2019 Celebrity Keynote Speakers (Baltimore)

RICKI LAKE

Biography 

 

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, 

Weed the People - The Movie

 

From acting and producing, to dancing her way into the hearts of television audiences, Emmy Award-winning television host Ricki Lake is a pop culture icon who has built a career on her graciously candid sensibility and her authentic, relatable nature. The world first met Lake in 1988 as Tracy Turnblad in John Waters’ film Hairspray. Her additional film and television credits are extensive. At age 24, Lake became one of the youngest daily talk show hosts in history with the debut of The Ricki Lake Show. She has also co-written two books, released a 4 part-DVD series, and served as an Executive Producer of several documentaries. Lake’s legacy and perhaps her greatest love is her role as an independent filmmaker. Her award-winning, critically acclaimed documentary The Business of Being Born debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007 and is often hailed as the “must see” film among mothers-to-be. She is currently working on a film about hormonal birth control.

 

 

In recent years, Ricki Lake has channeled her nurturing spirit and drive for social change into passion projects, serving as a leading voice for crucial issues such as women’s rights and informed choice within reproductive health. Ricki is also a strong advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, having just lost her beloved husband, Christian Evans on Feb. 11, 2017.”

ABBY EPSTEIN

DIRECTOR, 

Weed the People - The Movie

 

Abby made her film directing debut at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival with the documentary, Until the Violence Stops, featuring Jane Fonda, Eve Ensler, Salma Hayek and Rosie Perez. The film played at the Miami, Santa Barbara, Maui and Locarno Film Festivals and won the Audience Award at the Amnesty International Film Festival in Vancouver. Until the Violence Stops premiered on Lifetime Television and received an Emmy and a Gracie Allen Award. Prior to her film work Abby directed theater, helming National Tours and international premieres of RENT and “The Vagina Monologues.

 

ABOUT RICKI AND ABBY’S PARTNERSHIP

 

Ricki and Abby’s award winning, critically acclaimed documentary “The Business of Being Born” debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007. With over 5 million+ views, an online community of over 100,000, and more than 10 million press imprints, it is often hailed as the “must see” film among mothers-to-be. Together they co-wrote the book, “Your Best Birth” and released “More Business of Being Born” a four-part DVD series featuring celebrities sharing their birth stories, as well as an in-depth discussion on the birth process. Under their joint venture BOBB Films they served as Executive Producers for "Breastmilk" and "The Mama Sherpas," and are working on "Sweetening the Pill."

MONTEL WILLIAMS

Biography 

 

FOUNDER, 

Lenitiv Scientific

 

Montel Williams is one of the highest profile advocates for medical cannabis in the country. He has used medical cannabis products to effectively manage the symptoms of his Multiple Sclerosis (MS) since his diagnosis with the disease in 1999.

 

Williams began his professional career in the United States Marine Corps. He was the first black Marine selected to attend the Naval Academy Prep School to go to graduate from the US Naval Academy and be commissioned as a Naval Officer. He earned a degree in general engineering and a minor in international security affairs. Over the course of his 22-year military career, Williams earned three Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, and other military awards and citations. Williams was also given a Meritorious Service Award for his positive portrayal of the military throughout the seventeen year run of The Montel Williams Show.

 

Williams earned his media celebrity status as an Emmy Award winning television personality whom Americans invited into their homes for more than 17 years. Alongside his TV career, he’s become an inspirational speaker, author, entrepreneur, and advocate for patients worldwide.

 

At the height of his TV career, in 1999, Williams experienced his first symptoms of MS—a sharp and 24-hour neuropathic pain in his feet and legs. When pharmaceuticals proved ineffective, his doctor recommended medical cannabis as part of his treatment. Ever since, Williams has been using cannabis products as a medication to manage the debilitating symptoms of his MS.

 

Williams became an early advocate of medical cannabis law reform in the US. Back when he started as an advocate, patients were being dragged out of their homes in wheelchairs by the police for using cannabis to treat their pain, and Williams was one of the few high profile voices on Capitol Hill fighting for their rights. Over the past two decades, he has worked to pass medical cannabis legislation in key states and led the push for military veterans to access medical cannabis without the threat of losing benefits.

 

When Williams first began using cannabis, there was little research into its medical uses. Williams sought out the latest in cannabis manufacturing technologies and research and worked closely with a formulator to ensure that his medicine was the highest quality available.

 

As founder of Lenitiv Scientific, Williams remains dedicated to delivering high-quality and consistent products to patients—like himself—who rely on cannabis as a medicine.