Doug Distaso - Executive Director

Doug Distaso became the Executive Director of the Veterans Cannabis Project in 2019. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and went on to serve more than 21 years in the U.S. Air Force. From 2000-2015, Doug commanded joint aviation, maintenance, and support personnel globally and served as a primary legislative affairs lead for two USSOCOM commanders. This operational focus allowed successes in counter-terrorism hotspots from Europe to the Pacific. During his military service, Doug was in a plane accident that left him with a broken body and traumatic brain injury. After coping with the demands of military life in the field and at the Pentagon and suffering from sustained chronic pain and PTSD, he left the military addicted to pain killers. With the help of his wife, Whitney, Doug was able to eliminate the opiates and other pain killers that were damaging his relationships and rely instead upon the medical benefits of cannabis to safely manage his chronic pain and PTSD. Having experienced the plight that millions of veterans face daily in the United States, Doug has dedicated his post-military life to ensuring a better future for veterans in our country. Within his role as Veterans Cannabis Project Executive Director, he works every day to increase veterans access to safe medical cannabis. Doug also serves as the Vice President of Legislative Affairs for Security, Defense, and Space at Navigators Global, a government relations, strategic communications, and issues management firm located in Washington, DC. In his spare time, Doug is dedicated to helping veterans through art therapy.


Nick Etten - Founder & Chairman

Nick Etten is the Founder and Chairman of the Veterans Cannabis Project and a principal in Assero Group Holdings. Previous positions include Vice President of Global Business Development for FreightWatch International (UTC), Director of Corporate Development for Triple Canopy (Constellis) and investment professional at Trident Capital. Earlier in his career, Nick was an investment banker and served on active duty as a US Navy SEAL officer. He earned an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and a BS in political science from the United States Naval Academy. Nick lives in the Chicago area with his wife and two young sons.

2015-09-01 Phil Anderson - Compass - web.jpg

Phil Anderson - President

Phil Anderson guides the strategic direction of Veterans Cannabis Project as President. He brings more than 25 years of experience advising corporations, industries, and elected officials on public policy issues and has implemented successful public affairs campaigns for over 30 clients and coalitions. Named one of Washington’s top lobbyists by The Hill, Mr. Anderson has also been a frequent media source with commentary appearing in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Journal, and Investment News.


James Brobyn

James Brobyn is the CEO & Founder of CauseEngine. Previously he was the Executive Director of the Travis Manion Foundation, and served in combat as a USMC Infantry officer. James is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and earned a Masters in Nonprofit/NGO Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the CEO of Rozbed Holdings, a real estate holding company focused on the U.S medical cannabis market and the interim CEO of Verde, a Canadian medical cannabis manufacturing company. James resides in Wilmington, Delaware with his daughter and girlfriend. 


Dr. Corey Burchman

Dr. Corey Burchman is Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and a Clinical Anesthesiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. A 13-year Navy Veteran, Dr. Burchman is a strong advocate for medical cannabis and has lectured, on a national stage, on the clinical effects of medicinal cannabinoids. He is also a founding partner of The Brain Trust, LLC, a software company involved in education software for the management and recognition of traumatic brain injury. Dr. Burchman has been a practicing physician for over 30 years and focuses much of his time practicing clinical anesthesia and interventional pain medicine.

Margo Ellis Bio Photo.jpg

Margo Ellis

Margo Ellis is the founder and CEO of the consulting firm EELA Solutions. She began her professional career in US Marine Corps of Engineers and her work as a community organizer as a Regional Director for Student Veterans of America (SVA) in Washington, DC where she later served as Senate Liaison for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  She translated her experience on the hill into a leadership role at a top 5 private wealth firm overseeing implementation of tech solutions to improve compliance with requirements from legislative reform. Margo completed her undergraduate degree at Park University and her graduate degree at Georgetown University.


Sean Gallagher

Sean Gallagher is EVP of Human Capital for 4Front Ventures, a global cannabis investment and management firm. Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Sean held executive roles in the real estate, finance and technology sectors. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a former surface warfare officer. Sean has a master’s degree in philosophy from Arizona State and a genetics and genomics certificate from Stanford. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and two daughters.


George Hodgin

George Hodgin is the Founder and CEO of Biopharmaceutical Research Company, an applicant with the US DEA to produce cannabis products for federally approved researchers. George graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. He served in combat as a US Navy SEAL officer until 2015. Following separation from the Navy, George received an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He now resides in Carmel-By-the-Sea, California where he enjoys surfing, fly-fishing and hiking with his dog.


Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller is the Founder and CEO of Field. Ryan graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and served as an infantry officer. In 2007, he was severely wounded by a roadside bomb while conducting combat operations in Baghdad, Iraq, and ultimately lost a leg due to his wounds. Upon retirement from the Army, Ryan completed both an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Master's degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Ryan resides in Oakland, California.


Todd Scattini

After a distinguished 27-year career as an Army Tank, Cavalry and Foreign Affairs Officer, Todd Scattini is now the CEO of Harvest 360, the European representative of Charlotte’s Web Botanicals, and creator of The Athena Protocol, a cannabis-based solution designed to mitigate and treat TBI on the battlefield.  Todd is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and earned a Master’s degree in International Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA.

David Scott Engine Room 3 WEB.jpg

Major General David J. Scott, USAF (Retired)

Major General David Scott retired from the United States Air Force in 2009.  Prior to retirement he served as Deputy Director, Center for Special Operations, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. His military career included duty as Deputy Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and command of flying operations at squadron, group, and wing levels including Special Operations aviation units in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and the USAF C-130 flight training base at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. Major General Scott also served in Germany, the United Kingdom, Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He has started, partnered with, or co-founded several companies since retirement, and is a Board Member for many organizations that support Veteran rehabilitation, including Stay in Step (spinal cord rehab innovation) and UCANN (medical cannabis research).