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About the Cannabis Policy Oversight Team (CPOT)

The Cannabis Policy Oversight Team consists of cannabis industry representatives and others that possess an in-depth understanding of issues affecting and affected by the cannabis industry.
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What We Do

The Cannabis Policy Oversight Team (CPOT) provides the Bureau of Development Services with diverse stakeholder perspectives on cannabis-related public policies. The team's objectives are to discuss and develop policies that support equitable access and outcomes for the cannabis industry, cannabis consumers, and all City of Portland residents. 

CPOT holds recurring public meetings to hear from Portlanders and discuss cannabis policies. They also advise and work with local government officials to develop policies that support equitable access and outcomes for the cannabis industry, cannabis consumers, and all Portlanders. 

Who We Are

CPOT consists of cannabis industry representatives and others that possess an in-depth understanding of issues affecting and affected by the cannabis industry. 

Bobbie Benavidez, Small Business Advisor (CPOT Vice-Chair)

Bobbie Benavidez

Bobbie is a small business advisor and consultant with more than five years in retail and operations experience in Cannabis. His foray into cannabis was as an operations coordinator, where he oversaw the opening and acquisitions of more than 20 store locations. As of now, he aids small business owners navigate opening and running their small businesses here in Portland and statewide. He believes in the power of community and recognizes the power of business ownership and its impacts. Cannabis has historically been a device of oppression against minority groups, and he wants to repurpose it as a tool to bring these groups back together. 

Bobbie has a history in social equity work and empowering BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities with local non-profits here in Portland. He takes any opportunity to engage deeply in matters that impact these communities and strive to make meaningful change. 

Meghan Blake, Student, Portland State University

Portrait of CPOT member Meghan Blake

Meghan is a fervent cannabis advocate who has been in the legal industry for the last five years. Her passion is cannabis compliance and education and believes in empowering people through knowledge and community. She has brought her cannabis compliance expertise to farms, wholesales, and dispensaries. In addition, Meghan is a full-time student at Portland State University. She is in the final stages of her Human Resources and Social Innovation degree. She hopes to help push the cannabis industry in a more equitable direction by creating spaces safe for all people and reemphasizing the medicinal properties of cannabis. 

Tony Birch, Founder & CEO Broadway Cannabis Market, Mint Cannabis Co., Fire Dept. & Feel Goods 

Tony Birch CPOT

After an early career in the solar energy industry, Tony Birch set his sights on a new frontier in 2014, launching his first cannabis business at a time when the industry was operating under medical rules. After successfully navigating the early regulatory landscape, he sold the company in 2019 and set his sights on building a comprehensive cannabis portfolio. Since then, he has spearheaded the launch of multiple retail locations, a state-of-the-art processing and distribution facility complete with a kitchen for producing cannabis edibles, and a thriving grow operation. Tony's achievements have been recognized by the Portland Business Journal, which named him one of their 40 Under 40 Business Leaders, and he hopes to bring a deep knowledge of the cannabis industry and point of view to the CPOT. 

Bret Born, Owner of Rec Rehab Consulting, Ascend Dispensary and Perfect Puff Brand 

Portrait of Bret Born, CPOT Member

Prior to working in the cannabis industry, Bret spent 25 years working in public education as a special education teacher, administrator, and social equity coordinator. Bret holds advanced degrees in special education, educational administration, and educational policy. As a business owner, Bret has been focused on developing curriculum and an internship program in order to eliminate the experiential barriers within the cannabis industry.  

Rain Britten, Community Member (CPOT Chair)


As a local Portlander, I have dedicated my career to the legitimization of cannabis for the last 13 years. Working in medical dispensaries, through to recreational sales. This has afforded me the amazing opportunity to work with many different operators and license types across the country. Partnering with software operators & retail operators, I have had exposure to hundreds of brands and operators across the nation. I am hoping my experiences from working so closely with Oregon as well as with other states will provide a different perspective to problem solving, and ways to improve our immediate cannabis community in Portland.

Sherman Brown, CEO of Xclusives Taste Retail, A Black Owned Cannabis Dispensary

Sherman Brown Headshot

In 2018, Sherman entered the cannabis industry at ground level, starting as a product packager before gaining experience in cultivation, processing, and retail. Recognizing the industry's lack of diversity and consumer representation, Sherman founded Xclusives Taste with the aim of fostering inclusivity. In 2022 Sherman began as a delivery company and successfully transitioned into a retail store front by 2024. Despite facing challenges such as funding and disparities for minority businesses, he continues to demonstrate resilience and determination while contributing his valuable experience to improve the culture surrounding the cannabis community.

At the core of Sherman's mission is a commitment to fostering positive change, hard work, and unwavering dedication. He seeks to inspire others to pursue their dreams and believes fervently in the power of community enhancement and development. With a strong emphasis on empowering youth and supporting black-owned minority businesses, Sherman champions equality and equity in all facets of life.

Ruby Chevreuil, Community Member


Ruby Chevreuil is joining as a community member and small business owner who is passionate about equity for BIPOC communities who have been impacted by unjust and institutionally racist cannabis laws. She holds a degree in Sociology and Community Studies and has extensive experience working in nonprofits. Topics she is passionate about include sustainability, land back initiatives, labor rights and slow fashion. She’s hopeful for radical changes in historically oppressive institutions and hopes her perspective can help make way for that.

