Dennis O'Malley has become a major figure in the cannabis industry.
The Caliva CEO — set to deliver the keynote at the Virtual Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference on June 1 at 10 a.m. — is in charge of what's believed to be one of the largest players in the industry.
Over the last three years, O'Malley has managed to expand Caliva's footprint and increase the company's revenue by three times. Before Caliva, the Santa Clara University alum held a variety of leadership roles in various companies, including co-founder and CEO of social content marketing platform ReadyPulse, and filed several technology patents.
Now at Caliva, O'Malley oversees more than 400 employees. The company, founded in 2015, is unique in that it produces over 11,000 pounds of weed per year — each gram blessed by a shaman each week.
The ritual, Caliva claims, enhances the plant's medicinal properties.
Business Insider was charmed by the brand, naming it the top cannabis dispensary in the nation.
With O'Malley at the helm, Caliva has grown its footprint beyond San Jose, where it's headquartered, and branched out into Southern California with the launch of their first SoCal dispensary — DELI by Caliva — and the opening of a second delivery hub located in Culver City.
Caliva is also well known for its executive team which boasts several high-profile names. Among them is rapper and entrepreneur, Shawn Carter (aka Jay-Z).
Carter, who serves as Caliva's chief brand strategist, plays a crucial role driving creative direction, outreach efforts and strategy.
Another key member of Caliva's team is Carol Bartz, former CEO of Autodesk and Yahoo. She currently serves as chairman of the board at Caliva. Former NFL quarterback Joe Montana is also an investor in Caliva, and contributed to the $75 million in venture capital that the company raised last year.
No Gold Rush
In an interview published on Medium, O'Malley described the cannabis industry as a tough space.
"Despite popular belief, there is no gold rush. Conversely, it is not a lifestyle career," he said. "People in cannabis are as hard of workers as anyone I have seen. They are farmer's by day and engineers by night, and there are no day or time boundaries. At the end of the day, you are changing people's lives, and it is well worth it."
For more information on the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, click here.