Before you Buy: Check the Credit Tab to Make Sure Your Jurisdiction is Accredited!
The International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA) is thrilled to announce the highly anticipated Cannabis Law Institutetm 2023 (CLI 2023), the marquee conference dedicated to advancing legal excellence in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. This dynamic event, widely considered to be the preeminent annual conference for cannabis law practitioners, will take place from June 8 to June 10, 2023, at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.
CLI 2023 is set to bring together a diverse array of legal experts, policymakers, and industry pioneers from around the world. As the cannabis landscape continues to transform, this conference will provide attendees with invaluable insights and practical knowledge to navigate the complex legal framework surrounding the industry.
"We are excited to host the Cannabis Law Institute 2023 and provide an exceptional platform for legal professionals and industry leaders to collaborate, learn, and share cutting-edge legal strategies," said Jason Horst, President of the INCBA. "This conference is instrumental in shaping the future of the cannabis industry, fostering innovation, and ensuring compliance with evolving legal standards."
Spanning three insightful days, the INCBA Cannabis Law Institute 2023 will feature a robust program packed with keynote addresses, panel discussions, and breakout sessions, covering a wide range of critical topics. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with esteemed experts and gain profound insights into emerging legal trends,
regulatory challenges, business opportunities, and social equity issues in the cannabis industry.
Sessions will include thought-provoking discussions such as "Legacy to Legal: Balancing Incentives and Enforcement," "Descheduling vs Rescheduling," "The Intersection of Law, Policy, and Science: Contradiction or Complement?," and "Here Comes the Money: Banking and Payment Processing in the Cannabis Industry."
The INCBA Cannabis Law Institute 2023 offers unparalleled networking opportunities, fostering connections among legal professionals, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and industry influencers.
This program is eligible for 15 hours of General CLE credit in 60-minute states, and 18 hours of General CLE credit in 50-minute states. Credit hours are estimated and are subject to each state’s approval and credit rounding rules.
INCBA webinars are eligible for credit in the following states: AR, AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT,DE, GA, HI, IL, IN, MN, MS, MO, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WV, and WI . Additional states may be available for credit upon self-application by attendees. States typically decide whether a program qualifies for MCLE credit in their jurisdiction 4-8 weeks after the program application is submitted. For many live events, credit approval is not received prior to the program.
INCBA on demand programs are eligible for credit in the following states: AR, AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT,DE, GA, HI, IL, IN, MN, MS, MO, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WV, and WI . Additional states may be available for credit upon self-application by attendees. States typically decide whether a program qualifies for MCLE credit in their jurisdiction 4-8 weeks after the program application is submitted.
For current accreditation status, please select your jurisdiction below.
This program is eligible for 3 hours of Specialty CLE credit in 60-minute states, and 3.6 hours of Specialty CLE credit in 50-minute states. Credit hours are estimated and are subject to each state’s approval and credit rounding rules.
INCBA webinars are eligible for credit in the following states: AR, AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT,DE, GA, HI, IL, IN, MN, MS, MO, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WV, and WI . Additional states may be available for credit upon self-application by attendees. States typically decide whether a program qualifies for MCLE credit in their jurisdiction 4-8 weeks after the program application is submitted. For many live events, credit approval is not received prior to the program.
INCBA on demand programs are eligible for credit in the following states: AR, AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT,DE, GA, HI, IL, IN, MN, MS, MO, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WV, and WI . Additional states may be available for credit upon self-application by attendees. States typically decide whether a program qualifies for MCLE credit in their jurisdiction 4-8 weeks after the program application is submitted.
For current accreditation status, please select your jurisdiction below.
Evoke Law, PC
Mary Shapiro, Managing Director of Evoke Law, PC, based in San Francisco, California, is an intellectual property attorney specializing in trademark, consumer protection, copyright, and internet law.
For 20 years prior to her legal career, Mary served in a variety of marketing positions in the book industry, including roles in retail, distribution and publishing. Mary started her legal career in 1999 at Townsend and Townsend and Crew LLP. There, Mary supported businesses in a variety of industries: technology, medical device, pharmaceutical, wineries, non-profit foundations, and consumer products.
Her cannabis practice began in earnest in 2009, offering specialized legal services in intellectual property and consumer protection. Mary strives to assist cannabis operators in selecting strong and enforceable brand names, with her day-to-day work encompassing clearing, filing, prosecuting, enforcing, and licensing trademarks in the U.S. and internationally.
In 2016, Mary rebranded the firm to Evoke Law, continuing to specialize in serving the cannabis industry. By registering brands and enforcing intellectual property rights, businesses are positioned to expand their brands nationally and globally. In the consumer protection arena, Evoke Law guides cannabis operators through the complex compliance issues associated with packaging and labeling, recalls, and advertising. The firm encourages clients to carefully view each decision from the vantage point of its overall marketing strategies and business objectives, as well as the company’s risk tolerance level.
Mary has been a leader in bridging intellectual property law, state cannabis regulations, and the cannabis marketplace. In 2015, Mary was a founding Board member of the National Cannabis Bar Association (NCBA), which now has over 700 active members. She currently serves as the Board Secretary, co-chairs the organization’s worldwide expansion (as the International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA), and is in a leadership role in the Continuing Legal Education program. In 2016-2017, Mary collaborated with industry advocacy groups and fellow legal colleagues, to persuade the California Secretary of State to allow registration of trademarks for cannabis products and services. In early 2018, with the assistance of a technical advisor and expert witness testimony, Evoke Law provided the USPTO with irrefutable scientific evidence that the mature stalks do indeed produce CBD in appreciable quantities without the commingling from other plant parts, including any ‘resinous’ secretions, which debunked the USPTO’s incorrect internal position on this matter, and resulted in the federal registration of a client’s trademark for a hemp-derived product.
Evoke Law provides pro bono assistance to Marijuana Policy Project, Americans for Safe Access, California Cannabis Industry Association, International Cannabis Bar Association, and Cannabis Marketing Association. Mary is also a First 50 supporter of Women Grow, and regularly speaks at industry conferences including MJBiz, NCIA, CCIA, INCBA, Women Grow, and Emerald Cup.
Shabnam Malek has a broad practice but takes greatest pleasure in advising clients on how best to grow, navigate risk, resolve disputes, and how to think creatively in balancing business needs and legal concerns. Shabnam is recognized as an expert in the field of cannabis intellectual property and clients and colleagues seek her out for her expertise in addressing particularly thorny and novel legal issues. She’s a creative thinker looking for solutions that help her clients succeed. Shabnam truly enjoys the role of counselor to start-ups, woman-owned companies, large, global companies as well individuals.
Shabnam is a co-founder and the founding President of the International Cannabis Bar Association. Today, INCBA boasts a membership base of over 700 individual attorney members and a strong international presence. She currently sits on the governing board of INCBA and helps plan the educational curriculum of the organization with a focus on INCBA’s flagship event, the Cannabis Law Institute. Shabnam is also the Chair of the PLI Cannabis Business Law program and an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. Shabnam recently joined the editorial board of Law360’s Cannabis Editorial Advisory Board.
In addition to serving the business community, Shabnam developed a robust pro bono practice representing imprisoned women before the California Board of Parole Hearings as well as representing houseless San Francisco residents through the Coalition on Homelessness.
Shabnam regularly speaks and writes on the topics of trademarks, brand expansion, regulated industries such as cannabis and hemp, and the role of women in creating change. Her professional affiliations include holding a seat on the Board of Directors of the International Cannabis Bar Association and a committee role with the International Trademark Association. She is an active member of the California Lawyers' Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Lawyers Guild, the Queen’s Bench, and the Bar Association of San Francisco. Shabnam was named a Northern California Rising Star three years in a row by Super Lawyers Magazine.
