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About 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 Office of Community & Civic Life with diverse stakeholder perspectives on cannabis-related public policies. The Body’s objective is 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. 

Portrait of Al Ochosa Chair of Cannabis Policy Oversight Team

Al Ochosa (Chair) – Director of Licensing & Corporate Relations, Cura Cannabis Solutions

Al currently oversees the insurance, risk, and safety compliance functions nationwide for Curaleaf, the largest multi-state cannabis operator in the US with active operations in 23 states and counting, including a number of licensed facilities within the City of Portland.  In addition, Al also co-leads Curaleaf In Color, the BIPOC employee resource group at Curaleaf. After 20 years in the insurance industry, Al began his career in cannabis in 2015 as the Director of Retail Operations and later as the Director of Licensing & Corporate Relations for Cura Partners (Select), which was later acquired by Curaleaf in early 2020, overseeing Cura's licensing and regulatory needs in multiple jurisdictions.  Al previously volunteered for the Minority Cannabis Cabinet and Cannabis Tax Allocation Steering Committee in the City of Portland as well.  3-year Term: January 2019 - December 2021

 Gabe Cross (Co-Vice Chair)- Co-founder of Odyssey Distribution

Portrait of Gabe Cross, CPOT member

Gabe Cross is a founding member of Odyssey Distribution, a licensed cannabis wholesaler and brand development firm. After completing his MBA at Pinchot University, he started Odyssey with 3 partners and has been an active participant in the Oregon cannabis community ever since. A longtime advocate for drug enforcement reform and sound policy, Gabe maintains active leadership roles in both local and national cannabis organizations and is at the forefront of policy discussions and planning that will shape the future of our burgeoning industry. 3-year Term: January 2021 - December 2023. Small Business Support Subcommittee (Vice Chair).

 Travis Maurer (Co-Vice Chair)- Co-Owner 420-420 Digital Media Solutions

Headshot of Travis Maurer

Travis co-founded and helped craft the strategic vision for New Approach Oregon and the Political Action Committee (PAC), Yes on Measure 91, which would legalize marijuana in Oregon in 2014. The two main strategies the PAC employed to convince over 800,000 Oregonians to legalize marijuana were: 1. To highlight the plight of Black and Brown communities who have been targeted by Oregon's racist cannabis laws; 2. How those communities would benefit from cannabis legalization in Oregon. Travis has dedicated his life to ensuring that that the campaign's promise to those communities comes to fruition by fighting for all of cannabis tax dollars to be set aside to fund science based equity programs, as well as programs that promote diversity and inclusion for those communities in the cannabis industry.

Laura Valden-Vega – Co-Owner, Green State of Mind

Portrait of Laura Valden-Vega

Laura is the co-owner and operator of Green State of Mind, a national media award winning cannabis company that was started in Portland in 2014. They received their recreational license in 2017 and the company has since expanded into multiple markets, collaborated with premiere industry brands and consulted on business viability and brand creation. Laura has a law degree from George Washington University and sits on the board of NuLeaf, a Portland non-profit providing funding and entrepreneurial up-skilling for cannabis businesses owned by people of color. 3-year Term: January 2019 - December 2021. .Small Business Support Subcommittee (Vice-Chair)

Dr. Rachel Knox – Chair, Oregon Cannabis Commission

Portrait of Dr Rachel Knox CPOT member

Dr. Rachel Knox, MD, MBA is an Endocannabinologist and Cannabinoid Medicine Specialist who co-founded the American Cannabinoid Clinics, Pivital EDU, and Cannabis Health Equity Movement. She currently serves as Chair for the Oregon Cannabis Commission, is a founding board member for the Minority Cannabis Business Association, and board member for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. 3-year Term: January 2019 - December 2021. Community Impact Subcommittee (Vice Chair).

Erik Vidstrand – Program Specialist, Multnomah County Health Department

Erick Vidstrand Portrait, CPOT Member

Erik Vidstrand, MPH, has almost 32 years of tobacco control and prevention experience from California, Texas, and Oregon. He is currently a Program Specialist with the Multnomah County Health Department. Vidstrand assisted Portland and Mt. Hood Community Colleges and then Portland State University with implementing their tobacco free policies. He has also contributed to passing strong comprehensive tobacco free policies with Multnomah County, City of Portland Parks and Recreation, and has provided technical assistance for Trimet, Metro, and the VA Hospital. He coordinates enforcement of the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act and is an inspector with the Tobacco Retail Licensing program. Vidstrand holds a Master of Public Health and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Child Development from California State University, Northridge.

