Etienne is Vice President and Co-Owner of Berkeley Patients Group (BPG). BPG is the nation's oldest, and most respected medical cannabis dispensary, established in 1999. For nearly two decades, Etienne has helped position BPG as a model medical cannabis dispensary, with a vision to lead the emerging industry as it expands, evolves and becomes more professional. He has founded medical and recreational cannabis retail, cultivation, and processing facilities in Berkeley, Emeryville, Incline Village, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Reno, Sparks, and West Hollywood.
As a business owner, Mr. Fontan is focused on making operations predictable, while continually working to improve the quality and affordability of medicine for patient members. Mr. Fontan has an extensive background as an engaged activist and public speaker dating back to 1993, seeking to make cannabis legal and safe. Starting in 1993, he was a director of the Cannabis Action Network and traveled through 47 U.S. states speaking at rallies, teach-ins, and tours, and reaching out to the general public on all cannabis-related issues. Mr. Fontan lobbied local, state, and Federal governments across the country for cannabis and industrial hemp rights. He is a combat veteran of the first Gulf War and now lobbies on veteran’s behalf for the use of cannabis to treat PTSD and post-war injuries.
In 2011, Mr. Fontan was invited by top medical cannabis researchers in the Netherlands to undergo training and tour the Medical Cannabis program as run by the Dutch Government. While there, Mr. Fontan learned how to perform laboratory tests on medical cannabis and studied supply logistics of the Dutch regulatory system. Mr. Fontan is a founding board member continuously serving on National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Board of Directors, including as Board Chair during 2012-2013.
16/08/2019 Following the successful launch of the first-ever Cannabis Drinks Expo in San Francisco in July 2019, event organizers Beverage Trade Network have announced a follow-up Cannabis Drinks Expo event in Chicago for Summer 2020.