Bethany Niebauer

Board President

Bethany Niebauer first entered the cannabis industry in 2015 and has loved putting her writing skills to good use ever since. She specializes in preparing license applications in emerging markets for clients who have limited experience with the cannabis industry. She has created compelling, compliant applications in over a dozen jurisdictions, and has won in many competitive jurisdictions.

Quite simply: Bethany has an impressive history that gets results. Each state has its own complex laws that must be understood and adhered to when preparing an application, and Bethany enjoys the challenge created by this state-specific model. Her applications are always in line with the client’s values, mission, and goals, and she spends a lot of time with clients helping them fully develop their ideas.

Originally from North Carolina, she enjoys reading, knitting, hiking, and snowboarding. Bethany holds a B.A. in French from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and a J.D. from the Charlotte School of Law.

Ernest Toney

Board Vice President

Ernest Toney is the founder of BIPOCANN, a company that is working to make the legal cannabis industry more accessible and profitable for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) business owners, contractors, and professionals. His company bridges industry gaps in BIPOC representation through consulting, recruitment programs, and a growing membership network of supporters, allies, and advocates for equity in cannabis.

Prior to BIPOCANN, Ernest led international and partnership marketing initiatives at Marijuana Business Daily – the leading business news information resource the medical and retail cannabis industry, and host and producer of MJBizCon – where he helped expand their industry partnerships, global newsletter readership, and event marketing presence in Europe, Latin America, and North America.

Jessica Cristadoro

Board Secretary

Jessica Cristadoro is a renowned food and beverage industry leader, policy impacter, and celebrated concept through commercialization innovator. Through her leadership roles at Denver-based Food Business Consulting and as CEO of the cannabis industry-focused food & beverage development house, The ViViD Team, it is hard to find a consumer packaged goods aisle across the nation without a product she has impacted throughout her career.

In addition to mainstream food and beverage product development and commercialization, Jessica is skilled in intellectual property development, research and development (R&D), food science, regulatory, compliance, and diligence across the global CPG, beverage, personal care, and fast-growing cannabis as an ingredient landscape.

In addition to Cristadoro’s work on national mainstream CPG industry processes and standards, she serves as an Advisor to the Colorado MED science & policy and social equity boards, where she works to advance the cannabis and hemp industries through data-driven legislation in meaningful and manageable ways.

Jessica is the driving force behind the first collaborative cannabis industry accelerator focused on crossing the mainstream divide between cannabis and the most recognized brands in the consumer package goods industry. The accelerator provides early-stage companies with funding and opportunities to engage with mentors, partners, and investors committed to bringing creative solutions to the market and closing the gaps to commercialization for social equity license holders and brand builders. By investing in the education and development of cannabis entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas, the accelerator aims to create a more sustainable future for the cannabis economy.

David B. Bush, Esq.

Board Treasurer & IHRF Co-Founder

David Bush is a senior attorney with the Clark Hill, PLC, where he represents farmers, processors, manufacturers, retailers and other professionals in industrial hemp and marijuana.

His current practice focuses primarily on regulatory compliance, corporate formation and governance, contract preparation and review, and commercial litigation.

David B. Bush earned his B.A. in economics at Colgate University and and an M.S. in agricultural economics at the University of Arizona, before earning his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School. He practiced law in Wisconsin and Minnesota before moving to Colorado in 1997. David worked as a staff attorney at the office of the Colorado Attorney General and the Denver District Attorney. He practiced civil litigation with the firm of Markusson, Green & Jarvis. After hemp was legalized in Colorado, David established his own solo practice to offer legal services in hemp business law, regulatory compliance, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, before joining the Hoban Law Group in January 2017.

David is admitted to practice in all courts in Colorado, as well as the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC. He is a member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). David also is a member of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the oldest and largest trade association for the hemp industry in America, where he served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors, and also is member of the Colorado state chapter of HIA.

