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Patrick Gagne, Avid Growing Systems

is President and CEO of Avid Growing Systems Inc. and Founder & CEO of CannaCure Corporation, Patrick Gagné put the right team together to develop a comprehensive growing solution that addresses the challenges of commercially growing marijuana. Prior to his success in the green rush, Patrick was involved in building several companies in the telecom and logistics sector, giving him a wealth of experience to draw upon as he began to build his own.

Marijuana cultivation being his true passion, he went on to found CannaCure Corp in Ft. Erie, ON., with a focus on testing and developing strains and products to provide effective patient care. He worked extensively with the city to develop a plan to bring large scale marijuana cultivation to the Niagara region, and successfully secured a 122,000 sf former pharmaceutical manufacturing plant from which to operate.

While waiting for final approval from Health Canada to begin operations, Patrick managed a team of professionals to develop processes and methods of cultivation of several strains of marijuana safely and cost effectively. Though the aeroponics-based system they designed was originally developed as a CannaCure’s own competitive advantage, it became clear that it was too good to keep to themselves. From there, Avid Growing Systems was born.Since the inception of Avid Growing Systems, Patrick and his team have dedicated themselves to assisting other entrepreneurs with navigating the cannabis landscape, from the licensing process to establishing practices that lead to long-term success in the industry. Patrick is passionate about educating cultivators on patient safety, product integrity and consistency, and energy efficiency.  

Joseph Rosado, MD

​​Dr. Rosado was born and raised in New York City (the Bronx).  His healthcare career spans over 35 years with positions as an orderly, an EMT, a paramedic, a Heart Catheterization Lab Technicians, a chiropractor, a medical doctor, a clinical researcher, and a medical executive/administrator.  Presently, he is a practicing in Orange City, Florida providing optimal and affordable primary care services, together with peripheral nerve blocks, trigger point injections, joint injections, prolotherapy, spinal manipulations, Suboxone Therapy, Therapeutic Cannabis Treatment, Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy and Medical Weight Loss (HCG) in a high volume Primary/Urgent Care clinic in both English and Spanish.  

Juan Sanchez-Ramos, PhD, MD

Dr. Sanchez-Ramos received a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Physiology from the University of Chicago and a medical degree (M.D.) from the University of Illinois. His PhD thesis work focused on the mechanisms of opiate dependence in monkey models. He trained in Neurology at the University of Chicago and as a Fellow in Movement Disorders at the University of Miami. Currently, he is a Professor of Neurology at the University of South Florida in Tampa where he holds the Helen Ellis Endowed Chair for Parkinson's Disease Research and is Director of the HDSA Center of Excellence for Huntington’s Disease. In addition to teaching and attending to patients with Movement Disorders, he directs a basic research laboratory with active projects in neurodegeneration, neurotoxicology and adult stem cell biology. He is also Medical Director of the Parkinson Research Foundation based in Sarasota FL. He has a long-standing interest in ethnopharmacology and has published on the use of banisterine in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, collaborated on research on the possible medicinal applications of ibogaine and was an Investigator in the NIDA-sponsored compassionate use of Cannabis protocol. Publications: Over 300 scientific articles (includes original research, chapters, published abstracts and letters).

Stephen Blythe, DO

Dr. Stephen Blythe is a board-certified family physician. He has a degree in biology from MIT and studied nutrition in graduate school at Penn State before going to medical school at the University of New England in Maine. He has practiced emergency medicine, extremely rural family medicine, academic medicine (faculty of a family practice residency) and has provided health care on multiple medical mission trips, including spending several months in the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico during the Guatemalan civil war providing care to refugees.

In his thirty years of practice he has always studied plant medicines, including making two trips to the rainforests with James Duke, PhD (author of "The Green Pharmacy" and many academic publications).

Dr. Blythe recently returned to Florida after spending five years practicing in rural Maine where he participated in Maine's Medical Marijuana Program, certifying - and recertifying - many patients with a wide variety of medical problems.


conferences 2016-17

Gregory L. Smith, MD, MPH, Keynote 

Dr. Gregory Smith earned his medical degree from Rush Medical School in Chicago, and a Masters of Public Health from Harvard University. He completed residency training in Preventive Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Since leaving the US Army with the rank of Major, Doctor Smith has been in primary care practice in California, Georgia and Florida for the past 25 years. He first trained on use of medical cannabis in California in 2000, and has made medical cannabis and CBD oil part of his practice since that time.

