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U.S. Cannabis Council Elects Akerna CEO as Board Chair

Jessica Billingsley will lead a broad coalition seeking to end federal prohibition of cannabis.

Jessica Billingsley.
Jessica Billingsley.

DENVER -- Akerna, an enterprise software, leading compliance technology provider, and developer of the cannabis industry's first seed-to-sale enterprise resource planning (ERP) software technology, today announces Jessica Billingsley, the company's co-founder, CEO, and chair of the board, has been elected chair of the U.S. Cannabis Council, a coalition of leading cannabis companies and advocates working to end federal cannabis prohibition in the U.S.

USCC aims to accomplish three goals:

  • Raise ethical standards within the industry,
  • Achieve restorative justice for communities that have been disproportionately impacted by misguided state and federal cannabis policies, and
  • Create a healthy, inclusive, and well-regulated cannabis industry with social, financial, and environmental benefits shared by all. 

To do so, USCC works hand-in-hand with congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., and throughout the country to advance cannabis reform. USCC is very encouraged by the recently introduced Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which would federally legalize cannabis in the U.S. while advancing equity and economic empowerment for communities and individuals impacted by prohibition. The legislation would also make key tax, banking and regulatory updates.

Billingsley was unanimously elected as chair due to her leadership experience in the cannabis industry. Billingsley was the first cannabis technology CEO to list on the Nasdaq, invented seed-to-sale tracking for the industry, won the exclusive contracts for Washington, Pennsylvania, and Utah's cannabis regulatory track-and-trace programs, and has met and engaged with members of Congress on cannabis reform since 2013. She successfully led Akerna through four acquisitions that position the company as the only scaled technology provider enabling compliance, regulation, and taxation.

"Billingsley is a proven leader who will elevate our voice for cannabis reform and an equitable, values-driven cannabis industry," said Steven Hawkins, USCC CEO. "Her extensive background working in the cannabis industry and with government will greatly assist USCC in reforming cannabis policy and advancing an equitable, well-regulated cannabis industry in all 50 states."

"I am honored by this appointment and look forward to continuing my work with the USCC's diverse collection of cannabis leaders striving to push forward critical and meaningful policy change in U.S. cannabis," said Jessica Billingsley, Akerna CEO and new chair of the USCC board. "A crucial part of the legalization process is to address the harms incurred by the mostly Black and brown populations who have served criminal convictions and prison sentences due to nonviolent marijuana offenses. We must, and we will fight for change."

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