David continues to be involved as a stakeholder in various Colorado state initiatives on hemp. He was appointed to a panel of industry experts to report to the State General Assembly on the potential for hemp-based animal feeds. He was appointed to another panel of experts for the legislatively-established Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan, which was charged with making policy and legislative recommendations to facilitate the intrastate and interstate transportation of hemp. He is the President of the Industrial Hemp Research Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit public charity, supporting hemp-related education and research at institutions of higher education.

Paul G. Isham

Board Member at Large & IHRF Co-founder

Since retiring from over 38 years in the Technology and IT Services industry and as co-founder of the IHRF, Mr. Isham has been focused on building a company – Greener Environmental LLC – providing cannabis (hemp & marijuana) waste management solutions, serving the cannabis cultivator and product processing sector.

Offering state compliant and sustainable waste remediation / recycling services as Cannacycl℠ and building patent-pending “smart” grinder / shredder units under the trade name MariWaste® the company plans to begin producing usable bi-products from the waste material in 2024 to ensure greener, carbon neutral recycled materials produced for the Building & Construction, Agriculture and Automotive industries, as a start.

Mr. Isham holds a BA in Business and Marketing Communications from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, Texas and an associate degree in computer science from Sam Houston State University at Huntsville, Texas.

Chris Foltz

Board Member at Large

Chris Foltz is a renowned startup advisor, transformation strategist, inspirational speaker, & Managing Director of the Silicon Valley-based global advisory firm Responsible Solutions Ltd. From his roots in partisan politics to a battle with drug addiction, 119 days in jail, losing everything, and facing homelessness, Chris is now one of the most sought-after strategic advisors and engaging initiators of unique, impact-focused, go-to-market collaborations around the world.

In 2021, Foltz’s transformative leadership was recognized through an invitation to the Institute for Real Growth’s ‘IRG100’, a cohort of the top 100 CMOs, change agents, & growth leaders worldwide. Foltz’s inclusion was the first from his industry, & he spent seven months directly collaborating with Fortune 100 C-level peers from iconic mainstream companies like Google, Unilever, Facebook, P&G, AB InBev, & Ford.


Brian Keegan

Institutional Board Member

Brian C. Keegan is a computational social scientist whose research is at the intersection of human-computer interaction, network science and data science. His research explores the structure and dynamics of large-scale online communication and collaboration using socio-technical system log data. Brian is developing new methods, theories and tools to help people make better sense of bursts of information and design better responses to them.

Before joining CU-Boulder, Keegan was a research associate at the Harvard Business School’s HBX online learning platform and a postdoctoral researcher in computational social science at Northeastern University. He received his PhD in media, technology and society from Northwestern University’s School of Communication. He also earned SB degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Science, Technology and Society from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Eugene Kelly, Ph.D.

Institutional Board Member​

Dr. Kelly conducts research and lectures nationally and internationally on various aspects of soils as related to global change issues. His scientific specialization is pedology and geochemistry with primary interests in the biological weathering of soil and studies of soil degradation and global biogeochemical cycles. His current research is centered on global soil degradation and the fundamental role of grassland in global biogeochemical cycles. Dr. Kelly holds a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley, and B.S. and M.S. degrees from Colorado State University. He is a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America and is the recipient of the 2016 Soil Science of America Research Award. He serves as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the National Cooperative Soil Survey and the National Science Foundation. A marathoner and triathlete, he currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Jeff Smith, Ph.D.

Institutional Board Member​

Jeff received his BA/BS from the University of Minnesota then received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Neuroscience from the University of New Mexico. Jeff serves on the Steering Committee at the Institute of Cannabis Research based at CSU-Pueblo and will act as an academic advisor and liaison between the ICR and IHRF. Jeff recently finished a project that investigated how CBD impacts on learning and memory, and will continue to investigate how related cannabinoids impact degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

In Memoriam

Louis Miller

Board Member at Large

Louis is the owner and founder of Miller Soils LLC, a grassroots, family owned soil business specializing in biochar-based, custom blends and grow medias. Louis and Miller Soils produces only the finest quality all-natural products for home gardening to large-scale cultivation. He is also a three year member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), and a National sponsor and member of the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA).