Dirk Van de Put

The CEO of Mondelez International, the Deerfield-based maker of Oreos and Ritz Crackers, is investigating how to thoughtfully infuse CBD into the company’s product line. Van de Put, who this week spoke the local business and civic leaders at the Economic Club of Chicago, last year told CNBC that the convergence of CBD and Big Food will occur “in the not too distant future.”  

Kirsten Velasco

As Illinois outreach director for the Medical Cannabis Community, Kirsten Velasco lectures, consults and evangelizes on the myriad ways cannabis can be incorporated for medical treatment and overall wellnessIllinois among other states have growing communities of patients, advocates and healthcare where individuals share advice and best practices with one another. Velasco is also a board director of Illinois Women in Cannabis, and will moderate a Cannabis 101 panel during the organization’s February 22 education conference. 

Zach Zises

A longtime trader at the Chicago Board of Trade, Zachary Zises in 2015 became the first dispensary owner in Chicago when he opened up Dispensary 33 in Andersonville. The company has the license to open an additional dispensary in Chicago.An independently-minded serial entrepreneur who majored in Rhetoric at University of California, Berkeley, Zisses is a proactive community partner who organized a coalition of local businesses to provide entertainment, shopping and culinary options for customers who wait hours to purchase product from his location. 

The store’s vibe is so welcoming that girl scouts find it a good place to sell cookies.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.