California’s Top Cannabis Regulator to Keynote Sonoma County Conference May 9

Photo Credit: Damian Dovarganes

Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, will return for a second year as the keynote speaker for the North Bay Business Journal’s North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference Wednesday, May 9.

Among the speakers on an industry panel will be William Silver, CEO of CannaCraft, a medical cannabis manufacturer in Santa Rosa.

The conference is underwritten by the law firm Farella, Braun + Martel.

“We are very fortunate to again have Lori Ajax just months into efforts to license cannabis businesses,” said Business Journal Publisher Brad Bollinger. “In addition to hearing from Lori, panels will focus on the future of the industry and the insurance, finance and other challenges it faces.”

Keynote speaker Ajax was previously chief deputy director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) where she had served in multiple positions since 1998, including deputy division chief, district administrator and supervising investigator. As deputy division chief, assigned to the department’s headquarters office, she oversaw several statewide programs.

She began her career as an investigator in ABC’s Santa Rosa District office in 1995 and then transferred to Sacramento to work in the Trade Enforcement Unit where she promoted to Supervising Investigator. In 2006, she was promoted to district administrator, eventually overseeing the licensing and enforcement operations of 20 counties in Northern California.

Ajax also served as an investigator at the California Fair Political Practices Commission in 1997–1998. Ajax spent 10 years in private industry prior to her state government career.

Silver is the former dean of Sonoma State University’s School of Business and Economics. He helped raise $11 million for the university’s Wine Spectator Learning Center and has served on the boards of the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber of Commerce and Sonoma County Vintners.

The conference will be from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country in Santa Rosa. Tickets are $75 or a table of 10 for $715. Register online: or call Annette Wirick at 707-521-5264.