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Stepscience Pharma & Engineering

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Ana Francisca Bettencout

Professor at FFUL, Researcher at iMED

Ana Francisca Bettencourt holds a PharmD (1993), and PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry (2006) from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon (FFUL). She has worked as “Quality Control Manager” in the Pharma Industry. Currently, she is a Professor with Habilitation in Pharmaceutical Technology in the Department of Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Health Technologies (FFUL). She is responsible for several courses, including Medical Devices, in the Integrated Master of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 

To date, she published over 70 papers in journals indexed to SCOPUS/WoS and presented more than 270 communications at international and national conferences. She has supervised PhD and Master’s thesis in various areas related to pharmaceutical technology, biochemistry, food and health science, nanotoxicology and regulatory science. Her current research interests revolve around developing advanced systems for local drug delivery using nanotechnology and 3D-printing, along with exploring the exciting developments in Regulatory Science. Additionally, she is an active member of the technical committees of ISO/TC 194 (Biological evaluation of medical devices) and CT 87 (Health Technologies). 

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Andreia Monteiro

Analytical Development & Validation (AD&Val) Team Leader

Andreia Monteiro holds a degree in Pharmacy, by Escola Superior de Tecnologias da saúde de Lisboa (ESTeSL) and a Master in Pharmaceutical and Parapharmaceutical Industry, by CESIF.

She has more than 8 years of experience in Pharmaceutical Industry, mainly with R&D functions. More recently, she’s a Team Leader in Analytical Development & Validation department. 

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Capgemini Portugal

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David Alonso


MHead of Scientific Expansion at MyFloraDNA

With an extensive background in plant biotechnology and genetics, David currently serves as the Head of Scientific Expansion at MyFloraDNA. He graduated in Biology from Universidad de Salamanca and has garnered diverse expertise from his work at institutions such as Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV). Presently, David is pursuing advanced studies in Bioinformatics at UOC. His unique combination of academic and practical experiences places him at the vanguard of plant biotechnology innovations.​

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Farida Hussain

Managing Director / FounderManaging Director / Founder at Dovetail Consulting

Farida Hussain is a professional consultant who has worked with an array of clients from all over the world, focusing on building teams, increasing sales, training managers and product placement. 

As a Canadian living in Europe for almost a decade, she has been able to provide valuable insights for her clients in various areas within the cannabis industry. With over 5 years of experience in the cannabis industry under her belt, Farida has seen the trends and movements shift and morph which has enabled her to better assess the current markets, internationally. 

Farida has been on numerous panels at conferences all over and is always excited to share her views and to learn more about this industry and the cannabis plant itself. 

Currently, she is consulting 2 large clients, one being a licensed genetics breeder and the other an EU GMP cultivator.

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Giadha A. Decarcer

Co-Founder Ctrust

Giadha A. DeCarcer is the Founder of New Frontier Data, the premier data, analytics, and technology firm specializing in the global cannabis industry. Founding New Frontier Data in 2014, DeCarcer grew the company from a $25,000 one-person-based startup, to an over $150 Million Dollars-valued enterprise, with more than 100 employees across three continents, and built one of the most trusted and respected brands in the space today, crossing 20 billions in repeat earned media reach worldwide within its first five years of operation.

In late 2022, Giadha became one of the three co-founding member of CTrust, the first and only investment risk scoring and monitoring solution in the cannabis industry today, and joined the executive team as its CEO.

DeCarcer and her work have been featured in Forbes, Fortune, CNBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Business Journal, and many other prominent news outlets worldwide, as well as in documentaries and books, including “Mary Janes,” “The Marijuana Show,” “The Great Green Gold Rush,” and “Breaking the Grass Ceiling.” She was listed as one of the 20 Most Influential Women in Cannabis by Greendorphin and has also been designated as one of Washingtonian Magazine’s Most Influential People in the DC-Area Weed Business and one of The Most Powerful Women to Watch in D.C.

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Gonçalo Pereira

Polícia de Segurança Pública

Gonçalo Pereira started his journey in law enforcement in 2015 at the Superior Police School of Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP). From there, he finished his Homeland Security degree in 2018 and his Police Science Master degree in 2020, where he was promoted to Police Inspector and later Police Station Commander.
At the end of 2022, Gonçalo completed the Private Security course and joined the Private Security Department of PSP.
Currently, he is the Head of the Investigation and Inspection Unit of the Private Security Department.
He’s responsible for the unit that inspects and oversees the entire private security sector in Portugal, in addition to all entities that require mandatory security measures, such as companies that carry out activities based on the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes, catering and drinking establishments, and pharmacies, among others.