Fatima Afia is a cannabis attorney and civil litigator at Rudick Law Group, PLLC, with a background in commercial and business litigation, land use and landmarks law matters, and disability insurance law. As a litigator, Fatima was an instrumental member of the litigation team behind Washington v. Barr, a pro-bono lawsuit brought against the federal government that sought to declare the federal law criminalizing cannabis unconstitutional. As part of her work in Washington v. Barr, Fatima led the effort in securing overwhelming amicus support before the U.S. Supreme Court from seven members of Congress, 19 disparate and highly regarded organizations, and two eminent cannabis researchers and scientists. In connection with her disability insurance work, she has helped secure and maintain disability benefits for clients from some of the largest disability insurance companies in the United States, playing a vital role in the firm's successful administrative appeal against Unum Insurance Company which resulted in an award of approximately $1 million in retroactive benefits for the client.
As a cannabis attorney, Fatima assists cannabis clients navigate the legal cannabis and hemp industry in the areas of corporate law and regulatory compliance, business transactions, litigation, and state licensing applications in various jurisdictions including New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Fatima is also a social equity advocate, providing instrumental testimony to the Cannabis Control Commission in Massachusetts in 2019 which resulted in an expedited license application-review process for women-and-minority-owned businesses that were unfairly excluded from the regulatory definition of a social equity applicant. Fatima is also an article contributor for Marijuana Venture, has regularly organized and chaired CLE panels and events for the International Cannabis Bar Association (“INCBA”), and is the Co-Chair of INCBA’s CLE Committee. She was the Moot Court Winner at the Medical Cannabis Conference held at Columbia University in 2019, and in 2021 was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine.
Fatima attended Brooklyn Law School where she graduated in the top 20% percent of her graduating class.
Jason Horst is the Managing Partner of Horst Legal Counsel. Jason represents businesses, public entities, professional and nonprofit organizations, and individuals in complex civil litigation and appellate cases involving a wide variety of cannabis, real estate, contract, insurance coverage, and technology disputes. He has a proven record of success representing both plaintiffs and defendants at trial, on appeal, and in alternative dispute resolution proceedings. He prides himself in the ability to deliver creative, efficient solutions to thorny legal problems. Before opening Horst Legal Counsel, Jason worked with some of the top international and regional law firms serving clients in California. His clients receive the deep knowledge and ability of large firm counsel, combined with the affordability of a boutique law firm.Jason serves on the INCBA’s Executive Committee as Vice President of Strategic Planning. He has also been an active member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, where he serves as a member of the Policy Committee and past Chair of the Risk Management and Insurance Committee, as well as the California Cannabis Industry Association’s Risk Management Committee. Jason has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers® Magazine and been named as one of MG Magazine’s 30 Powerful Cannabis Attorneys You Should Know.
Jessica C. McElfresh of McElfresh Law, Inc. has worked in cannabis law and policy since 2010.
She is the Chair of the International Cannabis Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility and
Ethics Committee and a member of its Board of Directors. Jessica focuses on local and state
applications, land use, regulatory compliance, and business law. She represents cannabis
retailers, distributors, cultivators, manufacturers, and testing labs, as well as landlords and
ancillary businesses. She has guided clients through successful applications in jurisdictions such
as the City of San Diego, La Mesa, and the County of San Diego.
Jessica has authored or advised on nearly ten local ballot measures to regulate cannabis
businesses. Successes include Measure U in La Mesa and Measure V in Lemon Grove in 2016
and Measure H in Encinitas in 2020. As part of this work, Jessica has won writs of mandate at
the local and appellate level to compel local governments and registrars of voters to accept
petitions and count voter signatures.
Jessica represents people facing discipline or loss of state and local licenses, particularly in the
cannabis industry. She began her career in criminal defense and continues to take select cases.
Jessica has unique experience with the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege and the
duties of an attorney under investigation or facing criminal charges.
Outside of her law practice, Jessica is an advocate for cannabis and broader drug policy reform.
She is an advisory board member for A New PATH, an organization dedicated to promoting
therapeutic rather than punitive drug policies. Jessica served as a consultant for the American
Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California about how Proposition 64 affects
criminal justice reform and individual rights.
Jessica grew up in San Diego and graduated summa cum laude from Scripps College before
attending the University of San Diego School of Law on a Dean’s Honor Scholarship. She has
spoken at conferences and taught continuing legal education classes for organizations and law
schools including the National Cannabis Industry Association Business Summit & Expo, California Lawyers Associatoin,
Practicing Law Institute, International Cannabis Bar Association, San Diego County Bar
Association, and University of San Diego School of Law. Her publications include “Attorney
Ethics and Cannabis: Conflicts of Laws, Conflicts of Interest, and Attorney-Client Privilege for
Cannabis Practitioners” (CLA Real Property Journal Vol. 38, No. 4 2020).
A regulatory and transactional lawyer by background, Zack Kobrin is a nationally recognized leader in cannabis law. Having previously served as the Vice President and General Counsel for one of the largest cannabis companies in the U.S. and as the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for a publicly traded, multi-state cannabis company, Zack’s practice focuses on cannabis, marijuana, and hemp law. In his prior capacity, Zack was responsible for all corporate and regulatory legal matters, including transactional, banking, and insurance matters; as well as ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local government regulations. Zack was also a key member of the team that helped take his former company public on the Canadian Securities Exchange.
Zack’s practice involves advising clients on the evolving, complex legal and business issues impacting companies with interests in this heavily regulated industry, including all manner of corporate, real estate, and regulatory legal issues. He speaks frequently at business, legal, and industry events and advises a number of entities on areas such as business development and formation, as well as legal and regulatory and compliance issues in the emerging growth cannabis, marijuana, and hemp industries throughout the United States and international markets. Zack also advises clients on developing federal and state public policy matters and banking and insurance issues impacting clients in the cannabis, marijuana, and hemp industries.
In addition to his work in the cannabis industry, Zack’s practice focuses on antitrust, where he advises clients on the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) review and filing process required to obtain federal antitrust approval for certain mergers and acquisitions. Zack works with clients on HSR reportability and transaction structure issues to ensure compliance with federal antitrust regulatory requirements.
Jason Moscovici is a partner, lawyer and biochemist with ROBIC, LLP, a multidisciplinary intellectual property law firm from Quebec, Canada. His IP practice specializes in regulated industries such as food, alcohol, cannabis, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, cosmetics, natural health products, advertising and consumer products.
Jason’s focus on the valorization and enforcement of intellectual property, as well as the numerous compliance issues that orbit regulated industries, have allowed him to quickly become one of the most trusted legal advisors to the emerging cannabis industry. His perspectives on compliance, intellectual property and the commercial hurdles related specifically to cannabis are routinely solicited by stakeholders in this space.
Jason leads ROBIC`s cannabis group and sits on the life sciences committee of the firm.
Marie Sanchez is a lawyer at the Bars of Paris and Quebec. After beginning her career in Singapore with a large pharmaceutical group, she worked for nearly 10 years in renowned international law firms before founding NOOA Avocats.
A specialist in regulatory and contractual aspects related to life sciences, she has also developed expertise in the field of therapeutic cannabis and well-being hemp. She regularly intervenes in the context of training courses as well as in conferences, in France and abroad.
She holds a Master II Professional in Health Industry Law from the University of Montpellier I as well as an ESSEC-Mannheim Executive MBA.
Ian is the Regional Managing Partner of Wilson Elser’s Los Angeles office. He is founder and co-chair of the firm’s Cannabis and Hemp Law practice, where he leads a national multi-disciplinary team of lawyers who serve all aspects of the cannabis and hemp industries, as well as financial institutions and insurance companies that service those industries.
