Eric Steenstra has over 30 years experience in the cannabis and hemp industry. In 1993, Eric cofounded and created the pioneering hemp fashion brand Ecolution with cannabis activist and business leader Steve DeAngelo. Ecolution created a popular line of 100% hemp clothing and accessories sourced from Hungary and Romania and sold to retail stores across the US, Canada and Germany.
Eric was actively involved in the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) from its inception in 1994 including serving as a board member, Vice President and President. He took over as Executive Director of HIA in 2008 and served in that role until December 2016, guiding the organization to over 400% growth in membership during his tenure.
Eric is a co-founder and the current president of Vote Hemp, a national non-profit grassroots advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. Vote Hemp’s mission is to change state and federal laws to allow American farmers to once again grow hemp commercially. Under Eric’s leadership, Vote Hemp has been instrumental in facilitating pro-hemp legislation passage in more than 39 states. In 2005, Eric worked with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to draft the first modern U.S. federal hemp legislation (H. 3037) and in 2012 he worked with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) to get companion hemp legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate.
In 2013, Eric worked with Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), to get a key hemp research amendment included to the Farm Bill. He also worked closely with the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to include a hemp pilot program provision in the 2014 Farm Bill. Section 7606 of the Farm Bill authorizes universities and state departments of agriculture to conduct research and pilot programs in states that regulate hemp farming. This landmark legislation enabled states like Kentucky, Colorado and Oregon to begin licensing hemp growers and researchers for the first time after decades of prohibition on hemp farming and has restarted and reenergized the US hemp industry.
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 Director of Marketing for Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America. She is responsible for developing a fully integrated marketing strategy for the business and her responsibilities include brand strategy, new and existing product strategy and cause-oriented marketing where she’s taken a leadership role in developing and managing industry-wide campaigns around living wage, fair trade and industrial hemp farming. Christina also manages the company’s digital marketing team, graphic design department and packaging production.
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 is still engaged in hemp advocacy, in addition to her work with Dr. Bronner’s, and sits on the Board of Directors of Vote Hemp. Prior to getting involved in the natural products industry, she worked in advertising in Canada and Europe.
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.