Eric Steenstra is a hemp industry pioneer, co-founding hemp clothing and lifestyle brand Ecolution with Steve DeAngelo in 1992. Eric was a founding member of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and served as Executive Director from 2008 to 2016. Eric now serves as the president of Vote Hemp, the political advocacy organization that he co-founded in 2000 and Vice President of the California Hemp Council. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and trusted source to the media, including CBS, New York Times, Forbes, CNN, Rolling Stone, Reuters and the Washington Post.
Vote Hemp lead the effort to pass hemp farming legislation nationwide. In 2005, Steenstra worked with Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) to draft the first modern U.S. hemp legislation introduced in Congress (H.R. 3037). In 2012 he worked with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) to get companion hemp legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 3501). Steenstra worked with Congressman Polis (D-CO) and Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) to have hemp legislation included in the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the first legal hemp farming in over 50 years and resulted in 78,176 acres of hemp being planted across 24 states in 2018. Vote Hemp also played an integral role in the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill including fully removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.
David Bronner is Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America and producer of a range of organic body care and food products. He is a grandson of company founder, Emanuel Bronner, and a fifth-generation soapmaker. Under David and his brother Michael’s leadership, the brand has grown from $4 million in 1998 to over $111 million in annual revenue in 2017.
David and Michael established Dr. Bronner’s as a sustainable leader in the natural products industry by becoming one of the first body care brands to formulate with hemp seed oil in 1999 and to certify its soaps, lotions, balms, and other personal care products under the USDA National Organic Program in 2003. Both actions resulted in high-profile litigation with government agencies, DEA and USDA respectively, that Dr. Bronner’s ultimately won, cementing Dr. Bronner’s activist orientation in the natural products marketplace. Over the years, David and Dr. Bronner’s have been key leaders in fights for GMO labeling, industrial hemp farming in the U.S., high-bar organic and fair trade standards, cannabis reform, and a fair minimum wage.
Today, David is helping to lead the effort to establish the Regenerative Organic Certified standard, dedicating time and resources to creating an integrated, comprehensive program that addresses soil health, animal welfare, and fair labor practices to advance sustainable and ecological alternatives to industrial agriculture.
Dr. Bronner’s partners with certified Fair Trade projects to source all major ingredients, including olive oil from Palestine and Israel, coconut oil from Sri Lanka, peppermint oil from India, and sustainable palm oil from Ghana. Dr. Bronner’s is committed to certifying its Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and all soap products and their main ingredients including coconut, olive, palm kernel and mint oils (95% of the brand’s agricultural volume by weight) to the new Regenerative Organic Certified standard in 2018. Furthermore, Dr. Bronner’s is a founding partner in the Climate Collaborative, which leverages the power of the Natural Products Industry to compel action on climate change.
In addition to his support of advocacy for regenerative organic agriculture, David directs Dr. Bronner’s resources to support animal advocacy, wage equality, and drug policy reform. One of his passions is the responsible integration of cannabis and psychedelic medicine into American and global culture and he is a board member of the Multi-Disciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies. His activism embodies the company’s mission — which encompasses a commitment to making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and to dedicating profits to help make a better world.
David was born in Los Angeles, California in 1973 and earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard University. He is a dedicated vegan and enjoys surfing and dancing late into the night. He currently lives in Encinitas, California.
Patrick Goggin is a Senior Attorney at Hoban Law Group. He has waged battle on the frontlines of industrial hemp and general cannabis reform for two decades. Earning an Environmental Law Certificate from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, Mr. Goggin was admitted to the California Bar in 1996. Based in San Francisco, he served as co-counsel in the seminal HIA v. DEA cases in the early 2000s. Later, Mr. Goggin led the industry effort with Senator Mark Leno in 2013 to finally pass California’s Industrial Hemp Farming Act after three vetoes.
Mr. Goggin began working on medical cannabis regulation in San Francisco in 2005 when the City commenced its regulation of dispensaries. Since then, he has represented clients throughout Northern California on compliance issues and permitting of all facets of medical cannabis activity. He served on San Francisco’s Medical Cannabis Task Force from 2010-11.
Presently, Mr. Goggin sits on Vote Hemp’s board and is working to implement hemp research in California. He recently joined Hoban Law Group full-time and continues to advise clients on all forms of cannabis compliance. With a long history of litigating, Mr. Goggin is a trained mediator and has a respected reputation as a dispute resolution specialist.
Christina Volgyesi is Vice President of Marketing at Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America. Her responsibilities include helping shape brand strategy, as well as developing cause-marketing, and advocacy campaigns. Christina manages the company’s digital marketing team, design department, packaging production, and new product development. She’s taken a leadership role in developing and managing industry-wide campaigns in support of a living wage, fair trade, and industrial hemp farming.
Christina has over fifteen years of experience in sales and marketing in the natural products industry and was the former president of Living Harvest Foods, a hemp foods brand she co-founded with her husband. Christina sits on the Board of Directors of Vote Hemp, an industrial hemp advocacy group as well as the Advisory Board of the Climate Collaborative, a project of OSC2 that works to encourage natural product companies to make climate action commitments. Prior to getting involved in the natural products industry, Christina worked in advertising in Canada and Europe.
Christina loves to practice yoga and hike in the Pacific NW where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She was born in Toronto, Canada and currently lives in Portland, Oregon.
Rick Trojan brings over 21 years of entrepreneurial expertise, a vast global network and passion to cannabis. Motivated by extensive history, positive impact and the plant itself, Trojan understands the need to accurately portray the benefits of a once flourishing plant stigmatized through a century of propaganda. He constantly strives to build a platform to encourage hemp potential through strategic alliances. His journey began as a personal experience that launched his passion for this cause, creating the Hemp Road Trip in 2015. He continues to expand education to other continents where cannabis legalization has led to an industrial boom. His work assists in uniting the industry on a global scale by bridging the gaps, building the foundations and extending the overall network. Trojan brings his passion, extensive business experience, and global cannabis networks on the quest to educate and develop solutions.