(This story has been updated to note that Andy Williams was chosen as interim CEO.)
The marijuana industry lost a pioneer on Saturday when Brett Roper, the CEO of Medicine Man Technologies, died suddenly in Colorado, according to the company. He was 65.
The Denver-based cannabis consultancy declined to disclose the cause of death.
Roper helped serial entrepreneur Andy Williams found Medicine Man Technologies in March 2014 – five years after Williams co-founded Medicine Man, a vertically integrated Denver cannabis company.
According to a news release, Roper asked the company’s board in June to begin a search for his replacement as CEO. He was hoping to cut back to a semiretired role focused on business development, special projects and other responsibilities.
Medicine Man Technologies also said that Williams has been appointed interim CEO of the company until the permanent CEO is announced.
Williams said Roper’s leadership and foresight were instrumental in growing the consultancy.
“Brett was not just passionate,” Williams said. “He had a big heart. He loved to teach. He loved to help people.”
Williams praised Roper’s work ethic, saying he “could produce mountains of work, yet he still found time to go to not just your website, but many, many others and comment and teach and even take heat.”
Trying to fill the gap left by Roper will be difficult, Williams added.
Roper was able to help break down the stigma of the industry by helping share his business acumen with investors and others in his generation, who might have been more willing to listen to someone such as Roper than someone younger, according to Williams.
“Losing Brett is such a hard thing for us, because he was such a friend and what he did for the company,” Williams said.