Judge Shelli Hayes (ret.), our Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, brings 5+ years of regulated cannabis industry experience to our team. She has been an active participant in the development and growth of the Illinois cannabis industry since the inception of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. In 2017 Judge Hayes moved to Nevada and co-founded a licensed Cannabis Processing facility, where she serves as Chief Operating Officer, Chief Legal Officer, & Corporate Secretary. In addition, she has served as the Chief Compliance Officer for a Hemp Company in Grand Junction, Colorado. Judge Hayes has established herself as one of the leading African American females in the industry, a champion of social justice, and an indomitable presence in the boardroom.
Judge Hayes has extensive experience working various aspects of operational cannabis regulatory compliance, such as seed to sale, state tracking systems, security, record keeping, general construction, water rights, transportation, disposal and generally the cultivation, production and dispensing of legal hemp and cannabis. Additionally, she has worked with numerous cannabis startups from the ground floor, and with investors seeking to enter the industry through the creation of compliance programs and applications for licensure. She also currently serves as a liaison to cannabis business owners and uninitiated investors seeking to enter the industry. Her previous cannabis work, especially founding and operating a successful cannabis processing establishment, has given her an understanding of the products and services our company will produce, and she is excited to put her extensive expertise to use in her home state of Illinois.
Judge Hayes also served as a Judge of the Circuit Court of a County in Illinois for 18 years. While on the bench, she acquired courtroom legal experience in business, marketing and management. Her last assignment was presiding over a high-volume Civil Jury Trial Courtroom. As a trial lawyer with a law firm in Chicago, IL, her legal practice specialized in real estate matters, condemnation, zoning, litigation and municipal law. Judge Hayes left private practice to serve as the Director of Real Estate Management, County and as Assistant Chief Attorney, County Forest Preserve.
Judge Hayes’ background led to her appointment to the Founding Board of Directors of a Minority Business Association and the Founding Board of Directors of the National Cannabis Legal Association in 2015. She is a Founder of the first annual Minority Business Association Opportunity Summit 2018, Daniels College of Business at University of Denver, which encouraged minority participation and policy reforms in the cannabis industry. Most recently, she became a Co-Founding Board Member of Cannabis Project, an initiative to increase success outcomes for cannabis businesses owned by people of color and headquartered in Portland Oregon. This was launched after the people of Portland voted to invest cannabis tax dollars into communities impacted by the war on drugs. Judge Hayes is admitted to the New York Bar and the Illinois Bar. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York and her Juris Doctorate Degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Bloomington, Indiana. A social justice warrior, with a long history of commitment and change in Illinois, she will be a driving force in every decision our company makes.