Founder of MITA
Demitri Downing is a former prosecutor and industry registered lobbyist who is part of the original vanguard of Arizona medical marijuana industry leaders. Dedicated to building a vibrant and successful market, Downing has distinguished himself as a vested industry expert and influential trailblazer. With a strong understanding of both policy and operations on a local and international level, Downing was instrumental in drafting Prop 205, Arizona’s 2016 legalization bill and currently serves as an advisor to the 2020 Arizona recreational initiative committee.
Downing entered the industry as business development, regulatory compliance, and Mergers & Acquisitions specialist. He quickly grew this and his operational responsibilities into other roles to meet the growing needs of a developing market and industry. Downing brings over a decade of law enforcement and government relations expertise to his marijuana policy work. He has an in-depth knowledge of the complex nuances shaping the emerging industry. He has also developed one of the most expansive networks of cannabis business professionals and entrepreneurs in the industry.
In May of 2016, seeing the need for strong State level industry associations, Downing founded MITA-AZ, the Arizona Marijuana Industry Trade Association, the state’s first and largest industry trade association. He is also the co-founder of the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo, which hosted shows in Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas, and Miami. In addition, he has collaborated with other industry innovators to foster inclusivity and cultural and ethnic diversity in the cannabis space. As part Native American and Mexican, Downing is the founding member of the National Indian Cannabis Coalition (NICC), an organization focused on guiding native communities into emerging cannabis market opportunities and founding member of the Mexican Cannabis Business Alliance. Downing is also the co-founder of AMMA PAC, a patient’s first organization in Arizona, and co-founder of digital publication Arizona Cannabis Monthly.
Through his consulting company, PolicyQuake, Downing has acted as a consultant for pro-industry legal changes in numerous U.S. states, advised on applications for limited licensing states and as a partner and strategic advisor on multiple ancillary ventures, as well as advising on dispensary and cultivation operations. On an international level, Downing has been very active since 2017, serving as a founding board member for global conference CannaMex at the invitation of former President of Mexico Vicente Fox. He is also working with Cannabisalud, Cannex, Expo Columbia as well as others. Demitri has also attended, spoken at or participated in more than 100 cannabis conferences across the globe.
With a dynamic combination of small business start-up expertise coupled with an education in Epistemology from Boston University and a degree in law from the University of Arizona College of Law, Downing’s cumulative insight and perceptive approach have made him an innovative business leader in the medical marijuana space.
Downing is currently working on many national and international projects to advance the growing marijuana industry. His greatest point of pride is helping hundreds of industry professionals through MITA-AZ, his private consultancy, as well as job fairs he has created, to navigate the complexities of the rapidly changing marijuana landscape and find work! As Prohibition ends and the culture and economics shift, few Americans are better positioned and prepared to advise others on these matters then Downing.