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Our Team


Mike Fitzgerald

Co-Founder & Institute Director

Mike is the Co-Founder/President of New England Grass Roots Institute, New England’s first medicinal plant learning center, established 2012. In addition to creating a mission and science based curriculum, Mike is an established expert in plant medicine, cultivation and treatment, and a successful entrepreneur, with a focus on industry leadership, quality and education. Mike is a Medical Cannabis Cultivation Expert Witness for the Massachusetts Court System and lecturer with frequent invitations for radio and TV appearances


Ben James

Co-Founder and Strategic Planning & Development

Ben has been a founding partner of 3 private equity firms, including North Castle Partners, a $600 million consumer health focused fund. He has over 30 years experience successfully working with private companies and  management teams to grow and add value to businesses in various capacities, including as frequent board member, private equity partner, consultant and CFO.  In his free time,  Ben has served in a number of roles at various non-profit organizations.


Vinnie Posca

Director of Product Development & Production

Vincent is the Director of Marijuana Infused Products at the Thomas C Slater Compassion Center. He has 10 years’ experience both overseeing and performing solvent and solventless extractions, and producing a wide variety of edible, topical and smokeable products focusing on patient safety, shelf life and profitability. He has created accurately dosed prescription medications for pediatric patients connected with Hasbro Children’s Hospital and is consistently refining and manipulating cannabis oils’ physical properties to develop efficacious, use-specific products. Vincent has created many profitable product lines that are still in production today. 


Dennis Cardiff

Director of Finance & Administration

Dennis holds a degree in Business Administration and has continued his studies at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  His background includes broad experience in business start-ups, having built and sold a multi-million-dollar software company, and presently, by serving as CFO/COO in a mobile app start-up.  In addition, Dennis is very involved with his community. He has been elected to several local political positions over the last 40 years and frequently sits on boards of both local for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations.


Melissa Fitzgerald

Director of Education

Melissa is the Co-Founder and Director of Education of New England Grass Roots Institute, New England’s first cannabis learning center, established 2012. In addition to creating cutting edge, high quality, holistic health class content and study materials for thousands of students with an emphasis on business, law, horticulture and science, for years now Melissa has been very involved in providing free community patient support group meetings. Her vision around patient education is coming to fruition and culminating in her dream of the New England Grass Roots Foundation, a place of support and education for all patients, their families and caregivers, a place to achieve greater access to much needed holistic education and empathy. Melissa describes herself as a Speaker, Consultant, Educator, Human Being. 


Evan Leon


Evan has over a decade of retail sales experience and is a home cultivator. He is passionate about educating anyone who will listen about cannabis and CBD. Evan and with his dog Willy are both daily users and proud proponents of CBD. 

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