Ian works with licensed cannabis operators throughout the country to comply with their obligations under the law and to develop risk management best practices. He advises Fortune 500 companies on risk management involving hemp-derived CBD and the interplay with U.S. food and drug laws. Ian assists insurance companies on cannabis-related underwriting practices and the development of new policy forms. He also works with financial institutions and professional services firms on best practices for operating in a challenging regulatory environment.
Ian has achieved a national reputation as a distinguished cannabis attorney and has been named to the prestigious Chambers USA guide in Cannabis Law (2020-2022). He is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA) and participates on the Policy Council of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). Ian also sits on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Cannabis Section and is chair emeritus of NCIA’s Risk Management and Insurance Committee. He is one of MG Magazine’s “30 Powerful Cannabis Attorneys You Should Know” and is listed within Cannabis Reports’ “10 Powerful Marijuana Lawyers in California.” Ian has also been named by National Law Review as “Go-To Thought Leader” in 2018 and 2021 for his publications on cannabis law and policy.
By way of background, Ian has defended complex litigation in state and federal courts for more than 25 years with a focus on practice areas relevant to the cannabis industry, including product liability, complex general casualty, transportation, data privacy and intellectual property litigation. Ian received his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, and his JD from Saint
Louis University School of Law. He has been with Wilson Elser for the past 22 years.
I am a business attorney and mediator admitted to practice in three states. I am also a co-founder, former Executive Officer and Board Member, and the current President of the Advisory Board of the International Cannabis Bar Association and a co-founder and the current Chair of the BASF Cannabis Law Section, founder of the BASF (LRIS) pro bono panel for social equity applicants, frequent speaker, podcast guest, and teacher at City College San Francisco. In 2022 I provided testimony on cannabis policy reform, upon invitation, to elected members of the Irish Parliament and their invitees at Leinster House in Dublin, Ireland. I also have significant experience in the areas of cannabis, intellectual property, commercial transactions/M&A, real estate, hospitality, and entertainment law, and have consistenly been named to Chambers and Partners top cannabis attorneys for several years.
Amber Littlejohn has served as a lawyer, strategist, and advocate for businesses in emerging markets for more than 15 years, providing government and business affairs services to businesses, nonprofit organizations, and lawmakers in regulated industries. She creates innovative legislative, regulatory, and public engagement strategies to access and grow markets, stabilize supply chains, and reduce crisis frequency and reach.
Named a Top Cannabis Lobbyist by Business Insider, Amber is a nationally recognized voice for the cannabis industry and related policy initiatives appearing regularly in national media outlets. She has testified before Congress on issues including small business capital access and cannabis legalization. She engages regularly with lawmakers and regulators at all levels of government. Prior to her work in cannabis, she was a business owner, strategist, and advocate for specialty consumer packaged goods and consumer health products including dietary supplements and sports nutrition products.
Prior to joining Ice Miller, Amber was president and chief strategic officer for a public affairs firm that served to provide solutions in the areas of legislative and regulatory policy development, as well as government and regulatory affairs. She has also served as policy counsel and a consultant for several organizations in Washington, D.C.
Northern California-based social ethnobotanist. Amanda has been studying the relationship between people, cannabis and greater society for over 20 years. As a pioneer in the field of cannabis and social science, she was one of the first to explore the use of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs. Amanda earned her PhD from UC Berkeley and was a professor there for 10 years teaching Substance Abuse Treatment, Drug Policy, Sexuality and Social Work and Research Methods. She was also the Head of Research and Patient Services at Berkeley Patients Group, The Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance, and the VP of Community Development for Flow Cannabis Company. In addition to her current role as Chief Knowledge Officer at New Frontier Data, Amanda is also the founder of Personal Plants, a place we can all go to find information about psychoactive plants and enhance our personal relationships with them, including how to cultivate them.
David is a partner with the Chicago-based law firm, HMB Legal Counsel. Following 25 years of litigating business and tax disputes, in 2016 David turned his full energy to focus on providing legal counsel to the cannabis industry, representing entrepreneurs, investors and business owners, both plant touching and ancillary trades.
David enjoys guiding clients through the life-cycle of cannabis operations, starting with the regulatory maze for state licensing of cannabis businesses followed by the myriad of general and regulatory counsel needs during the course of the company’s life, from start-up issues through sale events and the multitude of legal challenges in between. David has been successful in securing numerous licenses and cross-border agreements in various states for clients, with the help of his HMB Legal cannabis team.
Known as an excellent listener, David’s approach is efficient and focused on his client’s business goals. Ultimately, David’s biggest satisfaction comes from moving the cannabis industry forward, both through legal work and also making introductions within his wide network of cannabis business friends and colleagues. To that end, David co-founded CannaMatch in 2021, for the purpose of matching newly licensed growers, processors and retailers with the numerous industry service providers in an organized, efficient and confidential fashion. David’s other hours are spent active with the International Cannabis Bar Association, the Illinois Cannabis Bar Association and the Illinois Craft Cannabis Association…when not with his family, their golden-doodle Boyd, or enjoying live music.
Joslin Monahan is a trial and appellate litigation attorney experienced in municipal, real estate, business, receiverships, adversarial bankruptcy, and land use and zoning litigation. Ms. Monahan has a robust, full-service cannabis law practice serving individuals and companies that grow, produce, distribute and sell a wide variety of goods and amenities.
Ms. Monahan is a recognized authority in emerging cannabis law matters, including entity formation, applicant requirements and background checks, and licensing with Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency as well as municipal licenses, permits and ordinances. She counsels business interests in the cannabis industry, which encompasses marijuana, industrial hemp and CBD. Ms. Monahan has helped with financing structures, real property use, insurance coverage, dispute resolution, and regulatory compliance.
Beginning in 2012, Ms. Monahan served as Cooperating Attorney with the ACLU of Michigan in the critical decision making process supporting the decriminalization of the possession and use of marijuana in Grand Rapids. Ms. Monahan continues to be a vocal advocate for social justice issues, with particular emphasis on ensuring participants within the cannabis space create opportunities for persons of color wherever possible. The Michigan Supreme Court denied further review of the signature case in 2015, affirming the Michigan Court of Appeals 2013 dismissal of the prosecutor’s lawsuit. This case helped pave the way for the eventual vote legalizing cannabis for recreational use in a statewide ballot in 2018.
Ms. Monahan is a member of the International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA) and the State Bar of Michigan’s Marijuana Law Section.
Articles and Presentations
Ms. Monahan is a frequent speaker on various cannabis and litigation related topics, including presentations on licensing, professional ethics, hemp regulations, and FDA compliance.
Professional Affiliations, Activities, and Honors
Ms. Monahan is Chair of the Western Branch of the ACLU of Michigan (6/2015 – Present) as well as a member of the Western Branch of the ACLU of Michigan (6/2014 – Present). She is also a member of the Lawyers Committee for the Western Branch of the ACLU of Michigan (10/2013 – Present).
Ms. Monahan was awarded her law degree from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey Law School in 2007. While in law school, Ms. Monahan was a member of the Journal of Health Care Law and Policy and a member of Phi Delta Phi. Ms. Monahan also received her Masters of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Montana in 2003, where she was the recipient of the University of Montana Philosophy Department full scholarship teaching assistantship. She obtained her B.A., summa cum laude, from Hope College in 2000 where she was awarded the Hope College Presidential Scholarship and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Ms. Monahan is admitted to practice in the State of Michigan, the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, the State of Montana, the United States District Court for the District of Montana, United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Shoran Reid Williams’ litigation practice spans more than 25 years. It ranges from in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 insurance company to law firm practices in both Georgia and Michigan. In addition, she has spent several years as an adjunct law professor, author and small business owner.
