CompassionWV Staff



Rev. Mary Nichols

Executive Director

Mary Nichols founded CompassionWV in April 2016 because she sees the powerful positive benefits medical cannabis could bring to the state of West Virginia. Mary is a lifelong WV resident. She has fifteen years’ experience as an executive and business analyst in the health insurance industry, specializing in government programs (Medicare and Medicaid). Mary is an experienced manager, team leader, and project management specialist. Mary is also an ordained minister with more than 30 years’ experience in faith-based initiatives. Mary’s career in the private sector was cut short by a debilitating chronic pain condition. After finding no relief through years of treatment in conventional Western medicine, Mary turned to becoming an activist for medical cannabis legalization to help herself and other West Virginia patients who stand to benefit from access to medical cannabis.

Mary lives in Charleston, WV where she loves to cook, garden, sing, quilt, read, write, knit, spin yarn (both the fiber kind and the story kind), and teach others to do all of the above. Mary is raising two teenage sons with the help of one long-suffering husband and a pack of large dogs.


Erik Janus

Director of Business Operations

Erik Janus is a 23-year veteran of the environmental health sciences, a small business owner, lobbyist and entrepreneur. His career has focused on the science and regulation of chemicals in the environment, foods, consumer packaged goods and industrial applications and he is an active advocate for non-animal methods of safety testing and sustainable agriculture. He is well-versed (and has published many papers) in toxicology, exposure assessment and risk assessment of pesticides, industrial chemicals, cannabinoids and nanomaterials. Erik is an experienced project manager and a successful coalition builder. He currently serves as President of M³ Technical & Regulatory Services (a consulting company) and Chief Operating Officer for Agri Carb Electric (a clean green tech start-up in West Virginia) and holds Board of Director positions with the West Virginia Hemp Industries Association and BioBuzz (a company that stimulates the dynamic bioscience industry throughout Maryland, DC and Virginia). He holds leadership roles in the Society of Toxicology and the International Society for Regulatory Pharmacology & Toxicology and is an Advisor to the PETA International Science Consortium.

Erik lives in Shepherdstown with wife and son along with a pile of cats and musical instruments.

Compassion West Virginia Foundation Board of Directors


Kimberly White

Kim White is a U.S. Navy veteran who has experience in higher education and mental health. Kim currently serves as the Director of Military and Veterans Affairs for Marshall University. Kim is also currently working towards a Doctorate in Education at Marshall University. Kim has worked in mental health and veterans’ affairs as a licensed social worker for 13 years. Prior to that, she was a high school teacher. Kim brings an extensive background in grant-writing to the team. Most recently, Kim secured a $20,000 Enterprise Foundation grant for Marshall University in 2016.

Kim is a passionate advocate and will bring the needed higher education and veterans affairs perspective to the table. Kim is married to  Dr. Chris White, a professor of history at Marshall and a scholar of global drug policy.



Jason Bailey

Jason has more than 10 years of experience serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, first through The ARC of the Three Rivers, and now as the Executive Director of ResCare Residential Services in Parkersburg, WV. Jason has worked on both the clinical side as well as the business side of residential treatment programs. Jason holds an MBA from American Intercontinental University and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. He brings both prior Board of Directors experience as well as significant grant-writing and budget development experience.



Mike Manypenny

Mike Manypenny is a West Virginia farmer, businessman, and entrepreneur. Mike served three terms in the WV House of Delegates. During the biggest chemical spill in West Virginia’s history, as Chairman of the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on the State’s Water Resources, Mike fought to bring accountability to all responsible parties for the spill. Mike is a consensus-building leader who worked hard during his time in the WV Legislature to advocate for farmers, senior citizens, veterans, and children. Working within the community, Mike has been instrumental in developing organizations and programs that help improve the community. In 1999, Mike founded an environmental group called Global Impact which promotes and advocates for conservation and recycling issues. Not long after that, Mike was asked to become a Board member of the Northern West Virginia Centers for Independent Living, an advocacy organization that fights for the rights of the aged and disabled communities.


Bill Flanigan

Bill Flanigan is a lawyer who specializes in contract and personal injury. He was appointed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to serve in the 87th legislative session to fill a vacancy in the West Virginia House of Delegates. As a lifelong West Virginian, Delegate Flanigan has seen first-hand the impact of limited economic diversity. While our natural resource extraction continues to struggle against increasingly insurmountable odds, Delegate Flanigan believes it is common sense that we should harness our other assets, including focusing on farming and managed land use. He has shown a rare sense of bravery and integrity as a junior Delegate, including a powerful floor speech in 2016 tabling a bill that would have dramatically increased mandatory jail time for transporting any amount of cannabis across state lines, including medical cannabis. Utilizing his own experience with medical cannabis as a cancer survivor who had recently finished chemotherapy, he clearly elucidated the benefits of medical
cannabis in battling the harmful side-effects of chemotherapy, especially when compared to opioids and anti-nausea medications. Throughout his term, Delegate Flanigan has heard from many state residents regarding the benefits of medical cannabis and will bring this strong sense of grassroots passion to the Board of Directors.