Wharton Business Radio

The Business of Health Care: June 26, 2018

Host John Barkett is joined by Etienne Fontan (Director; Vice President, Berkeley Patients Group), Aaron Smith (Co-Founder and Executive Director, National Cannabis Industry Association), and Peter Conti-Brown (Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania) on the Tuesday, June 26, 2018 edition of The Business of Health Care.

Air Date: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 on SiriusXM 132

Hosted By

Aaron Smith and Peter Conti-Brown

Air Time: 12:00 pm
Featuring: Aaron Smith, Peter Conti-Brown

Etienne Fontan

Air Time: 12:30 pm
Featuring: Etienne Fontan

Featured Guests

Etienne Fontan

Director; Vice President, Berkeley Patients Group


Etienne is Vice President and Co-Owner of Berkeley Patients Group (BPG). BPG is the nation’s oldest, and most respected medical cannabis dispensary in the country, established in 1999. For more than 17 years, Etienne has helped position BPG as a model medical cannabis dispensary, with a vision to lead the emerging industry as it expands, evolves and becomes more professional. He has founded medical and recreational cannabis retail, cultivation, and processing facilities in Berkeley, Emeryville, Incline Village, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and West Hollywood.

As a business owner, Mr. Fontan is focused on making operations predictable, while continually working to improve the quality and affordability of medicine for patient members. Mr. Fontan has an extensive background as an engaged activist and public speaker dating back to 1993, seeking to make cannabis legal and safe. Starting in 1993, he was a director of the Cannabis Action Network and traveled through 47 U.S. states speaking at rallies, teach-ins, and tours, and reaching out to the general public on all cannabis-related issues. Mr. Fontan lobbied local, state, and Federal governments across the country for cannabis and industrial hemp rights. He is a combat veteran of the first Gulf War and now lobbies on veteran’s behalf for the use of cannabis to treat PTSD and post-war injuries.

In 2011, Mr. Fontan was invited by top medical cannabis researchers in the Netherlands to undergo training and tour the Medical Cannabis program as run by the Dutch Government. While there, Mr. Fontan learned how to perform laboratory tests on medical cannabis and studied supply logistics of the Dutch regulatory system. Mr. Fontan is a founding board member continuously serving on National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Board of Directors, including as Board Chair during 2012-2013.

Twitter- @atn420 | @BPGtweet
Full Profile

Aaron Smith

Co-Founder and Executive Director, National Cannabis Industry Association


Aaron Smith is co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the largest trade association representing legal cannabis businesses in the U.S and the only one working to advance the industry on a national level.

Prior to launching NCIA, Aaron distinguished himself as a public advocate for marijuana policy reform — first under the auspices of a California-based medical cannabis advocacy group, Safe Access Now in 2005, and then as the California state policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project until founding NCIA in 2010.

Aaron has successfully built coalitions with elected officials on both sides of the aisle in order to advance marijuana law reform legislation. Aaron’s opinion pieces have appeared in major newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, and he has been a frequent commentator on national television news networks. Originally from California, Aaron is currently based in Denver.

Twitter- @NCIAorg
Full Profile

Peter Conti-Brown

Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania


Peter Conti-Brown is an assistant professor of legal studies and business ethics at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. A financial historian and a legal scholar, Conti-Brown studies central banking, financial regulation, and public finance, with a particular focus on the history and policies of the US Federal Reserve System. He is author of the book The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve (Princeton University Press 2016), the editor of two other books, and author or co-author of a dozen articles on central banking, financial regulation, and bank corporate governance. He has been widely quoted in print and online media on central banking and has testified before the US Senate Banking Committee on reforming the Federal Reserve. He holds degrees from Harvard College, Stanford Law School, and Princeton University’s Department of History. He is currently at work on a single-volume, comprehensive history of the US Federal Reserve.


PhD, Princeton University (History, subfields in financial and political history)

JD, Stanford Law School

AB, Harvard College (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)

Twitter – @PeterContiBrown
Full Profile

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