Hosted By Danny Danko, Ken Wolski, & Melissa Bouchard

Removing the Stigma: Bringing Cannabis to the Mainstream

For all of our lives, we have been taught and conditioned that cannabis is evil, illegal and downright no good for us. You can buy a bottle of vodka, and that’s okay, but some are still afraid to head to a dispensary and grab some flower or carts. But hey, it’s legal, and we’re here celebrating that thanks to billboards you’ve seen and radio ads you’ve heard. The network news has regular features on cannabis, as do major newspapers, and let’s not forget the countless movies, tv shows, songs, and celebs who are proud to talk about the legal green. It’s been a long journey and the road is still being built on getting cannabis in the mainstream and removing the stigma.


Melissa Bouchard, RN 

Melissa Bouchard is a Registered Nurse, award-winning cannabis education expert, educator and consultant, as well as a nationally recognized author and international public speaker, with over 20 years combined patient advocacy and industry experience.

Both personally and professionally Melissa has seen the miracle of cannabis medicine and is a firm believer in creating equitable and safe access to alternative and preventative medicines. 

Melissa is unique among cannabis professionals, as her expertise developed from initial role as a patient. Following a serious injury, she chose to learn about alternative medicine in managing pain.  Medical cannabis was among the solutions she used to advance her recovery.   Following this experience, Melissa determined her career needed to focus in the cannabis space. 

She is an outspoken mother and advocate on the forefront of leadership and activism in New England since 2002, successfully working on campaigns including:  The Right to Vote, Decriminalization, Reduction of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, Medical Cannabis & Legalization efforts in RI, CT & MA, as well as neighboring states and the Caribbean islands. 

Her life experience includes over 20 community service & leadership awards, a place in the Smithsonian Museum, a degree in both Criminal Justice and Nursing, as well as certification in HIV Counseling & Overdose Prevention.  She is a published columnist, former National Membership Director for Parents 4 Pot and co-host of the public access TV show, High Stakes.  

Advocating and working with thousands of patients, she earned a well-respected name in the cannabis industry and was recognized in 2015 for her activism, named one of the nation’s top ‘Women of Weed’ by Skunk Magazine.   After managing and becoming Director of Education & Outreach for one of the largest dispensaries in the US, Melissa branched off on her own to provide consultation, education and project management to emerging businesses and her local community, worked in B2B sales, as well as being co-investigator on a cannabis provider Research Study through Cannabis Center of Excellence. 

Melissa simultaneously continued to pursue her education and received her degree as an RN, graduating with High Honors.  Her latest endeavors include working on policy change, providing consultation and education serving as VP of Medical Education for Bennabis Health, alongside a former US Surgeon General, as well as project management to emerging and successful businesses and in her local community & internationally. She is passionate, educated and eager to work with diverse populations and providers, and to share her experience and knowledge with the world.

Danny “Danko” Vinkovetsky

Dan Vinkovetsky (formerly Danny Danko of High Times) is a cannabis editor, writer, and photographer who was the senior cultivation editor of High Times Magazine and worked there for 18 years (2002-2020). He personally selected High Times’ annual Top 10 Strains of the Year from 2005 to 2018 and created and founded the High Times Seed Bank Hall of Fame in 2007. He has judged more Cannabis Cups than anyone else on the planet.

Danny is the author of “The Official High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains” (2011) and “Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana” (2018). He hosted the podcast High Times presents “Free Weed from Danny Danko” from 2011-2018. Danny currently hosts the podcast “Grow Bud Yourself!” and is Senior Editor of Northeast Leaf Magazine since July 2020.



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Northeast Leaf Magazine

Instagram: @northeastleafmag



Ken Wolski, RN, MPA

Ken retired in 2006 from the State of New Jersey after 25 years of service with the Department of Human Services and the Department of Corrections. Ken worked for the state as an Institutional Attendant, Charge Attendant, Staff Nurse, Head Nurse, Supervisor of Nurses, Quality Assurance Specialist, Quality Assurance Coordinator, and Health Services Manager. 

In addition to Ken’s state service, Ken worked for eight years in Acute Care Facilities as an Intensive Care Unit and Cardiac Care Unit (ICU/CCU) Nurse in Central Jersey and in Center City Philadelphia. Ken also worked as a Public Health Nurse for the City of Trenton. Ken is currently self-employed, and volunteers as Chairman of the Cannabis Advisory Committee for the City of Trenton, NJ.

Dates and locations

  • Edison, NJ
    Sep 29 – Oct 1, 2023

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