Ms. Williams’ litigation practice experience extends into the areas of administrative law, civil litigation, appellate law, personal injury and family law. Regardless of the type of dispute, as an experienced lead attorney she is adept at working with a wide-range of clients on:
Advising on legal implications
Drafting and arguing briefs
Resolving cases through appropriate dispute resolution including mediation, arbitration and trial
Ms. Williams has successfully obtained favorable results for her clients in state and federal courts and before government agencies.
Cannabis and Hemp Industry
Ms. Williams is a trusted advisor on legal issues related to the rapidly growing and evolving cannabis and hemp industry in North America. Two noteworthy bills that have accelerated the interest in the industry are the United States 2018 Farm Bill and Michigan’s activation of authority pursuant to the United States 2014 Farm Bill being utilized to launch the State’s Industrial Hemp Ag pilot.
Ms. Williams is familiar with the ins and outs of the 2018 Farm Bill and including the fact that marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug in the U.S. She can counsel Michigan entities on the licensing process, THC testing procedures, inspections, disposal of plants carrying >0.3% TNS and record keeping.
Ms. Williams assists business owners with issues related to being in the cannabis and hemp industry or wanting to do business with growers and suppliers in this industry. Some of the legal issues that intersect including: compliance, trade secrets, finance, interstate transportation, dispute resolution, and acquisitions.
Change Agent and Thought Leader
Ms. Williams works with clients to gain their respect through realistic, strategic initiatives that anticipate the changing needs of the workforce, building a winning culture and driving continuous improvement. She endeavors to decrease the costs and complexity of initiatives in order to optimize resources focused on business outcomes.
Ms. Williams is an advocate for sustainable change with regard to diversity and believes that requires involving the right parties and effectively engaging with them on issues.
Professional Affiliations and Activities
Ms. Williams is a member of the American Bar Association Personal Injury Law Section. She is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Grand Rapids Bar Association. She is licensed in the state of Georgia and practiced in Atlanta for a number of years. She continues to be a member of the Georgia State Bar, and is a past member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.
Ms. Williams was an adjunct professor at Florida Coastal School of Law for several years. She created and taught the Personal Injury Law course in addition to Pre-Trial Litigation and Contract courses.
In 2020, Ms. Williams was accepted into the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellows Program. The program accepts mid-career attorneys with strong leadership and relationship skills who are committed to fostering diversity within the country’s leading law firms and largest companies, and the legal profession at large.
Publications and Presentations
Ms. Williams is the author of “Waking the Sleeping Demon: 26 Hours of Terror in Atlanta”, a non-fiction account following the life of a prosecutor during the hours that Brian Nichols escaped from and eluded police. The book was selected as a Freshmen Reading Experience by Tiffin University and was later made into a MSNBC documentary. She spoke across the country on topics raised in the book.
She is a requested presenter and author for topics related to the burgeoning hemp industry. In Winter 2020, Ms. Williams authored the article, “The Best-Laid Plans. Social Equity Programs and the Cannabis Space.” in MiCIA Magazine, the official trade journal of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association. In June 2019, Ms. Williams presented “Is Hemp Worth the Hype?” at the Business of Marijuana in Michigan seminar in Grand Rapids. The conference offered continuing education credits and was hosted by the Rossdale Seminar Group out of Miami, Florida. She is also sought-after by civic organizations and community groups for monthly meetings. In addition, Ms. Williams was interviewed for the article “A Legal State: Women in Marijuana Give Their Perspective on Michigan’s Green Frontier” in West Michigan Women’s Lifestyle magazine in the March 2019 issue.
Ms. Williams is always exploring avenues and ways to give back to the community especially in areas that impact women and families. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Womens’ Resource Center and is a member of Inforum – women’s alliance.
Ms. Williams earned her J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 1994. She participated in the St. Anne’s College of Law Program at Oxford University. She was on the National Moot Court Team. Ms. Williams received a Bachelor of Public Administration degree from Miami University in Ohio in 1991.
She is licensed to practice in Michigan and Georgia.
In a career spanning more than two decades, Adam has been sole or collaborative founder of a series of successful non-profits and public policy campaigns, has served on the boards of directors for statewide and national civic engagement organizations, led teams of nurses in collective bargaining negotiations across Oregon, lobbied members of Congress and state legislatures, advised non-profit and for- profit clients on a range of issues, and was a founding partner in a company bringing Pacific Northwest craft beer and artisan wine to Hawaii. In 1996, Adam launched the nation’s first online newsmagazine and syndicated radio news show focused entirely on domestic and international drug policy reform. In 1998, he conceptualized and launched the Higher Education Act Reform Campaign, which won back the right to federal financial aid for students with drug convictions. As part of the HEA campaign, he shepherded the founding of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the world’s largest student-led drug policy reform organization, now active in more than forty states and 25 countries, and recognized as an NGO at the United Nations. In 2002, Adam joined the founding board of directors of the Oregon Bus Project, and in 2004, helped launch the League of Young Voters, a national civic engagement organization working with young people of color. In 2006, Adam launched the Vote By Mail Project, which successfully expanded access to mail-in voting in multiple states, most notably moving Colorado to full vote by mail elections. Adam received his B.A. in Urban Studies from the City University of New York, and his J.D. from the Boston University School of Law. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Adam’s writing on drug policy and civic engagement has appeared in more than 40 print and online publications, including REASON Magazine, The Guardian UK, Mother Jones Online, Alternet, and The Razorwire. He has also produced chapters for the books Busted; Stone Cowboys, Narco Lords, and America’s War on Drugs, (Mike Gray, Ed.), Drug Trafficking (Auriana Ojeda, Ed.) and How To Get Stupid White Men Out of Office (Billy Wimsatt and Adrienne Maree Brown, Eds.).
Lisa regularly analyzes federal and state statutes and regulations in connection with the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law, New Jersey’s Codey Law and other state-specific self-referral laws, the federal False Claims Act, the New Jersey False Claims Act, Board of Medical Examiners regulations, HIPAA, HITECH, licensing and reimbursement issues, and other fraud and abuse laws. Her clients include health care professionals as well as group practices and other health care entities, such as hospitals, academic medical centers, ambulatory surgery centers, management service organizations, ambulatory care facilities, substance use treatment facilities, mental health facilities (outpatient and inpatient), and nursing homes, among others.
Lisa’s health care, corporate, and cannabis clients also rely on Lisa to guide them through transactional matters concerning mergers and acquisitions as well as the formation and structure of such entities, including joint ventures, affiliation agreements, and management service organizations. In addition, she reviews and prepares physician employment agreements and corporate-related ownership documents for medical practices and her cannabis clients.
On the forefront of the burgeoning cannabis industry and with many years of industry experience, Lisa helps clients in the cannabis space navigate the industry’s complicated and ever-changing regulatory landscape. Her cannabis law practice includes the representation of alternative treatment centers within the medicinal cannabis industry as well as start-ups and multistate operators in the personal adult-use cannabis industry, such as cultivators, manufacturers, retailers, delivery services, distributors, and testing laboratories. Lisa advises clients in connection with licensing, ownership, and regulatory compliance pursuant to state laws, rules, and regulations. Lisa also advises clients on regulatory considerations associated with anticipated mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, she provides advice to physicians, hospitals, and others doing business in the legal cannabis market in New Jersey concerning issues related to recommending, authorizing, administering, and possessing medical cannabis.
