Board of Directors
Matt Darin is a Founder and Principal of Greenhouse Group. Greenhouse Group operates three dispensaries in Illinois. Matt brings entrepreneurial and business ownership experience along with a commitment to advancing the medical cannabis industry in Illinois and beyond through education, research, and outreach. As a lifelong resident of Illinois, Matt has a vested interest in helping Illinois become a model for other states in the medical cannabis industry.
Matt Darin is also a Founder and Principal of Frontline Real Estate Partners. FREP was formed in 2010 and has quickly grown to become one of the most active commercial real estate companies in Chicago with expertise in acquiring, developing, managing, and selling commercial properties. Prior to founding Frontline, Matt was a Vice President with Hilco Real Estate.
Matt holds a Bachelor of Science with honors in Accounting and a Bachelor of Science with honors in Business Administration – Management Information Systems from the University of lllinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Illinois.
Lori Ferrara is Member of the founding Board of Directors of ILCIA and a 25 year veteran of the domestic/international television distribution industry. After working ten years for one of the largest program duplication and distribution companies, the native New Yorker founded Picture Perfect Partners in Chicago, Illinois. The company delivered television programming via satellite worldwide for some of the largest syndicators in the industry. Clients included Warner Brothers, Tribune Entertainment, Disney, “The Judge Mathis Show”, “Siskel & Ebert”, and “The Jenny Jones Show”. Her attention to detail, focus on stellar customer service and entrepreneurial spirit earned her the admiration and respect of the broadcast and cable industry.
Lori is now dedicated and very involved in the cannabis industry. Her passion was jump started when she was caring for her husband with cancer. As a result, she spent over three years educating herself and developing relationships with several top leaders in the cannabis field nationwide.
She is a member of the ArcView Group and has been actively investing in this sector. She also enjoys coaching and advising start-up companies and entrepreneurs who share the same goals. Lori brings her incredible networking skills to the table and has been connecting potential strategic partners in the cannabis industry to enable them to accomplish their mutual goals.
As a current and founding member of the ILCIA Board, Lori is focused on improving regulations for business owners, advocating for the education of qualified patients, driving membership and active participation in the ILCIA.
As a successful entrepreneur, Lori is dedicated to translating her knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm, as a successful entrepreneur to the cannabis Industry.
Ali Nagib has been working as a cannabis activist and organizer for over four years and has helped support the growth of Illinois NORML and its mission to change cannabis policy on the local and state level in Illinois, including passing the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (HB1). He is a founding Principal of Midwest Cannabis Consulting and has worked with a number of firms that have applied for dispensing organization and cultivation center licenses in Illinois.
He has spoken on cannabis policy reform on panels at the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University in Chicago and has done numerous media interviews, presentations at Illinois universities and high schools, and has spoken at seminars throughout the state on the topic. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and an MBA from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and has been a lifelong Illinois residen
Ashley Peterson, Vice President of Operations & Sales for Effingham Medicinal Farms, is a Buffalo, New York native who moved to Chicago following nearly a decade of teaching and educational leadership in order fulfill her desire to make a positive impact in urban education. As a transformational leader, she served as principal in Chicago Public schools.
Driven by a commitment to underserved families, she sought out schools that were in need of a change agent. A dedicated leader, Ashley quickly earned a reputation for her integrity and follow-through. She consistently raisied the bar and stood up for families and communities whose voices too often go unheard, while taking a consensus-building approach to leadership. As principal, she built a pattern of success in collaboration, re-branding & marketing, creative multi-million dollar budgeting techniques, public relations, and staff development through high-quality professional development, and targeted feedback and support.
Passionate about social progress, Ashley firmly believes that those who suffer should have access to medicinal marijuana. She knows the impact of pain and has tremendous empathy for those that endure pain on a daily basis, as she herself, has battled an auto-immune disease for nearly 10 years.
Ashley is known for being relentless in her efforts to motivate, inspire, and challenge all stakeholders to set and achieve goals. She believes that with strong & diverse collaborative work, creative thinking, commitment, and problem solving – anything is achievable. Ashley holds a bachelors degree in Education, a masters degree in Literacy, and second masters degree in Educational Leadership. As an ILCIA Board Member, Ashley is thrilled to advance the cannabis industry for the betterment for all.