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 the on developing curriculum and an internship program in order to eliminate the experiential barriers within the cannabis industry.  3-year Term: January 2021 - December 2023.  Small Business Support Subcommittee (Vice Chair).

Jesce Horton - Owner of LOWD

Portrait of Jesce Horton, CPOT member

Jesce Horton is an engineer by education, an energy management and automation expert through training, and a horticulturalist by passion. In 2013, soon after moving to Portland, OR, Jesce began growing medical cannabis in his home for two elderly patients who were suffering with cancer, pain and insomnia. After having success in medical cannabis cultivation, Jesce founded LOWD, an adult-use Tier I indoor connoisseur focused cultivation facility in metro Portland. Also, he co-founded the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), the first and largest non-profit organization founded to create equal access and economic empowerment for cannabis businesses, their patients, and the communities most affected by the war on drugs. 3-year Term: January 2021 - December 2023. Small Business Support Subcommittee (Chair).

Amber Peterson-Phillips -  M.B.A., D.M. Doctoral Candidate 

Portrait of Amber Peterson-Phillips, CPOT member

Amber has continued moving through degrees and years, now she is working on the final stage of her doctoral degree in management and Organizational Leadership. She has been a member of Portland Neighborhood Teams (PNET) since 2011 being trained in basic and advanced first aid, search and rescue, earthquake aftermath mitigation, and other trainings. She also enjoys hiking, fishing, camping, snowshoeing, gardening, cooking and reading. Amber is committed to listening to all points of view, digging deep to find solutions, and most of all committed to the City of Portland and all community members within. 3-year Term: January 2021 - December 2023. Community Impact Subcommittee (Chair).

Portrait of Hannah Hohendorf

Hannah Hohendorf, M.H.A. Healthcare IT Professional

Hannah is a clinical laboratory scientist by education and training, but now works in healthcare information technology. During her master’s education she became interested in studying the impact of public policy on community health and is excited to focus on cannabis and its impact on the City of Portland.  

Portrait of CPOT member Rosa Cazares

Rosa Cazares and her partner began their groundbreaking careers in the Oregon Cannabis Industry. Once in Oregon, they developed compliance measures as one of the first medical license holders and weathered the challenges that came with recreational legislation.  She has been able to develop and cultivate the state's largest privately owned cannabis company, providing employment to a new unique group of people. Now, after 7 years, Rosa oversees the success of 30 retail locations, wholesalers, processor facilities, and multiple farms. 

Rosa has added to her list of accomplishments advocating for essential and beneficial changes within the industry. She strives to provide the industry with innovative thinking that improves the quality of business and the quality of life for employees. Working with different committees and associations has provided her with the ability to advocate and build a positive rapport with local and state agencies. 

Portrait of CPOT member Natalie Darves

Natalie Darves 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.

CPOT Subcommittees

Community Impact Subcommittee

  • Travis Maurer (Chair)
  • Amber Phillips-Peterson (Vice Chair)
  • Clair Raujol
  • Anne Bledsoe
  • Justin McDonald

Competency Subcommittee

  • Savina Monet  (Chair)
  • Zoe Sigman
  • Matthew Clearly
  • Kathy Rowell
  • Natalie Darves 

Small Business Subcommittee

  • Jesce Horton (Chair)
  • Bret Born (Vice Chair)
  • Gabe Cross
  • Zoe Sigman
  • Matthew Clearly
  • Laura Valden-Vega
  • Eddy Montes
  • Casey Houlihan

When We Meet

CPOT holds public meetings the second and last Thursday of each month, from 6:00 to 7:30pm. Due to COVID-19, all CPOT meetings are held virtually. To join the meeting, please call:

877- 853- 5257 US Toll-free

Meeting ID: 842 4439 6993

To view past meeting agendas and minutes please visit this page.


Dasheeda Dawson

Cannabis Program Supervisor