Further, Lisa frequently lectures on ownership in medical practices and cannabis entities (buying in and separating from) and the related considerations and challenges. She has lectured to residents and fellows of differing residency programs at medical universities within New Jersey and New York regarding the key components of physician-employment agreements and how to equitably negotiate such terms. Some of the medical centers she has presented at are Columbia University Medical Center (NY), Mount Sinai Hospital (NY), Bronx VA Medical Center (NY), and Monmouth Medical Center (NJ).
Lisa serves as Chair of the Medical Staff, Credentialing, and Peer Review Practice Group of the American Health Law Association. She is also Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association Health Law Section and Co-Chair of the Cannabis Law Committee.
Lisa serves as co-author of the New Jersey Law Journal monthly column on the impacts of legal cannabis on New Jersey businesses. She was Editor-in-Chief of the first edition of Health Care and the Business of Cannabis: Legal Questions and Answers, a first-of-its-kind project published by the American Health Law Association, which offers insight on the interplay between medicinal cannabis and the health care industry, as well as related information on legal and practical considerations in connection with business opportunities surrounding medicinal cannabis and its by-products. She also co-authored “Medical Marijuana: State and Federal Law Thickets and Practical Implications” in the Health Law Handbook, published by Thomson Reuters in May 2020. Before joining Epstein Becker Green, Lisa was Co-Chair of the Cannabis Law team and a shareholder in the Corporate and Health Law teams at a regional law firm.
Susan Burns is a business lawyer who guides businesses that are pursuing growth strategies.
As an accomplished attorney with experience in several industries, Susan works with clients in the cannabis, health, technology, microbiology and food sectors. She also uses her expertise in agriculture and food law to help cannabis companies structure themselves to succeed in business-to-business or business-to-consumer environments—including one of her favorites—supporting growth for acquisition.
Susan serves in leadership roles in the American Bar Association’s International Law Section, currently as Communications Officer, Founder & Co-Chair of the Food, Ag + Cannabis Committee, and Senior Adviser to the Mexico Committee. She is also a board member of the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force.
Susan earned her L.L.M. in food and agriculture from the University of Arkansas School of Law, her J.D. from Hamline University School of Law and her B.A. from the College of St. Benedict (both in Minnesota).
While completing her LL.M. Susan was a Legal Fellow for The Good Food Institute where she developed an interest in the regulation of new food technology. Her practicum subject was “Regulatory Pathways for Export of Cell-cultured Meat to Mexico.”
But her fascination with the nascent cannabis industry has consumed her publishing and speaking interests. She is a frequent presenter on the regulation of hemp-derived cannabinoids and the rapidly growing cannabis hospitality industry. Susan is a regular contributor to the Cannabis Law Journal.
Executive Director Andrew Freedman made history in 2014 when then-Governor John Hickenlooper tapped him to become Colorado’s cannabis czar, in charge of implementing the world’s first adult-use cannabis market. Since then, he has advised 17 different governments in establishing their cannabis regulatory frameworks.
In April of 2022, Forbes Magazine named Freedman one of the five most influential voices in cannabis policy on a list also featuring Snoop Dogg, Charles Koch, and several U.S. senators and representatives. Freedman holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Tufts University.
Andrew Freedman is also a Senior Vice President at Forbes Tate.
Having come from Freedman & Koski, a consulting firm dedicated to making cannabis legalization successful. Andrew was Colorado’s first cannabis czar under governor Hickenlooper from 2013 to 2017. His firm has since worked directly for dozens of governments including California, Canada, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Illinois; and testified to all governments considering legalization. He has been a featured speaker at dozens of conferences including Code Conference, Summit, and Aspen Ideas Fest.
Andrew’s role in developing a successful operating model for cannabis regulation and stakeholder collaboration was identified as one of the reasons for the State of Colorado’s success in implementing adult-use cannabis legalization by the Brookings Institution. Governor Hickenlooper has gone so far as to praise Andrew’s work while on national television, stating, “Andrew Freedman, who came in and helped us once it was passed . . . [has] done a remarkable job of creating a regulatory framework.”
Andrew has received national recognition for his leadership. He was recognized as one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” in 2016. Men’s Health Magazine named him one of the 30 top health influencers of the last 30 years, labeling him “legal weed’s best friend”. He has been featured on 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, The Boston Globe, Governing Magazine, and dozens of local stories throughout the nation and internationally.
Prior to becoming Colorado’s cannabis czar, Andrew Colorado Lieutenant Governor’s Chief of Staff. In that role he created the office of early childhood, won a $45 million Race to the Top Grant, and aided passage of the READ Act: In its first few years since implementing these reforms, the state saw a 7% decrease in significant reading deficiencies. The Colorado Department of Education credits the READ Act and these other early childhood initiatives for this improvement. Additionally, Andrew oversaw the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs and the state Americorp system.
Andrew was also the campaign manager for Colorado Commits to Kids, Colorado’s largest effort to date to overhaul its education funding. He negotiated between relevant stakeholders to create an education reform bill that could win approval and backing from the Governor. He raised $11 million in three months to fund the campaign.
In April of 2022, Forbes Magazine named Freedman one of the five most influential voices in cannabis policy on a list also featuring Snoop Dogg, Charles Koch, and several U.S. senators and representatives.
Andrew holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in philosophy and political science from Tufts University. ?
Yarrow Lee Kubrin is a second generation cannabis cultivator with legacy, medical and regulated experience spanning controlled environment cultivation, distribution, business development, and bringing new form factors to market. An accredited investor he has participated in an advisory and board capacity for cannabis companies including ancillary med-tech, ag-tech, vape-tech, extraction-tech, polling-tech, and a multi-state testing laboratory with an emphasis on providing guidance and input on user experience (UX), go to market strategy (GTM), sales, corporate and organizational development, and licensing technology into other sectors.
As founder of Special Teams Consulting since 2016 his sole proprietor consultancy clientele has been predominantly from word of mouth referrals via cannabis attorneys and CPAs. A cannabis patent co-developer in bio availability Yarrow has focused on providing clients high level due diligence, geo-specific license information, regulated ecosystem navigation from Trenton to Tel Aviv for business development with a focus on science and real property.
His policy involvement has include positions with The Sonoma County Growers Alliance, The California Cannabis Industry Association, The National Cannabis Industry Association, The Sonoma County Cannabis Alliance, and The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Cannabis Advisory Committee
His 21+ years of real estate experience includes a couple of years in finance, 11 years as a top producing realtor specializing in luxury rural residential in the wine country, commercial sales, and land (4500 + acres sold). The past 7 years has been focused on zoning and site specific “highest-and-best-use” considerations (HBU). From 2017-2021 he originated 7 figures in cannabis real estate sales per annum with the Lucero Group of Vanguard Properties.
Most recently he was the Director of Real Estate for CannDev; a commercial real estate development company that takes the uncertainty out of the site selection process for cannabis brick and mortar retailers. During his time there his direct report staff tripled to accommodate transactional due diligence, deliverables & post acquisition landlord oversight for 10 + million in tenants side construction improvements. Under his leadership of the sales department the company controlled the real estate for 15% of the locations that were awarded retail permits in Ohio. He completed the company's first 10+ transactions, managed the capital partner(s), most outside counsel, out-of-state broker relationships while the company doubled the number of states in development.
He studied Public Administration at the University of San Francisco and has 20+ units of real estate training from the Santa Rosa Junior College.
Areas of focus include:
Real Property and Technology
- Due Diligence, Facility Design, Job Costing, Construction Project Management, Zoning.
- Evaluation of current or proposed technology for tenant improvements (TI’s) for
efficiency, automation and positioning on the technology curve.
