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Tasha Dennis is a dedicated cannabis advocate who currently serves as an intern at CPPC. She is renowned for her expertise in public policy strategy and has successfully led various government advocacy efforts over the past 14 years. Tasha is currently pursuing a J.D. at Thurgood Marshall School of Law and holds a B.A. from Tulane University, as well as a M.P.P. from New England College. She is a 5th generation Texan, and when she’s not studying you can find her cuddling with her two dogs.
Eukirah Pennyman is the communications associate at Cannabis Public Policy Consulting (CPPC), where she leads in internal communications planning, product marketing, and client design and marketing support. She specializes in nonprofit marketing and communications, with key experiences in strategically developing communications plans for public health programs, managing and growing social platforms, and creating and executing successful marketing and advertising campaigns. She received her Bachelor of Communications from Tennessee State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at Clark Atlanta University. Eukirah resides in Atlanta, GA, and enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, long strolls at the farmers market, and traveling.
Gideon Cunningham is a Policy and Research Intern at Cannabis Public Policy Consulting, where he assists in researching and analyzing policy from a comparative public policy perspective. Gideon received his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Political Science, a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in International and Comparative Politics, and Graduate Foreign Service Certificate from Wright State University. His master’s thesis conducted an examination and comparison of cannabis policies in the United States, Canada, and Uruguay, defining the parameters of what successful cannabis policy looks like relative to national and international contexts. Gideon is currently a Ph.D. student and Graduate Research Assistant in the Public Policy program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he focuses on comparative cannabis policy and the political psychology of polarization and political violence. His expected completion date for the program is August 2025. His past research includes publications on the ramifications arising from the disconnection between federal and state cannabis policies, as well as a critical analysis of cannabis legalization ballot initiatives within the United States. Gideon currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. He spends his free time going to parks, traveling, reading books, writing, listening to podcasts, and spending time with his wife and dog (Oscar).
Jeremiah Brown is a part time data analyst, where he supports the data science team in deriving insights from behavioral health data. He has received a BS and an MA in psychology and is expected to earn his PhD in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise from Virginia Tech in 2024. He has conducted research on health behavior change strategies related to substance use and type 2 diabetes in academic settings. He lives with his wife and dog in Roanoke Virginia, where he enjoys lifting weights and learning about humanity.
Lydia Mudd is a Senior Research Associate at CPPC where she contributes to scientific and regulatory developments on cannabis use. She received her BA from Goddard College and will receive her Master of Public Health from the University of Colorado in Winter 2023. Lydia aims to foster widespread understanding of research findings by translating methodology, data, and results into clear and practical verbiage that is accessible to many different audiences. Employing her expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods, she’s investigated cannabis use from individual, population, and industry lenses, and in topic areas including patterns and perceptions of cannabis use, medical and adult use, supply and demand, and illicit market implications. Driven by a curiosity and passion for improving population health, Lydia contributes to the development of novel research in cannabis and behavioral health. Lydia lives in Longmont, Colorado, and spends her time exploring local arts and culture, gardening, yarn crafting, and playing with her dog.
Summer Fox (MPP) is the program manager at Cannabis Public Policy Consulting, where she manages the research team’s contracts, provides operational support to leadership, and lends her expertise as a cannabis policy consultant as needed. Summer received her Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Bachelor of Arts in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine. Before joining CPPC, Summer worked as the Manager of Policy at a cannabis technology company and has extensive experience in policy research, communications, government relations, and project management. She lives in Southern California and enjoys scuba diving, cooking, and watching movies.
Sara Zimmer is a senior researcher at Cannabis Public Policy Consulting where she specializes in the scientific investigation of cannabis use-related outcomes and the implications of cannabis policy on public health. Coming from a background in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, Sara is passionate about leveraging her expertise in these fields to employ novel techniques in her research at CPPC. In addition to cannabis use research, Sara has specialized in areas related to aging and memory and has experience utilizing neuroimaging techniques in her research prior to joining CPPC. She is skilled at designing research studies analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data and is experienced at reporting information in tangible forms to a wide variety of audiences. Sara received her B.S. in Mind, Brain, Behavior Psychology from Colorado State University, and her M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Villanova University. She lives in Colorado and enjoys exploring National Parks, going flying with her husband, and visiting local coffee shops and bakeries.
Mike is the Director of Research at CPPC. Mike has published over 25 peer-reviewed, scientific manuscripts in the health behavior change domain, including 10 publications dedicated to better understanding the impacts of cannabis legalization on health outcomes and examining the risks and benefits of cannabis use through large-scale survey designs. Since joining CPPC in 2021, he has successfully led over 12 cannabis research contracts commissioned by government agencies, non-profit organizations, and for-profit entities. He has also obtained over $2 million in federal grant funding for his research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC). Mike received his Ph.D. in behavioral psychology from the University of Kansas prior to completing a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine. Mike spends most of his free time with his wife, his pets Luna (Dog), Kali (Cat), Karl (Cat), Echo (Cat), and Itty Bitty (Cat), and his sports (Pittsburgh Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates).