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Heitor Costa

Director of Institutional affairs and innovation, Apifarma

Heitor Costa is the Director of Institutional Affairs and Innovation at APIFARMA – Associação Portuguesa da Indústria Farmacêutica, Member of the Board of Directors of AICIB – Agency for Clinical Research and Biomedical Innovation/ ISBE – Evidence-Based Health Institute/CoLAB TRIALS and Member of the Committee for the Evaluation of Medicines at INFARMED.

He was Executive Director of APIFARMA (2011-2021); Director of Institutional Relations, Communication and Market Access of Sanofi (2009-2011); Medical Director of Medinfar Group (2005-2009); Advisor to the Secretary of State of Health (2004-2005); Director of Medicines & Health Products (2002-2004) & Director of Evaluation of Health Products (2000-2002) at INFARMED. Between 1998-2002 Heitor performed several Technical functions.

He was also a member of several committees and working groups of the Council and the Commission of the European Union and of the European Medicines Agency, having chaired the Coordination Group of Market Surveillance Competent Authorities.

Between 2011-2021 at EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) he was a member of the Social and Economic Policy Committee, of the Executive Committee, of the European Markets Committee and of the Committee of Directors General of National Associations. At IFPMA (International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations), AESGP (Association of the European Self-Care Industry) and MedTech Europe he was part of the related Committees of Directors General of National Associations.

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Helena Correia

Regulatory Affairs & Quality Consultant

Helena Correia holds a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Master Degree in Technology of Medicines from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Coimbra University (FFUC). She is Post-Graduated in Herbal Medicinal Products and Herbal Health Products by the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Coimbra University (FFUC) and in Regulation and Evaluation of Medicines and Health Products by the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Lisbon University (FFUL).

With more than 15 years of experience in Pharma Regulatory and Quality Affairs, Helena worked as process manager at Infarmed, I.P., for 2 years and led regulatory and quality teams in different Pharmaceutical Companies.

Being a passionate of medicinal plants and Pharmacognosy, Helena joined Clever Leaves Portugal in 2021 as Head of Regulatory Affairs for Portugal, also involved in international regulatory affairs in medicinal cannabis, merging her expertise in regulatory affairs and medicinal plants.

Helena is currently supporting cannabis companies, given her deep knowledge of global regulatory legislation and practices, which is helpful in the structuring of regulatory strategies in the relevant markets.

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Hermano Rodrigues

Principal, EY-Parthenon 

Hermano Rodrigues is presently Principal in EY-Parthenon, in Portugal. He worked in the consultancy firm Augusto Mateus & Associados as head of the Industries & Business area since 2003 and became partner in 2016. He was strategic consultant at EY. He was founding partner of Sigma Team Consulting, in 2001. He accumulated a long experience in the academy, recording past connections to several universities of the North region.  

He has extensive experience in microeconomic studies on the competitiveness, innovation and internationalization of companies and industries, as well as on the subject of collective business efficiency associated with processes of clustering and upgrading of global value chains. In the scope of thematic, sectorial and cauterization studies, he has been coordinating 

numerous works and strategic plans in activities and themes such as construction, tourism, habitat, health, agro-food, metal-mechanics, chemistry and pharmaceuticals, paper, waste, ICT, fashion, the sea, transportation and automobile and the circular economy. He also has extensive experience in evaluating public policies and programs, both at national and international level, in particular in higher education, science and technology, R&D and innovation. 

In his career as a consultant, he also participated in several studies focused on business strategy and optimization of the options for financing investment projects, as well as prospective and conjuncture studies on the Portuguese economy in the European context and regional studies, the elaboration of NUTS III strategic plans and cities / councils and the analysis of the effects of large investment projects in specific territories. 

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Inez Agoas

Capgemini Portugal

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Inês Vieira

Technical & Quality Director, Key Leaves

Inês is a Pharmacist with a Post Graduation in Medicinal Cannabis GMP(s) and, a Specialization in Regulatory Affair & Technical Direction.