- Opinions of value for licensed facilities based on the real property underpinnings and
depreciated value of the specialized Fixture, furniture and equipment. Strategy & Operations
- Organizational and Corporate Development.
- Controlled Environment Agriculture.
- Sales and training.
- Evaluation of feasibility and profitability of new initiatives.
- Social Equity Policy and applications.
- Cannabis Banking.
Patrick Cournoyer leads the FDA’s Cannabis Product Committee, managing and coordinating the Agency's cannabis-related activities. Before starting this position in 2022, he served on the CPC for the Office of Food Additive Safety (OFAS) in the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), advising on food ingredient regulation of cannabis-derived substances, including cannabidiol and hemp seed. Before joining the FDA in 2013, he completed his PhD at Yale University, where he investigated the cell and molecular biology of the plant immune system.
Christine Lee DeLorme is an attorney in the FTC Division of Advertising Practices, where her work focuses on investigating health-related advertising claims. Christine previously served as attorney advisor to FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, former Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, and former Chairman Jon Leibowitz, advising the Commissioners on a wide range of consumer protection issues including advertising, privacy and data security, and financial fraud. Before joining the FTC in 2004, Christine was a trial attorney with the National Criminal Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.
Ms. DeLorme received an A.B. in History and a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University in 1996 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2000.
Jill is an accomplished and forward-thinking executive with success as a General Counsel and strategic leader for a rapidly growing corporation in a highly regulated industry. After spending 8 years as primary counsel for Aurora Cannabis Inc (first as an external advisor, and then in house as Chief Legal Officer), she is recognized for her proven business acumen, a unifying style of leadership, deep compliance expertise,and transformational influence on the company’s international growth. She is currently consulting under the business law firm, Swainson Miki Peskett LLP and continues to offer her expertise to clients in cannabis and other industries.
Paul Demko is the cannabis editor at POLITICO Pro. Previously, he spent four years on the health care team, primarily covering the insurance industry. Prior to joining POLITICO, he was the Washington bureau chief at Modern Healthcare. Demko also spent a decade reporting in Minnesota, including stints with Politics in Minnesota and City Pages. He started his career at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Barak Cohen represents two kinds of clients: companies and individuals facing government enforcement actions and investigations in highly regulated industries, particularly the healthcare and government contracting industries, and companies that need strategic business advice regarding compliance and regulatory matters in the cannabis industry. Barak is a partner in the White Collar & Investigations practice, and co-chair of the firm’s Cannabis Law group. He also works with the firm's Digital Media & Entertainment, Gaming & Sports industry group as the co-lead of the Gaming vertical, providing regulatory review and counseling to clients in the regulated gaming industry, including matters involving gambling and sports betting.
A former prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Barak led numerous white-collar investigations throughout the United States. That inside experience informs Barak’s representation of companies and individuals in diverse matters that touch on alleged foreign and domestic fraud and bribery, financial misconduct, tax crimes, false healthcare and government contracting claims, campaign finance and election crimes, antitrust crimes, and environmental crimes. Barak has particular experience representing companies that do business with the government, such as technology companies, medical labs, medical device companies, and pharmaceutical companies, and in investigations regarding the False Claims Act (FCA), the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS), and the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (EKRA), as well as in investigations led by agency inspectors general. He has also represented multinational companies in sensitive international investigations involving international corruptions laws, such as the Foreign Corrupt Bribery Act (FCPA) and the U.K. Bribery Act. Notably, Barak’s work has included representing high-profile public officials, including multiple sitting members of Congress, in investigations regarding alleged campaign offenses and election crimes, as well as in state and federal ethics investigations. Barak is a co-chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Public Corruption Sub-Committee.
With respect to his cannabis practice, Barak was quick to identify the growth potential in the cannabis industry. He works with well-established international brands, multistate operators, and startups, advising on a wide breadth of matters (including marijuana, CBD (cannabidiol), CBG (cannabigerol), and hemp products and services) that intersect with other diverse industries, ranging from e-commerce and technology platforms that facilitate cannabis transactions, to product-handling dispensaries and brands. He is a member of the board of directors of the U.S. Cannabis Council, a vice-chair of the ABA’s Cannabis Law Sub-Committee, and a former member of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Policy Council. A recognized thought leader in cannabis matters, he edited and co-authored the first-of-its kind treatise, Cannabis Law: A Primer on Federal and State Law Regarding Marijuana, Hemp, and CBD, published by the ABA in February 2021.
Before becoming an attorney, Barak served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army. He is the co-founder of Perkins Coie’s Veterans Resource Group. Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business has recognized Barak in two areas: (1) Litigation: White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations and (2) Cannabis Law: Eastern United States. Commentators have noted that “he is very savvy," and that "Barak is a fantastic lawyer, cool under pressure and laser-focused."
Mr. Provencio served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of BellRock Brands, Inc. (“BellRock”) from July 2022 through June 2, 2023, overseeing all legal, regulatory, securities, and corporate governance for the Company.
He previously served BellRock as the Senior Vice President, Legal and Director of Business Development since the Company was formed as a result of the merger of BR Brands, LLC (“BR”) and Dixie Brands, Inc. (“Dixie”) in October of 2020.
Prior to his time with BellRock, Mr. Provencio held the role of General Counsel for Mary’s Brands (“Mary’s”), the flagship brand family in the BR portfolio consisting of best-in-class cannabis brands Mary’s Medicinals, Mary’s Nutritionals, and Mary’s Tails, assuming the role in April of 2016. In that capacity, Mr. Provencio oversaw all legal operations for Mary’s, guiding the business from a single state marijuana business to a multistate operator and a national presence in the hemp and marijuana industries.
Mr, Provencio recently founded Aditua Consulting, a legal and business-focused cannabis consulting firm.
He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law and received his Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Richmond.
Neil M. Willner is the Co-Chair of the Cannabis Group at Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld. Neil counsels hemp and marijuana companies operating on all tiers of the supply chain on the complex patchwork of state and federal regulation. Relying on his deep knowledge of state-specific marijuana and hemp rules, Neil assists clients in strategically navigating the disharmonized industry. Neil also serves as regulatory counsel to the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp’s CBD Task Force and Cannabis Beverage Council where he quarterbacks policy development and the drafting of responsive comments to state and federal agencies. Finally, Neil serves on the Executive Committee for the New York State Bar Association's Cannabis Section, chairing the Regulatory Sub-Committee where he leads the section's comments to state regulation.
I have been involved in the cannabis industry since 2015 - initially as an investor. Today, I serve as the CEO and Co-Founder of Simplifya - the leading regulatory and operational compliance company in the cannabis industry. SImplifya provides compliance technology for licensed operators, banks, insurance, law firms and consultants.
I am also the Founder and Chairman of Ceylon Solutions - a software development company that partners to build innovative software in many verticals that includes cannabis. Some of the more recognized names in cannabis include New Frontier Data, Simplifya, Leafwire and Empyreal Logistics.
I currently serve on the boards of five different companies - three of which are in the cannabis industry. As a supporter of the cannabis movement, I have 18 active cannabis investments – two of which are international.
I immigrated to Kansas from Sri Lanka when I was 7 years old. I attended both University of Kansas and Emporia State University studying Architecture, Computer Science and Computer Information Systems. After graduation, I took on my first technical role with a medical software company. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to have held management and executive level positions with incredible companies – large and small. In addition, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to have either founded or be involved with many new startups over the years – four of which I’m highly involved with even today.
But I have to admit that some of my most valuable experiences have come from travel and from people I’ve had the opportunity to meet along the way. I’ve learned that humility and kindness is a virtue that I admire most about people and that no matter the level of education, wealth, power and status, everyone is equal.