Brad Zerman is founder and CEO of Seven Point of Massachusetts and Seven Point of Oak Park, a medical cannabis dispensary. Mr. Zerman is also founder and CEO of Qualtex Corp. (dba Sky Processing), based in Chicago. Sky Processing maintains more than 2,200 automated teller machines (ATMs) under contract in the United States and Puerto Rico. Sky Processing is one of the nation’s largest independent operators of ATMs and has dispensed an estimated $5 billion in cash withdrawals since 2000. Mr. Zerman’s company, on average, securely processes more than one million debit card transactions each month. Within the medical cannabis industry, Sky Processing currently provides ATM transaction processing services to more than 100 medical cannabis dispensaries and adult use stores in and outside of the State of Illinois. securely processes more than one million debit card transactions.
Brad is an active member of the Chicago community. He is a founder, past president and past Board Member of the East Wicker Park Organization where he participated in the management of the Dean Park Committee, raised funds for the redevelopment of Dean Park and developed policies during the massive regentrification of East Wicker Park. He is currently on the Council of the Graceland West Community Association. In 2014, he was a mentor in the JCC PresenTense Program and in 2015 a judge in a Shark Tank-style event where Fellows competed for which venture would bring about the most social change. He is an active fundraiser and donor to the Jewish United Fund. He is a Director of Giving Rocks Foundation, a charity dedicated to finding a cure for Langerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis. Brad graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Joseph Wright is an attorney, medical cannabis consultant, and served as the first Director of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. Appointed by the Governor of Illinois to implement the first legal sales of cannabis in Illinois, Joseph guided the program in its infancy; before a single cultivation center or dispensary was authorized to begin operation. In concert with the Illinois medical cannabis industry, Joseph successfully implemented the program within six months of assuming the role of Director. During Joseph’s tenure, the program grew exponentially; Illinois’ patient population expanded by 300% and retail sales recorded constant increases, surpassing $3 million per month.
Joseph developed and guided medical cannabis policy across eight state agencies, and was instrumental in creating industry compliance protocols, procedures, and guidance. Joseph co-drafted legislation that extended the Illinois medical cannabis program, and removed a requirement upon doctors to affirmatively “recommend” medical cannabis to patients.
Joseph has spoken publicly to several industry groups, advocacy organizations, and media organizations about regulatory requirements for Illinois businesses seeking to become licensees in the State of Illinois, and about procedures required to become a qualified patient. Joseph’s writing about the Illinois medical cannabis program was featured in Crain’s Chicago Business.
Mark Passerini is the founding President of the ILCIA, a Chicago native and graduate of the University of Michigan. He is the co-founder of the Om of Medicine as well as the Ann Arbor Medical Cannabis Guild in Ann Arbor, MI which he served as president for its first two years.
Mark has 20 years of sales and executive management experience in a variety of industries, most recently, renewable and energy efficient technologies. He currently serves as the government liaison for the Michigan chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a nationwide activist group protecting patients’ right to obtain their medicine. Mark was instrumental in crafting local licensing and zoning ordinances with the City of Ann Arbor and is currently working with various state legislators to further clarify existing Michigan laws to ensure patient access. Mark is one of the first members of the ArcView Group, a private cannabis investment and market research firm.
Mark also had the honor and privilege of organizing and emceeing Hash Bash, the nation’s longest running cannabis reform rally, for the past four years. He was most recently invited to speak at the Chicago Cannabis Conference at Navy Pier and the National Cannabis Industry Association’s (NCIA) first Midwest Cannabusiness Symposium on the topic of dispensary operations. His interest in the cannabis sector stems from not only his love for the plant but also from his passion for the promise of a natural, holistic alternative.
In his free time, Mark volunteers as a hospital magician with Open Heart Magic at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
Amy grew up in a small town in the Northwest suburbs, Island Lake, and graduated from Wauconda High School in 2014. She is now a Sophomore at DePaul University in Chicago, set to graduate in 2018 with a major in American Studies, concentration in Politics, Institutions and Values. A former Gay-Straight Alliance Club president, her devotion to social justice and advocacy has been long set. She is currently the president of DePaul’s Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter, which was a springboard for her joining the ILCIA. Amy’s passion for drug policy reform has also led her to work in wrongful convictions cases with the Chicago Innocence Center. Having been personally helped by medical cannabis, Amy is ready to devote her life to changing this industry and the culture surrounding cannabis.