Mackenzie Slade is the Executive Director of CPPC. As a public health professional and trained implementation scientist, Mackenzie specializes in translating original research into practice to identify areas of cannabis program improvement, conceptualize and test policy and program interventions, and evaluate the success of these changes. Ms. Slade has successfully planned, implemented, and continuously improved upon numerous cannabis programs across the country at all levels of government, including tribal. As one of the few government consultants with robust on-the-ground implementation experience, Ms. Slade is a called-upon expert for strategizing cannabis program policies and rollout, including applications and licensing processes, cannabis testing procedures, data collection planning, and risk reduction tactics. Ms. Slade has a master’s in public health from UCLA and lives in New York City with her bulldog, Chicken.
Keegan Gendron is the Senior Cannabis Policy Associate at CPPC, where he specializes in researching and analyzing cannabis policy frameworks, developing regulatory best practices, and advising CPPC clients on evidence-based policy solutions. Keegan received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Economics and Management from Michigan State University and has an extensive background in policy research, strategy, and government relations spanning multiple industries. He is a talented writer, a cannabis advocate, and an armchair psychedelic/entheogen expert. Prior to joining CPPC, Keegan worked at a cannabis technology company where he advocated for responsible cannabis legalization and regulatory policies that have contributed to industry innovation and the formation of new cannabis markets. He lives in northern Michigan where he enjoys writing, reading, mushroom foraging, and frequenting local restaurants.
Kaitlyn Miller is a Program Assistant at Cannabis Public Policy Consulting, where she focuses on policy research. Kaitlyn is a recent graduate from Penn State University, where she received her degree in Health Policy and Administration with a minor in Psychology. Kaitlyn is an achiever and a self-starter who is seen as a trusted advisor by her peers. She is committed, leads by example, and helps her team succeed and grow while driving shared success. She lives in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and in her free time enjoys traveling, collecting records, and writing.
John Starkel is a Policy Analyst at Cannabis Public Policy Consulting, where he assists and advises clients on cannabis policy and regulatory frameworks using his encyclopedic knowledge of cannabis policy nationwide. Through his expertise, he is able to craft regulatory solutions to help CPPC ensure its client have robust and effective cannabis programs at the cutting edge of the ever-changing cannabis field. John also works with the policy team to compile inventories of state-level cannabis policy to ensure the research team always has the most up to date knowledge. John’s strengths include problem-solving, research, regulatory anaylsis, and technical writing. John received his Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Law and Society from American University. John lives in Washington, D.C. and enjoys hiking, traveling, camping, and playing pinball with his friends.
Hannah Boyum serves as the Deputy Director of CPPC, where she plays a multifaceted role in the organization. Her responsibilities include managing policy and programmatic contracts, serving as a lead policy and communications consultant, and directing internal projects. Hannah holds a bachelor’s degree in politics and government from Ripon College and post-baccalaureate specializations in graphic and UX/UI design from the California Institute of the Arts. Hannah’s unique skills in graphic design, behavioral public policy, and strategic communications have proven to be invaluable in crafting impactful content that translates complex policies into accessible and meaningful information for the public. Hannah lives in Rochester, Minnesota, and spends her time outside of work practicing yoga, attending concerts, and spending quality time with her partner and pets.
Ari is a senior behavioral scientist at Cannabis Public Policy Consulting and is involved in research design, analysis, and writing. He has over 20 years of research experience in psychopharmacology and, as a principal investigator, received over a million dollars of grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He joined CPPC after a career as a Professor of Psychology where he published papers on a range of topics, including medical and legal ethics, toxicology, neurobiology, comparative psychology, and behavioral economics. He also co-founded a company that developed patented digital technologies to address drug-impaired driving and served as the Chief Scientific Officer; given that experience, he now trains legal and law-enforcement professionals about the effects of cannabis on behavior and physiology. Ari received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado (B.A.) and graduate degrees (M.A. & Ph.D.) from the University of Montana. He held post-doctoral appointments at NASA Ames Research Center and the University of Vermont, College of Medicine. Ari lives in a small mountain town in Vermont and enjoys trail running, skiing, cooking, woodworking, and playing music with friends and family by the woodstove during the long winters.
Brent Kaplan serves as a Data Scientist at CPPC. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed, scientific journal articles on topics including behavioral economics; behavioral science; substance use; policy implications; and statistical and methodological tools for experimental psychology. He has served as a co-investigator on multiple National Institutes of Health R01 grants. In addition to his expertise in behavioral science and statistics, Brent utilizes his R programming skills to develop interactive R Shiny dashboards providing quantitative insights into cannabis use trends and robust data pipelines for CPPC. Brent conceptualized and developed the only open-source R package (beezdemand: Behavioral Economic Easy Demand) specifically designed for behavioral economic demand curve analyses. He received his undergraduate degree in the majors of Applied Behavioral Science and Psychology, his M.A. in Applied Behavioral Science, and his Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology from the University of Kansas. After graduate school, he served as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Addiction Recovery Research Center at Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, Virginia Tech. Before joining CPPC, Brent worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Kentucky.