She Joined Key Leaves in January 2020, a company who does cultivation, importation and exportation of medical cannabis. The facility is located in Setúbal, waiting for the Post-Harvest GMP II certification. Auto-flowering plants, 100% organic! It was THE case study: First successful high-THC medical cannabis harvest from autoflower seeds in the world.

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Joana Silveira Botelho

Lawyer / Head of the Pharma & Health Sciences at CuatreCasas Portugal

Joana has more than 15 years of experience in Health Law and leads the Pharmaceuticals and Health Sciences area at the Cuatrecasas law firm. 

She has a degree in Law from Universidade Católica Portuguesa, postgraduate degrees from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Universidade de Coimbra and a master’s degree from Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Currently, she provides advice to pharmaceutical companies, tissue and cell banks and distributors of medical devices, particularly in the regulatory area and in matters related to the commercialization of health products and services.

Joana also provides legal advice on specific biotechnology-based and start-up projects; clinical trials; GDPR matters; transaction restructuring and mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare sector. 

In the field of medical cannabis, Joana has been following several projects in Portugal, namely in the licensing and follow up of projects for the cultivation, distribution, manufacture, and marketing of medical cannabis-based products.

She is recommended by the main international legal directory, Chambers and Partners, for the Life Sciences area. She is the author of the Pharma Legal Handbook – Portugal.

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João Neto

Pharmacy Museum Director

João Neto’s has an extensive experience in, and understanding of, Health and Pharmacy History and Museology. This has been built over a period of more than 26 years, working both in Portugal and Internationally. Along with enthusiasm and commitment João had the ability to build and lead (as a Director) two international museum’s dedicated to Health and Pharmacy History in Lisbon and Oporto, and the museum’s strategy of: acquiring international collections, exhibitions, excavations, conservation programs, and scholarly exchanges programs. A global perspective  which brought a significant value to health and science museology and society. João has a Degree in History from the Universidade Lusíada in Lisbon and a postgraduation in Heritage Laws, from Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Lisboa (FDUL).

He’s also the President of the Portuguese National Association of Museology, Member of National Council of Culture, Advisory Body to the Ministry of Culture, National Correspondent of the European Museum Forum, Board member of National Association of Portuguese Science Museums among other important distinctions and roles in the preservation of History.

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Joel Caria

Quality Assurance Coordinator at Alloga Logifarma

Joel Caria is a Quality Assurance Coordinator at Alloga Logifarma, a logistics provider with GDP and GMP Certification exclusively dedicated to warehousing and distribution of healthcare products. To comply with the requirements of Good Distribution Practices, Joel Caria has furthered his knowledge in the qualification of active transport systems, namely temperature-controlled vehicles, route qualification and optimization of processes associated with the distribution of healthcare products. One of his main responsibilities is to ensure the fulfillment and improvement of the Validation Master Plan, which includes the validation of systems and processes, the qualification of all equipment with a direct impact on GDP operations (IQ/OQ/PQ), and frequency of requalification and revalidation.

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José Guerrero

Export Department Novagric

Get to know José Manuel Sánchez Guerrero, the go-to guy when it comes to every aspect of designing, setting up, and running medicinal cannabis projects under the GACP guidelines. 

He holds an engineering degree in civil engineering from the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, with a specialization in Hydrology. 

With a diverse background in outdoor, greenhouse, indoor, and vertical farming cultivation setups, José Manuel brings invaluable experience to the table. He deeply understands the huge challenge cultivating medicinal cannabis within controlled environments (CEA) along the year and in different geographic areas is. While his most extensive involvement has been within the Portuguese market, he has provided technical insights to over 20 operational projects across Latin America and Europe.

Despite the differences of each country’s context, he has borne witness to both successes and setbacks in this dynamic sector. In this session, we will delve into the pivotal aspects, technologies, and cultivation pointers specific to greenhouse cannabis cultivation. The objective is to yield high-quality blossoms tailored to the medicinal market’s rigorous standards.

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Presidente da Associação Portuguesa de Diretores de Segurança

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José Veracruz

Head of Quality Assurance /QP, Canna.biz

José Veracruz holds a PharmD (2000) from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon (FFUL), with Pharmaceutical Industry Specialist certification from the Portuguese Pharmacists’ Association, and an Executive MBA (2018) from INDEG-ISCTE University of Lisbon.