In my opinion, some of the most important things we can do in this life as human beings is to help others, give back to the community and treat all living things with respect and kindness.
Mitzi Vaughn is a shareholder at Karr Tuttle Campbell in Seattle, Washington. She represents clients in matters of cannabis regulatory compliance, corporate transactions and governance, and intellectual property. She was a founding board member of the International Cannabis Bar Association and currently sits on its advisory board.
From 2017 to 2020, Mitzi was the Chief Legal Officer of a company that provides intellectual property licensing, financing, real estate and hard assets leases, and other support to U.S. and international cannabis and hemp enterprises. From 2013 to 2017 she worked with Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, a transactional law boutique exclusively serving the cannabis industry in Washington, California, and Hawai’i. She served as its Managing Attorney. She has advised governmental bodies regarding cannabis regulation, including the Jamaican Cannabis Licensing Authority, the Hawaii Legislature’s Joint Health Committee, members of the Washington State Legislature, and the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (“WSLCB”).
In 2019, Mitzi participated in legislative negotiations the resulted in the passage SSB 5318 – the statute “reforming the compliance and enforcement provisions for marijuana licensees.” She drafted revisions to the first bill that were incorporated into the substitute bill and voted into law. Mitzi subsequently assisted in drafting Washington Administrative Code provisions and WSLCB Enforcement Division policies implementing SSB 5318. She continues to be active in the legislative and rulemaking process.
Mitzi is also actively involved with international and U.S. drug policy reform organizations. She served as General Counsel to the Coalition for Cannabis Standards and Ethics (WA) from 2013-2015. Since 2015, she has represented The Cannabis Alliance (successor to CCSE) in a General Counsel role. Finally, Mitzi is a Board Member for the Drug Reform Coordination Network & the DRCNet Foundation, organizations that are active at the United Nations at home and abroad.
Mitzi was awarded a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, studied international human rights at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and earned a B.A. in History, magna cum laude, from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Rae Guyse is an Associate Attorney in the cannabis and litigation practice groups at Ritter Spencer with a particular interest in supporting clients in the emerging hemp, cannabis and alternative medicine industries. Rae’s practice also focuses on trademark, business formation, and other transactional matters. After graduating with honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 2020, Rae began her legal practice as an insurance recovery attorney, where she gained experience representing policyholders in insurance coverage disputes to maximize recovery in claims against insurers. Rae is skilled at analyzing insurance programs to identify holes or overlaps in coverage and can support clients in developing creative solutions to unique risk management challenges. Rae has also gained significant experience representing clients in various industries in complex commercial litigation matters.
My practice is focused on corporate transactions, healthcare regulations, administrative appeals, and healthcare compliance matters. I represent post-acute care providers (e.g. skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, hospices, home health agencies, rehabilitation providers), physician groups, management service organizations (MSOs), dental service organizations (DSOs), community hospitals, retail medicine providers (e.g. free standing ERs), ancillary providers (e.g. pharmacies, labs, DME), digital health companies, behavioral health, chiropractors, and veterinary practices, private equity groups and investors in the healthcare industry.
Due to my healthcare practice, I regularly serve as special counsel in conjunction with white collar criminal defense teams in federal cases or investigations involving healthcare fraud and abuse. In these roles, I assist criminal defense attorneys on health care regulatory violations (e.g. Anti-kickback, OIG exclusion issues, etc.), operations, assessment of plea bargains and the sentencing process.
In addition to my healthcare practice, I developed a cannabis regulatory and corporate practice starting in late 2013. I formerly served as outside general counsel for the Texas Cannabis Industry Association, served on the National Cannabis Industry Association’s FDA coalition, which helped co-author a FDA primer in preparation for the 2019 FDA public hearing on CBD products, and currently serve as an advisory board member to a hemp bio-pharmaceutical development company. I represent and regularly advise a broad base of cannabis related clients, including, physicians, private equity groups investing in the cannabis industry, cultivators, processors, wholesalers, retailers, distribution centers, reverse distributors, and ancillary providers (e.g. testing labs, biomass brokerage firms, MLM companies etc.) in regulatory and corporate matters.
Marialle A. Bell is the founding attorney of the Law Office of Marialle A. Bell, LLC. Her practice focuses on representing the interests of small businesses with an emphasis on small businesses in the legal cannabis industry. Bell began her legal career as an Assistant Public Defender in Orlando, Florida. As a criminal defense attorney, Bell represented hundreds of people accused of cannabis-related offenses and she witnessed the devastating effects of those convictions. Bell subsequently took her practice to the West Coast where she served as in-house litigation counsel for two Fortune 500 insurance companies. As in-house counsel, Bell represented several small businesses in personal injury related lawsuits and she became familiar with the challenges small businesses face in their operations. Bell obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law. She serves on the International Cannabis Bar Association’s Ethics Committee and she is also a member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan Saint Louis’ Marijuana Law Committee. Bell is licensed to practice law in Missouri, California, Washington State and Florida. When Ms. Bell is not practicing law, she spends her time reading, running and traveling with her husband.
Timothy L. Alger is a civil litigator, mediator, and owner of Alger Law APC. Formerly the head of litigation, employment law and trademarks at Google and an equity partner at three major law firms, Mr. Alger has represented leading internet, media, entertainment and advertising companies in litigation over trademarks, copyrights, unfair competition, contracts, free speech, defamation and privacy. Mr. Alger also represents legal cannabis businesses in civil litigation and regulatory disputes with governmental entities. Recent representations in this industry include civil litigation over trademarks, contracts, relocation of a cannabis dispensary, excessive fines on cannabis cultivators, civil rights violations by law enforcement agencies, and ownership and management disputes in cannabis business partnerships.
Mr. Alger makes himself available to mediate disputes among businesses and individuals. His expertise in the cannabis industry and 33 years in commercial litigation makes him a valuable resource for resolution of disagreements without the high cost of litigation in court.
Whitney Hodges is a partner in the Real Estate, Energy, Land Use & Environmental Practice Group in the firm's San Diego office. She is the leader of the firm’s Cannabis Industry Team and serves on the firm's Pro Bono, Recruiting and Diversity & Inclusion committees, as well as numerous industry specific teams.
Areas of Practice
Whitney's practice focuses on the representation of clients involved in real estate development. She advises and represents major residential, industrial, commercial and mixed-use development projects, as well as Native American Indian tribes and renewable energy developers through all phases of the land use regulatory process and environmental compliance. Her land use experience includes real estate due diligence investigations, negotiating and drafting development agreements, processing land use entitlements, advising tribal governments on environmental and natural resources law, and appearing before governmental agencies and commissions. She also represents developers and management in traditional labor law issues, including union negotiations. Whitney also advises cannabis companies and ancillary businesses on state and local regulatory compliance and real estate transactions.
Real Estate Development
Real estate development has grown increasingly complex and controversial requiring knowledge of applicable federal, state and local laws, as well as the ability to work with a wide range of diverse interests including governmental agency staff, elected officials, landowners, environmental organizations and citizen groups. Whitney’s ability to work with such diverse interests to develop creative, practical and economical solutions is demonstrated by her involvement in the successful approval and permitting of multiple residential, commercial, industrial and mix-used developments during the past several years. Current projects include redevelopment, infill and mixed-use developments throughout southern California, including San Diego, Los Angeles and Riverside counties.
Whitney has assisted public and private sector clients in obtaining permits and approvals from various federal agencies, and has successfully guided clients through the maze of federal, state and local environmental clearances necessary for development including the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), California Fish and Game Code, Subdivision Map Act, California Community Redevelopment Law (including associated dissolution legislation and successor statutes), California Coastal Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, California Superfund Law, Tribal-State Compacts, and Multiple Species Conservation Programs (MSCP).