Dr. Smith is an avid writer, having published two medical textbooks, a novel called Malpractice, and articles with many magazines and over a dozen peer reviewed medical publications.

Dr. Smith has been working with medical cannabis-related issues full-time for the past 2½ years. He is Director of Medical Affairs for First Harvest Financial, Inc. (a cannabis business investment firm), and for CBC Biotechnologies, Inc. (a manufacturer of biosynthesized cannabinoids and terpenes). He is also Director of Medical Affairs, with Cognition Life Sciences Inc., a company currently involved with research trials of Cognizol, a THC-based nasal spray for Alzheimer's disease.

Angela Ardolino, CannaCure Florida and Parenting with Angela

is an entrepreneur, publisher, and nationally recognized parenting and family expert, perhaps best recognized for Parenting with Angela. Recently Angela grew frustrated seeing countless families facing major health problems, for which no traditional medical treatment or pharmacological remedy was proving effective, affordable, and safe—all while knowing that cannabis products provided relief and oftentimes recovery, but were not yet legal in Florida. With a constitutional amendment providing for medical marijuana on Florida’s 2016 ballot, Ardolino sold her ownership of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine to partner with Avid Growing Systems in launching CannaCure in the US, a company dedicated to cultivating and processing the purest medical cannabis products, with the lowest environmental impact. One of her first accomplishments as CEO of the newly founded CannaCure Florida was to establish Canna Conferences, to develop, support and promote educational programming for medical professionals, business leaders and patients about the effective use of medical marijuana to treat a host of debilitating patient illnesses. Ardolino is active in Women Grow and United for Care, and is currently pursuing a professional certification in cannabis for therapeutic use from the University of Vermont College of Medicine.


David DeGraff, The Grow School
is currently the CEO of The Grow School, Denver Colorado and the lead instructor for the ComfyTree Grow School. He has been with The Grow School since it’s formation in 2009. David holds certification in "Cannabis (Marijauana) for Medical Use” that is accepted by the Board of Nursing in all 50 states and all US territories. He is an honorably discharged Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and holds both letters of Commendation and Appreciation for his military service. 

David has over 27 years of experience growing cannabis, including 7 years while living in Holland and France, as well as 7 years of experience growing as a Licensed Colorado Medical Marijuana patient and caregiver. He is also head of Instructor Training at The Grow School, and in his off time serves as President of the Board of Directors of newly forming Colorado Museum of Cannabis and Hemp History in Denver. David got his official start in the Colorado Cannabis Industry in 2008 as the founder of “The Colorado Kindness Association” (CKA). Addressing the fact that there were no licensed dispensaries at this time in Colorado, he and the CKA solicited and donated free cannabis to terminally ill Colorado Medical Marijuana patients.

Tiffany Bowden, Minority Cannabis Association 

is the President of the Minority Cannabis Association. Prior to launching the Minority Cannabis business association with her peers, she has played an active role in social justice, advocacy and education. 

She holds a master's degree in Media Studies from Ohio University and is a PhD Candidate at the University of Illinois specializing in media represenation politics and the impact that those representations have on societies. She has been chiefly concerned with the way that African Americans have been historically represented in mediated portrayals. 

Tiffany's background in advertising and marketing serving companies like Procter & Gamble, Groupon, McDonald's, Arnold Worldwide and Barefoot Proximity has taught her the power and impact of representation. She believes that the cannabis industry has been blocked by historical propaganda and that that some propaganda acts as a barrier from allowing people of both genders and all cultural backgrounds to participate equally. She is committed to being a stand for people who need the industry to move forward.


Selim R. Benbadis, MD

Dr. Benbadis is a French citizen, born in Paris. He obtained his MD at the University of Nice (Nice, France), where he completed a residency in Family Medicine. He then moved to the U.S., and completed his Neurology Residency at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, in Cleveland, Ohio, where he stayed an additional 2 years to complete a fellowship in Epilepsy, EEG, and Sleep Medicine. He is Board-certified in Neurology, Epilepsy & Clinical Neurophysiology, and Sleep Medicine.

 Dr. Benbadis is currently Professor of Neurology at the University of South Florida. He is Director of the University of South Florida /Tampa General Hospital Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, the busiest surgical epilepsy center in Florida with >50 resections per year. His interests are in the diagnosis and management of seizures that are difficult to control, and the misdiagnosis of epilepsy. He has authored over 100 article and book chapters. He also has a strong interest in medical writing and editing, and serves on several Editorial Boards. Finally, he has a strong interest in Education, serves as Faculty on numerous courses each year, and has received several teaching awards.