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WIRE: Michael Huttner to head Powerplant Strategies cannabis PR firm

DENVER — Powerplant Strategies, a communications and public affairs firm solely focused on the cannabis industry, announced that Michael Huttner — the founder of ProgressNow and the CEO of Fenton, the nation’s largest social change agency — will return home to Denver from New York City to serve as the firm’s new CEO.

Powerplant Strategies provides communications, public affairs, government relations, media relations, crisis counsel, fundraising, and strategic partnership strategies for select clients in the cannabis space.

“I’ve met so many people, veterans, and staff members, who have shared their personal stories of how cannabis has helped them and members of their family alleviate serious pain, symptoms from autoimmune diseases, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, PTSD, and has bettered their overall quality of life,” said Powerplant Strategies CEO Michael Huttner. “The medical health benefits, the once-in-a-lifetime chance to address our nation’s flawed drug polices, the opportunity to reduce our prison populations and to help minimize the impacts of our country’s opioids crisis, improve veterans’ quality of life, along with the tidal wave of emerging business opportunities are just some of the reasons why I am excited to return to the industry.”

Huttner’s advocacy of the legal cannabis market goes back years: In January 2010, he convened a small group of drug reform and policy leaders in Colorado—read the first agenda here—where they laid out the blueprint for what became the first state to decriminalize cannabis in the US, which The Economist described as “an electoral first not only for America but for the world.”

Huttner has brought together a seasoned team of professionals, who have already been working with industry leaders, including the law firm of Vicente Sederberg, LLC, The Arcview Group—a collaboration of cannabis investors, the National Cannabis Industry Association and the New Federalism Fund as well as private companies such as Jane Technologies and THC Design and other associations like Southern California Coalition, the largest, most inclusive cannabis trade organization int the world’s largest cannabis market, Southern California.

In Huttner’s new role, he will be joined by a network of experts in the US and Canada—with more markets and partners to be announced in the near future.  Huttner will continue working with Fenton as its national Political Director and its new CEO, Ben Wyskida.

Huttner is the founder of ProgressNow, a network of more than 3 million people in 23 states, which is largely credited with shifting Colorado politically from red to blue.

Powerplant Strategies Team
Michael Huttner, CEO, (Denver)

Michael is a corporate and political strategist, attorney and entrepreneur.  He is the current Political Director and immediate past CEO of Fenton, the global social change agency.  Michael initiated the first meeting in Colorado to decriminalize recreational cannabis which led to the drafting and passage of Amendment 64.   He previously served as President of the Huttner Group, Inc., a Boulder-based firm which helps solve complex financial, communications and public policy problems in a variety of industries. Michael has helped launch over 40 different political organizations and has led communications ‘war-rooms’ for political and private clients. Michael also is the Founder of ProgressNow, a network of state-based communications organizations that moves people to action through communications and digital media.

Alex Howe, Managing Director (Los Angeles)
Alex brings more than 13 years of experience working in strategic communications and public affairs for a diverse range of cannabis, technology, Fortune 500 and issue-based clients including Google, NuVeda,, G.E., Greenpeace,, The Gates Foundation, Formula 1, UFC, Nestle Waters, Time Warner, Inc., the New York Road Runners, DraftKings and Recorded Future.

Ellen Mellody, Senior Vice President (Philadelphia/New York City)
Ellen is a senior communications strategist and operative with more than 20 years of strategic communications, messaging, branding, media relations, social media, crisis communications, and issues management experience. Mellody honed her skills working in the West Wing of the White House during the Clinton Administration, at Comcast-NBC Universal, General Electric, The North Face, the Office of the New Jersey Governor, on four presidential campaigns, and as a partner at Collective Consulting. Ellen has worked with clients and organizations including  GE, Comcast-NBCUniversal,  THC Design, Southern California Coalition, Arcview, Vicente Sederberg, numerous DNC Conventions, ABC-Disney, HBO, CNN, BBC, Standup2Cancer, the Grateful Dead, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., IFC, 20th Century Fox, Big Machine Records and others. Mellody is a Fortune Most Powerful Women Insider and holds certificates of communications achievement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Leland Radovanovic, Communications Associate (New York)
Leland is a public relations professional experienced in social justice, behavioral change, and advocacy campaigns. A long-time cannabis legalization activist, he’s worked in top communication positions in organizations such as the Cannabis and Hemp Association and the Cannabis Cultural Association. Leland has worked on local, state and national cannabis campaigns such as decriminalizing cannabis in New York City by closing NYPD’s “in public view” arrest loophole in 2014 and passing New York’s medical marijuana program in 2015. He also founded a local New York City chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Through SSDP, he organized a local campaign implementing language from New York State’s Good Samaritan/Medical Amnesty policy at CUNY Baruch College and was part of the historic national campaign in November 2016 to legalize cannabis in several states across the country.

Powerplant Strategies’ Network of Experts

Our network of experts is unmatched in the industry, and we encourage you to learn more about them here:

  • Lisa Campbell, Expertise: Public Relations (Toronto)
  • David Fenton, Expertise: Public Relations & Strategic Communications (New York)
  • Joellen Ferrer, Expertise: Marketing (San Francisco)
  • Steve Fox, Expertise: Advocacy & Strategic Communications (Washington, DC)
  • James Marcus, Expertise: Strategic Partnerships & Business Development (New York)
  • Rosie Mattio, Expertise: Public Relations (Seattle)
  • Tahira Rehmattulah, Expertise: Business Development & Strategic Partnerships (New York)
  • Devon Richardson, Expertise: Public Relations (Los Angeles)
  • Sparky Rose, Expertise: Branding & Design (Chicago)
  • Shane Terry, Expertise: Operations & Production (Las Vegas)

Powerplant Strategies
Ellen M. Mellody
m: 570-209-2947

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