For 14 years, he assumed the Linde Portugal Quality Assurance Management and Qualified Person role for medicinal gases manufacturing, leading several European teams. 

From 2019 and for 3.5 years, he was the Operations Director of Linde Saúde, acting simultaneously since November 2019 as a Quality Assurance consultant and QP, for the Medicinal Cannabis company, Canna.Biz.

Currently, and since October 2022, he is the Head of Quality Assurance and QP for Canna.Biz, being responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the Quality Management system of medicinal cannabis cultivation (GACP) and cannabis-based medicines manufacturing and distribution (GMP and GDP), assuming the responsibility of all market released products.

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Luís Soares


Aldo Vidinha

Margarida Mesquita
de Carvalho

Organizational Sustainability Director, Bluepharma

Margarida Mesquita de Carvalho has a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Faculty of Pharmacy of Coimbra University, and a specialist title in Pharmaceutical Industry issued by the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Society.  

She started her career in the pharmaceutical industry as a Quality Control trainee, and has occupied managerial positions as Quality Management Director and Responsible Person for Distribution in Bluepharma. From 2020 onwards she manages the Sustainability department, encompassing ESG management, namely Environment, Health & Safety, Social Responsibility and Training. 

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Mariana Romão

RWE and Outcomes Research Manager at CEFAR – Center for Health Evaluation and Research

Mariana Romão is a pharmacist and a RWE and Outcomes Research Manager at CEFAR – Center for Health Evaluation and Research.

With a Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Faculty of Pharmacy of University of Lisbon, she is currently completing her Master’s in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Health Research at the National School of Public Health, having already completed the coursework.

Mariana stands out as an author and co-author of several scientific articles published in peer-reviewed international journals, as well as scientific posters presented at national and international scientific congresses.

Her work contributes to the real-world health outcomes research involving patients, diseases, and health interventions, and highlights her commitment to seeking innovative and effective solutions to challenges in the healthcare field, particularly those affecting community pharmacies.

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Miguel Abelho

CQV engineer in Stepscience Pharma
& Engineering

Miguel Abelho is a Mechanical Engeneering graduated from Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. Right from his final thesis for obtaining the master’s degree he started to pave his way on the pharmaceutical industry by discussing the “Implementation of a Risk Management methodology in the construction and manufacturing stages of a medical cannabis pharmaceutical facility”.​

His career started in the pharmaceutical industry as a CQV engineer in Stepscience – Pharma & Engineering, where develops and implements CQV (Commissioning, Qualification and Validation) projects in major national companies such as Cipan or Hovione while at the same time collaborates with the internal team on different smaller projects within the pharma and medical cannabis industries.

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Miguel Samora


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Ricardo Cunha

Head of R&D Management, Blueclinical

Ricardo Cunha holds a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto and a master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Medicine from the University of Aveiro. In 2011 he joined Eurotrials Scientific Consultants, in the R&D Department.

He later worked in the Clinical Trials Department, in the Start-up area, and later, in the Data Management Department.

In 2013 he joined Blueclinical to perform functions related to Business Development and since January 2018 he is the Head of R&D Management Department providing consulting in the development of new health products, namely drugs and medical devices.

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Rob Smallman

Director of Cultivation & Post harvest, Curaleaf

Rob Smallman, a Canadian native, has made Portugal his professional domain, holding the position of Director of Cultivation and Post-Harvest at Curaleaf International. Under his leadership, a dedicated team of 40 excels in cultivation, while a specialized team of 10 ensures excellence in post-harvest processes.
Having carved out a significant two-decade career in the cannabis industry, Rob has emerged as a strategic figurehead in the burgeoning European cannabis landscape, establishing influential partnerships. His impressive portfolio spans roles from Chief Cultivation Officer to Post-Harvest Manager, leading expansive medical cannabis and hemp projects in diverse regions: Spain, Italy, the UK, Serbia, Uruguay, Portugal, Greece, and Canada.
Rob’s collaboration with the Government of Canada marks a significant chapter in his journey. He was instrumental in the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis, addressing the needs of a wide range of patients, from those diagnosed with epilepsy to those confronting terminal diseases. His pioneering spirit shone brightly when he actively participated with Health Canada in the introduction of groundbreaking medical cannabis pilot programs like MMPR, ACMPR, and MMAR.
Beyond cultivation, Rob’s proficiency spans the full spectrum of the cannabis business. He stands out as a seasoned Cannabis Business Development Consultant, overseeing all stages of a project: from initial licensing, site selection, and architectural design, right through to the intricate stages of cultivation, drying, curing, extraction, sales, and marketing.

