LOS ANGELES — Powerplant Strategies today launched the world’s first global branding, marketing, government relations and communications firm exclusively concentrated on the responsible addition of legalized cannabis to the world’s social, medical, and commercial landscapes, through the power of people, storytelling, media and technology.
Powerplant is made up of a senior team of strategists around the country with decades of experience building campaigns that change behavior, advance policy, build communities, transform thinking and helping companies succeed in the cannabis sector. The firm’s initial clients include Vicente Sederberg LLC, called the country’s first powerhouse marijuana law firm by Rolling Stone, Weed for Warriors Project, a nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans find relief from service related disabilities through medical marijuana, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the only international network of students dedicated to ending the war on drugs.
“While many of us have been actively working to end cannabis prohibition for decades, two-thirds of Americans now support legal marijuana use, and momentum to overturn outdated and racially biased drug laws is growing,” said Powerplant Strategies President David Fenton, one of the 100 most influential P.R. people, according to PR Week and called “the Robin Hood of public relations” by The National Journal. “I look forward to helping our clients meet their business goals while continuing to successfully create an open, ethical and legal cannabis industry that positively impacts society and cash-strapped coffers in the U.S. and in other countries around the globe.”
The firm will offer a range of strategic communications solutions for businesses, nonprofits, foundations, associations, law firms, startups and others including branding, messaging, advertising, digital & social media, video, design, research, government relations, grassroots, strategic partnerships, advocacy and public relations to build campaigns that create lasting change. Powerplant Strategies is committed to working with nonprofits and associations promoting a more ethical and just world and cannabis industry.
“With monumental reforms in legalization looming on Election Day, more states and countries coming online, and more work yet to do, we are proud to partner with Powerplant as we work to drive social change by helping clients create a responsible and successful cannabis industry,” said Brian Vicente, founder and partner, Vicente Sederberg LLC. “Step-by-step, we look forward to helping more clients around the globe seamlessly transition from a gray marketplace to a legal and thriving cannabis industry.”
“With veterans representing seven percent of the American population, yet accounting for 20 percent of the national suicide rate, these numbers are unacceptable, and it is clear we can and must do more for those who selflessly serve our country,” said Brandon L. Wyatt, Esq., National Policy Advisor, Weed for Warriors Project. “We’re excited to partner with Powerplant to raise awareness of the veterans’ suicide epidemic, change our nation’s failed drug policies and engage others in the private sector while we make it easier for our veterans to access cannabis, a safer medical alternative, which saves lives every day.”
“Powerplant brings an unprecedented team of seasoned government relations and grassroots mobilization professionals to the cannabis space,” said Betty Aldworth, Executive Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “We’ve made extraordinary progress toward sensible drug policy, and I’m thrilled to have these experts standing with us as we mobilize toward a safer and more just future.”
Powerplant Strategies has offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and a global network of partners. Powerplant is a wholly separate company from Fenton, the Social Change Agency.
Powerplant Strategies Senior Team Bios
- David Fenton, Founder and Chairman of Fenton, Powerplant Strategies President founded Fenton in 1982 to create communications campaigns for social causes, the environment, public health and human rights.
For more than four decades, he has pioneered the use of PR, social media, branding and advertising techniques for social change. David has worked with governments and international NGOs in Africa, Israel, Europe, Japan, Latin America and the Caribbean. David is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
David started out his career as a photojournalist in the late 1960s for underground newspapers. In 1976 he was an editor at High Times, and then became Director of Public Relations for Rolling Stone magazine. He also co-produced the “No-Nukes” concerts in 1979 with Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and other artists. In the early 1970s, David helped run the campaign that freed John Sinclair from his 10-year, two-joint prison sentence. He was active in passing Ann Arbor’s $5 marijuana law in 1972 and in getting the first legalization initiative on a state ballot, the Michigan Marijuana Initiative in 1973.
- Alex Howe, Vice President, Powerplant Strategies, brings more than a dozen years of experience working in strategic communications and public affairs for a diverse range of technology, cannabis, Fortune 500 and issue-based clients including Google, NuVeda Natural Medicinal Solutions, ONE.org, General Electric, Greenpeace, MoveOn.org, The Gates Foundation, Formula 1, UFC, Nestle Waters, Time Warner, Inc., the New York Road Runners, DraftKings, SailPoint, Flyp, BetterCloud and Recorded Future.
- Michael Huttner, CEO of Fenton, Powerplant Strategies Senior Advisor, is a corporate and political strategist, attorney and entrepreneur, who has launched more than 40 different political organizations. Michael is one of the coauthors of Colorado’s Amendment 64 and is the founder of ProgressNow, a network of state-based communications organizations that moves people to action to build messaging through communications and digital media.
- Ellen Mellody, Executive Vice President, Powerplant Strategies, is a senior strategist, who brings more than 20 years of strategic communications, messaging, branding, media relations, social media, crisis communications and issues management experience to clients. Ellen sharpened her professional skills serving in the West Wing of the White House during the Clinton Administration, as Comcast Corporate Communications Director, in global communications roles at General Electric, as the spokesperson for New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey, in strategic communications capacities during three presidential campaigns and as a partner at Collective Consulting, where she worked with clients in the cannabis sector such as Weedmaps, DCMJ, Weed for Warriors Project and others.
- Sparky Wilson Rose, Vice President, Powerplant Strategies, is a 25-year veteran of the branding and design industry with deep domain expertise in the legal medical and recreational cannabis industry. Sparky is the former Executive Director of Compassionate Caregivers, an Oakland, California based medical cannabis company, which was forcibly closed by the Federal Government in 2006 although it operated legally within the State of California with permission to operate in seven different incorporated areas of the state. Sparky has consulted numerous cannabis clients operating in California, Colorado, Washington, Idaho, and Illinois, along with Chanel, DDB, BBDO, Ogilvy & Mather, DirecTV, and Fox Sports Networks; and has also served as the Creative Director for the Discovery Channel’s Digital Cable Networks and Advanced Television Studio.
About Powerplant Strategies
Powerplant Strategies is a full service branding, marketing, government relations and communications firm concentrated on the responsible addition of legalized cannabis to the world’s social, medical, and commercial landscapes through the power of people, storytelling, media, and technology.