Shannon Curran, Account Manager Kaprikorn Craft Cannabis

Shannon Curran

After spending the last 15 years teaching in multiple environments and advocating for the Oregon wine industry, Shannon has currently found herself in cannabis sales. As a firm believer in cannabis medicine, she has been actively participating in various aspects of this industry: cultivation, processing, compliance, distribution, and most recently legislation. Recognizing the need for more community advocates, Shannon has joined CPOT to assist in the fight for economic equity not only for Portland, but for the entire state of Oregon.

Natalie Darves, Founder Cougar Acres Consulting 

Portrait of CPOT member Natalie Darves

Natalie has more than 15 years of experience in outdoor cannabis cultivation; Natalie continues to disseminate her knowledge and philosophy of sustainable, closed-loop, “beyond organic” horticultural models and best business practices as the Chair of the Business Department of Oaksterdam University, the longest-running cannabis college in the United States. Natalie Darves is also the founder and Managing Partner of Oregon-based Cougar Acres Consulting (C.A.C.), a seed-to-sale strategy and content firm. 

Natalie completed her Executive M.B.A. from Sonoma State University, with an emphasis in the Wine Business, in 2015. Since completing her EMBA, Natalie has assisted dozens of cannabis companies in developing strategies and content to compete in the burgeoning cannabis market, focusing on legacy operators. She is also assisting many government-led social equity programs throughout the country, helping to provide education and curriculum to those most disadvantaged by the failed War on Drugs.

Terah Ebie, Cannabis Advocate and Business Leader

Terah Ebie CPOT

Terah is a passionate advocate and leader in the cannabis industry driven by her commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion. Her journey into activism began by volunteering with the decriminalization effort which eventually propelled Washington State to establish one of the first recreational cannabis markets in the country. Terah’s activism continued with her leadership of several political action committees, candidate campaigns, and local party organizations where her efforts aided in expanded access to cannabis and the advancement of progressive policies. 

Currently serving as the Director of Brands & Products at Nimble Distro, Terah is motivated by the profound impact that initial contributors have in shaping the trajectory of our rapidly expanding industry. As a member of several committees on cannabis standards and policies worldwide, Terah's strategic approach to activism involves building coalitions, educating industry stakeholders, and leading by example. Terah is also a proud Board Member of the Queer Youth Resource Center.

Leah Maurer, Community Organizer and Activist

Leah Maurer CPOT

Leah is a community organizer and activist who lives in Portland, Oregon with her family of 5.  The bulk of her professional and work experience for the past decade has been in the cannabis sector. She is one of the owners of 420-420 Digital Media Solutions, which includes The Weed Blog, one of the top cannabis news and information publications.  Aside from her company, Leah does freelance journalism and consulting in the cannabis sector as well.   Beginning in 2014, Leah has co-founded grassroots advocacy groups who helped change cannabis policy in both Oregon and Missouri including a group called Moms for YES on Measure 91 which proved to be pivotal in legalizing adult-use cannabis in Oregon.  She is a founding member of the Oregon Economic Equity Investment PAC, which passed legislation to establish the Economic Equity Investment Act in spring of 2022. Additionally, since 2016, Leah has been on the board of directors and currently serves as President for Historic Parkrose, a neighborhood prosperity initiative micro nonprofit working to improve economic development and vitality in her district of Portland. Leah values community building, social justice, and civic engagement and it shows through her volunteer service and work endeavors.

John Monteleone


Meet John Vincent Monteleone III - a passionate and experienced individual who has dedicated over 15 years to the cannabis industry. Originally from Bend, John moved to Portland in 2006 to focus on the hospitality industry and refine his skills as an organic cultivator. Over the years, he has gained extensive knowledge in organic and sustainable cannabis cultivation and recreational retail sales, making him an expert in the field. John has a unique perspective of the cannabis world, having come from the medical community and transitioning into the recreational system in 2016. He has recently decided to step down from the recreational OLCC industry and start advocating and consulting for small businesses and the BIPOC community. His goal is to create a fair and just system that will ensure legacy doesn't get lost by corporate cannabis and outdated policies. One of John's main focuses is changing the perception of cannabis and consumption rules and understanding. He believes that the industry can come together to create a unique and robust cannabis consumption space within the City of Portland. His vision is for Portland to become one of the best cannabis tour destinations in the country by combining food and cannabis, alongside having places for the community to consume without prejudice. 

Brett Mulligan, Community Member

Brett Mulligan

Brett joined CPOT in February 2023. As a student at Willamette University College of Law from 2018-2021 Brett served as a member of the college's Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) organization and worked on several equity bills at the Oregon Legislature: HB 4088 (2020), HB 3112 (2021), and SB 1579 (2022). Brett has provided guest lectures at cannabis law classes at Willamette and Lewis & Clark law school, and was cited as an expert in the California Western Law Review article "Racial Justice and Marijuana".

When We Meet

CPOT holds public meetings on the second Thursday of each month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Due to COVID-19, all CPOT meetings are held virtually. To join the meeting, please review the Agenda for call in phone number and meeting ID:

View past meeting agendas and minutes.

CPOT Bylaws

Cannabis Policy Oversight Team Bylaws are the governing rules by which the advisory body operates. The body may vote to recommend to the Bureau Director amendment or repeal of these Bylaws. The Bureau may also recommend changes to the Bureau Director. The Bureau Director must sign off on original bylaws and any amendments to the bylaws. Members have no authority to amend bylaws without approval.