The Business Journal will present its inaugural North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference Tuesday, May 9 with keynote speaker Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation.

“Just as with our other industry conferences in wine, construction or health care, the inaugural North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference will focus on the business of this developing segment of the economy,” said Business Journal Publisher Brad Bollinger. “Farella, Braun + Martel brings extensive legal expertise to this new industry,” Bollinger said, “and, along with the Journal, is able to bring in other experts in finance, access to capital, municipal regulation and other topics of interest.”

The conference is underwritten by the law firm Farella, Braun + Martel. The morning conference will be held starting at 7:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel in Santa Rosa. More details will follow.

Keynote speaker Ajax was previously chief deputy director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) where she had served in multiple positions since 1998, including deputy division chief, district administrator and supervising investigator. As deputy division chief, assigned to the department’s headquarters office, she oversaw several statewide programs.

She began her career as an investigator in ABC’s Santa Rosa District office in 1995 and then transferred to Sacramento to work in the Trade Enforcement Unit where she promoted to Supervising Investigator. In 2006, she was promoted to district administrator assigned to the ABC Grant Assistance Program (GAP) and the TRACE Unit. She then served as the district administrator for ABC’s Sacramento, Yuba City and Redding District offices in 2007–2011, overseeing the licensing and enforcement operations of 20 counties in Northern California. Ajax also served as an investigator at the California Fair Political Practices Commission in 1997–1998.

Ajax spent 10 years in private industry prior to her state government career. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Sacramento State University. She is a member of the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association and the St. Sava Mission Foundation.