI services, workforce preparedness training, and cannabis externships with livable wages and benefits. 

Prior to joining Mass CultivatED, Nairoby worked in campaigns, government and politics, formerly serving as Regional Director for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren where she connected community organizations and constituents to federal policy and thereafter joined the Warren for President campaign executing national events. Nairoby also has prior non-profit experience serving on the boards of MWPC Young Professionals, Bread and Roses Housing, Si, Se Puede and Community InRoads board training and most recently served as Co-Chair for MWPC’s Political Action Committee.  

Nairoby’s commitment to inclusive policy & civic engagement can be attributed to her personal and professional experiences with diverse and marginalized communities. Nairoby is a Social Equity Applicant and participant of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s Social Equity Program. In 2022, Nairoby launched her entrepreneurial endeavors by seeking to obtain a marijuana courier and social consumption license in Lowell, MA. 

Nairoby has recently earned a Graduate Certificate in Cannabis Regulatory Affairs from Clark University. She earned her B.A in Political Science from UMass Lowell prior to graduating from Northern Essex Community College with an A.A in Political Science.



Andrea Comer (CT Social Equity Council)


Andréa serves as the Deputy Commissioner with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.  She previously served as the Chief External Affairs Officer for the CT Paid Leave Authority, where she leads the agency’s outreach and engagement efforts. Previously, she has worked in communications, strategic planning and development efforts for government and nonprofit entities.

Andréa served as an elected member of the Hartford Board of Education, and an appointed State Board of Education member, where she pushed for transparency in school suspension and expulsion rates. She currently serves as Chair of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s Greater Together Advisory Committee, as Vice Chair of Five Frogs, and on the board of the Hartford Public Library.

Andréa has a BA in journalism from SUNY Buffalo State and is an Aspen Executive Leadership alum. She was an inaugural recipient of the 100 New England Women of Color award and has been recognized by the CT Commission on Children, YMCA, Urban League of Greater Hartford and the CT NAACP.

Shanita Penny (Budding Solutions)

Shanita Penny M.B.A. is an internationally recognized management consultant with over a decade of experience in helping Fortune 500 companies solve complex issues and improve business performance. Her reputation as a strategic thinker and a results oriented leader was cultivated in management and consulting roles with companies such as Pepsico, McCormick and Company and JDA Software.

Shanita is a proud alumna of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, where she earned a BS in Transportation and Logistics Management and completed internships with Polo Ralph Lauren, Harley-Davidson and Miller Brewing Company. As a lifelong learner, she brought her corporate experiences into the classroom during her graduate studies at the University of Baltimore and Towson University. Shanita fearlessly led a team of marketing consultants on a semester-long project to create a Living Museum for a Portuguese Guitar collection in Lisbon, Portugal as a Wright Global Scholar.

In 2015, Shanita took a leap of faith and founded Budding Solutions and has not looked back. As a certified Project Management Professional and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Shanita brings a much needed skillset coupled with immense passion to the cannabis industry. Prior to founding Budding Solutions, she successfully led over $5 million in Enterprise Governance, Risk and Compliance software projects for a major telecommunications company.

Shanita is especially proud of her work as a cannabis activist and has lobbied on Capitol Hill with organizations like DC NORML for the reform of national marijuana laws. She also works closely with registered lobbyists on a local level on behalf of her clients.

Combining a passion for her work and a cause she truly believes in has been a dream come true for this budding cannabis entrepreneur.

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