Aaron Riley is a renowned California entrepreneur. Though he has gained experience in many industries, Aaron built his expertise in the cannabis industry as the CEO of CannaSafe, the first ISO-accredited cannabis testing lab in the world. This website will provide an outlet for Aaron Riley to provide updates within the cannabis industry. Before viewing future blogs, get to know the background of Aaron Riley to see why he’s uniquely qualified to touch on a wide array of cannabis topics.
In his early years, Riley was an involved student. He found success participating in extracurriculars like the Rotary Club at The Bolles School, an academically recognized high school in Jacksonville, Florida.
His ambition followed him to his post-secondary pursuits. At Jacksonville University, he was on the shooting team and captain of the football team. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with Magna Cum Laude.
Mr. Riley stayed at Jacksonville University to pursue an MBA in Finance. He completed the degree in less than a year and graduated with honors. During his time in graduate school, he remained active in campus life and even received the Dr. James Brady Presidents Award.
While many people associate Aaron Riley with cannabis, it was several years after completing his education that he broke into this industry.
Here are a few highlights from his early career:
Upon graduation, Aaron wanted to put his Finance degree to good use. He combined his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the auto industry to form Wolf Luxury Vehicles, Inc. in 2013.
This car dealership was Mr. Riley’s first business endeavor. While the 22-year-old had no experience, he quickly learned about this industry and built his company from the ground up.
Wolf Luxury Vehicles, Inc. proved to be lucrative and continues to be successful. Though Aaron has shifted his focus to other pursuits, he remains involved in the company.
In 2014, Aaron Riley joined Grade A Investments. This firm is a platform that offers expert financial consulting to companies across many industries. A few examples of businesses he worked with include:
- Entertainment agencies
- Clothing manufacturers
- Engineering firms
Because he consulted for private and publicly traded companies, he was able to amass quite a bit of experience. His portfolio includes projects involving:
- Value creation
- Investor relations
- Equity financing
- Exit strategies
Through his success, he worked his way up to CEO of Grade A Investments and continues to oversee the firm.
After leading a car dealership and investment firm, Aaron Riley shifted his focus to a different industry — cannabis. This seemingly unrelated experience proved to be paramount to his success.
See below to learn more about the Aaron Riley cannabis era.
Testing at CannaSafe
In 2014, the Aaron Riley cannabis era was born. He joined CannaSafe, an ISO-accredited lab that ensures the safety of hemp products.
Mr. Riley recognized how new the industry was and its need for product testing. His work ensured manufacturers throughout California and beyond were protecting their consumers.
Aaron Riley became CannaSafe’s new president in 2016.
Through this role, he helped the company achieve many milestones. For instance, he marketed CannaSafe as the world’s first fully ISO-accredited cannabis testing lab. He also oversaw the verification of over $1 billion in California hemp products.
Additionally, he used his position to advocate for the industry. He appeared on Fox and NBC Nightly News to provide insight into the vaping health crisis and stress the importance of cannabis and hemp testing. He also worked with the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, sharing his expertise through his talk “California Cannabis: A Lab Perspective.”
In 2019, he received the 2019 Americans for Safe Access Business Advocate of the Year award. This award demonstrates his efforts to help small businesses prosper in his community.
Particularly notable was that Mr. Riley achieved all his success through self-financing. He never sought to fundraise or take any outside capital. This approach forced him to overcome obstacles such as breaking even one year and losing money another. In the end, however, it allowed him to focus on maximizing the company’s success.
In January 2020, Aaron became CannaSafe’s CEO. The lab awarded him this position because it recognized his contributions to not only its operations but also the industry as a whole.
As CEO, Mr. Riley continues to champion consumer safety. He sees that there is increasing demand for testing as the result of further legalization across the country. To keep up with this demand, he is shifting the company’s focus from California to include national audiences. So far, he has proven successful in his attempts to expand the operation. Inc 5000 recognized CannaSafe as the 13th fastest-growing company on its annual list. And in just three years, Mr. Riley was able to increase sales by over 12,000%. He hopes to use this momentum to keep growing and ensure consumer safety across the U.S.
Aaron Riley of California: Philanthropy
Throughout his work in the industry, Aaron became familiar with the injustices that plague the industry. You can view the effects of anti-cannabis legislation on ordinary people by checking out the Aaron Riley Blacklist blog.
Thus, to give back to the community, he ensures that he and CannaSafe remain involved. One of their most notable contributions is a $100,000+ budget for education and advocacy. They host events that teach people about the industry’s injustices and even hold expungement clinics. These clinics help people convicted of cannabis or hemp-related crimes seal their records, allowing them to improve their employment and housing opportunities.
To take its advocacy a step further, CannaSafe has a discount program for businesses that do good for the community. This incentive encourages manufacturers to do their part.
Mr. Riley makes a point to ensure CannaSafe’s altruism is reflected in its internal operations. The lab is inclusive in its recruitment, securing employment for minorities, and giving people of all backgrounds a chance to work in the industry. He even focuses on hiring individuals persecuted for marijuana-related offenses, allowing them to legally participate in a thriving industry.
Future blog posts will touch on everything from ways you can help with advocacy to why legalization at the federal level will help ensure the safest use of cannabis.