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Rui Soares


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Sara Figueiredo

Introduction of New Products & Microbiological Control Manager, LEF

Sara Figueiredo has a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon. She is currently developing a doctoral project in the scope of three-dimensional printing of medicines at FFUL, in collaboration with LEF – Infosaúde and Research Centre of Egas Moniz.  

She started her professional activity as laboratory technician at Quality Control & Stability department in LEF – Infosaúde. During the period of 2018 to 2021, Sara Figueiredo assumed the supervisor role in the same department. 

Nowadays and since 2021 she is responsible of the Introduction of New Products & Microbiological Control department at LEF, in which all analytical activities in the scope of Medical Cannabis are carried out.  

Additionally, she is author of scientific communications and publications in congresses and scientific journals. Her academic experience also includes the role of teacher in technical-scientific courses from 2016 to the present. 

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Sérgio Neto

Cannabis Business Advisor and Production Manager in Cannacare 

40 years old, Graduated in Computer Science and career done in multinational companies like SAP. Lived in Barcelona during 4 years, Winners Circle winner in 2015, Market Unit Top Performer in 2016 and 2017.

Working in medical cannabis since 2018 when the Portuguese goverment aprove the legislation. Graduated in Medical Cannabis in 2019 by Cannabis training University in USA.

Sérgio starts his role long time ago, helping his grandmother fighting against a severe Leukemia. Sérgio create one of first 100% Portuguese company with license to grow, import and export. He dedicated last years to the cultivation and study of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes.

He was responsible by the growing, operations, human resources, partnerships, and sales.  Winner of two World record awards for reaching the highest levels of THC in two auto-flowering plants, 100% organic! It was THE case study: First successful high-THC medical cannabis harvest from autoflower seeds in the world.

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Sérgio Bagulho

Security Manager at ANF 

Sergio Bagulho began his professional career as an Inspector of Criminal Investigation of the Portuguese Judiciary Police, a role he held for 14 years, and another 2 years at the Attorney General’s Office of the Portuguese Republic.

Between 2009 and 2012, he worked as Director of Security and Inspection at Groundforce, an Handling company.

From 2012 to 2017, he was General Manager Outstations for the Africa and America Stations at TAP Air Portugal. Sergio Bagulho is currently Head of Security for the Operations, Cyber, Facilitation and Infrastructure areas, also in TAP Air Portugal.

He is a Security Manager and Trainer, accredited by the National Civil Aviation Authority and Director/Head of Security officially recognized by the Private Security Department of the Public Security Police. He has taken part in various significant criminal investigations in Financial Economic Crime and Violent Crime. 

Besides that, he has also numerous relevant works/projects in the field of Security and Criminal investigations; TAPA certification consultant for Alliance Healthcare Portugal and Alloga/Logifarma and has developed diverse Security and Training programs for Civil Aviation.

Sergio Bagulho has spoken at several conferences and seminars about Civil Aviation Security and Tourism, 

Transport/Logistics as well as Human Trafficking and Document Fraud.

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Entrepreneur in Medical Cannabis

Viviane Sedola is an entrepreneur in medicinal cannabis, she is in Public Relations, and has been working to regulate access to Cannabis-based products since 2018.

She founded Dr. Cannabis in Brazil, the leading medicinal cannabis marketplace, which was acquired in 2022.

Recognized with the international “Female 50” award from High Times Magazine, Viviane is also Board Member for the regulation of psychoactive drugs in the Council for Social and Sustainable Development of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil.


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Xavier G.

Head Of EU Sales, Klonetics Plant Science

Xavier G is a career and cannabis oriented entrepreneur as part owner at Resin Seeds, Head of Sales for Klonetics EU, independent cultivation advisor, and business development partner for MyFloraDNA in USA and Sweed Ltd in Malta. 

His 25+ years experience in medical cannabis, cultivation, advisory and immersive passion for the plant, make him an overall subject matter expert in the cannabis ecosystem.