Whitney also has significant experience in working closely with clients and consultants on due diligence review of land use issues, which includes local zoning ordinances, general plans, redevelopment agency plans, and related land use restrictions. Her working knowledge of environmental constraints and the development process proves invaluable when investigating the potential purchase of real estate and the subsequent preparation of acquisition documents.
An experienced litigator, Whitney has handled actions involving development disputes, environmental compliance, real estate transactions, and union disputes. She has represented developers in complex civil litigation and defended challenges to development approvals.
Whitney serves as general counsel for the San Diego Humane Society and is on the Board of Directors for YWCA. Whitney is a registered lobbyist with the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, San Diego Regional Airport Authority, the San Diego Port Authority and the City of Los Angeles. Additionally, Whitney also is a committed pro bono attorney and, in 2016, she was honored with the firm’s Bob Gerber Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award in recognition of her commitment to volunteering legal services to those in need.
Gillian Schauer, PhD, MPH was elected CANNRA’s first Executive Director in 2021, and served as a Senior Advisor to CANNRA before the association’s founding.
Dr. Schauer has worked in public health and policy for nearly two decades, and has a decade of experience working with federal and state agencies on cannabis policy, data monitoring, and research translation. Through her federal work, she founded and led the Multi-State Collaborative for Cannabis and Public Health from 2014-2021 to foster learnings and cultivate best practices for public health across states with legal cannabis. Prior to working on cannabis policy, Dr. Schauer worked on tobacco control policy. She was the Senior Editor on the 2020 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking Cessation.
Dr. Schauer is an affiliate researcher at the University of Washington and has more than 65 peer-reviewed research publications on cannabis and other substances. She has a PhD from Emory University, a Master of Public Health from University of Washington, and a Bachelors of Science from Northwestern University.
Randal John Meyer is the Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce. Mr. Meyer is widely recognized as one of the foremost legal and government affairs experts in cannabis, honored by the National Law Journal as a 2022 Cannabis Law Trailblazer and Business Insider as a 2021 Top Cannabis Lobbyist. Previously, Mr. Meyer served as legislative counsel to a U.S. Senator and a legal associate in the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies before entering private practice as an appellate litigator and a lobbyist in international law firms. His work on the topics of cannabis and criminal justice reform have been published widely in such outlets as The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, National Law Journal, National Review Online, New York Post, and Newsweek, and has been featured in publications such as the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.
Lee served as Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary for the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom from 2019 to 2021. He was Deputy City Attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office from 2016 to 2019. Lee served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Vince Chhabria at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California from 2015 to 2016, Law Clerk for the Honorable Michelle T. Friedland at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 2014 to 2015 and Law Clerk for the Honorable Harry Pregerson at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 2013 to 2014. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School and a Master of Philosophy degree in modern Middle Eastern studies from the University of Oxford.
William Tilburg, JD, MPH, teaches online and in-person graduate courses on health law and ethics at the University of Maryland.
In May 2023, Mr. Tilburg was appointed as the Acting Director for the newly established Maryland Cannabis Administration, which is responsible for implementing the State's adult-use cannabis market. Prior to this role he served as the Executive Director of Maryland's medical cannabis program.
Mr. Tilburg previously served as the managing director for the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and Associate Director of the Network for Public Health Law, where he provided legal and policy support to state and local governments and health departments on a wide range of public health issues, including tobacco control, environmental health, food safety, and drug policy.
Mr. Tilburg earned a BA from Providence College, and his MPH and JD from the University of Maryland.
Reggie Babin is senior counsel in the Public Law & Policy practice group at Akin in Washington, DC. He provides lobbying, consulting, and strategic advisory services to a broad range of clients, with a particular focus on cannabis compliance and federal policymaking.
Prior to joining Akin, Reggie served for nearly a decade in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, most recently as the chief counsel and lead cannabis policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). In this role, Reggie oversaw Sen. Schumer’s legislative portfolio on issues including cannabis reform and he developed, coordinated and oversaw Senate Democratic Caucus strategy on this and other issues. Reggie’s experience includes engaging with senior staff in the Senate, House of Representatives, the White House and executive branch agencies; as well as working with a range of national and New York-based stakeholders in industry, trade associations and advocacy coalitions, and state and local governments. According to Politico, which named Reggie among the most powerful people on race and politics in its 2023 Recast Power List, “the entire discussion of cannabis policy on Capitol Hill is covered with [his] fingerprints.”
Prior to working with Sen. Schumer, Reggie served as the legislative director and, earlier, counsel to Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA) , former Assistant to the Majority Whip and former Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). In this role, he managed a legislative portfolio including energy and the environment, intellectual property, judicial and legal reform, criminal justice and law enforcement, and human and civil rights. He also co-managed a number of House caucuses, including Justice and Public Safety, Congressional Refinery and Congressional Maritime.
Before joining Rep. Richmond’s office, Reggie served as an associate counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs’ Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight. He collaborated with senior staff to develop new legislation on government contracting oversight. He led an investigation into the lack of federal government oversight of U.S. infrastructure and assisted in conducting investigations and oversight hearings.
Shanita R. Penny, MBA is a Senior Vice President in FTP’s public affairs practice. Shanita has over 18 years of experience helping organizations solve complex issues and improve business performance in multiple industries.
As an internationally recognized strategy consultant and certified Project Management Professional, Shanita combines talent and passion for the cannabis industry to achieve exceptional results for businesses and operators. Before joining FTP, she ran her own boutique cannabis consultancy, helping clients establish and scale compliant, successful cannabis businesses. Shanita also co-founded DocHouse, a craft cannabis cultivator and manufacturer that was acquired in 2020.
Ms. Penny previously served as vice president and president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA). Under her leadership, the MCBA hosted its inaugural Congressional Black Caucus Lobby Day, policy summits, and produced a model municipal ordinance that has influenced social equity policy nationwide. She was also a member of the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Authority’s Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup where she developed policy recommendations to combat disparities in ownership and participation in the marijuana industry by people of color and establish the State of Michigan as a leader on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the regulated cannabis industry.
Shanita lives to “end the stigma associated with cannabis” through her advocacy, businesses, and responsible consumption. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Sensible Markets and on the Advisory Board of Regennabis. Shanita is a proud alumna of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, as well as the University of Baltimore and Towson University.
Jonathan Miller, a nationally-celebrated government relations professional, leads Frost Brown Todd’s federal advocacy practice and has emerged as one of the country’s leading advocates and attorneys for the global hemp industry.
Jonathan serves as partner-in-charge of Frost Brown Todd’s Washington, D.C. office, whose combination of public policy and regulatory experience, backed by the support of a full-service law firm with offices in key markets, carves out a unique value proposition: He can draw readily on the firm’s strong constituent-based relationships to provide clients with exclusive and actionable insights regarding the legal trends and developments that stand to greatly impact their industries. In so doing, Jonathan leads a team that presents clients a one-stop shop for regulatory and legislative services, promoting efficiency, communication, and collaboration.
There are few individuals who have been more influential in the development of the U.S. hemp industry. Upon helping found the U.S. Hemp Roundtable (and its sister organization, the U.S. Hemp Authority), Jonathan has served as the industry’s leading advocate for Hemp and CBD legislation on the ground in Congress and in dozens of state legislatures. A recovering politician (the Democrat was elected twice as Kentucky’s State Treasurer), Jonathan has worked across the aisle with leading hemp champions such as U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on critical legislation, including the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills. Now he spends his time working with Congress, the White House, the USDA, FDA and DEA to promote policies that advance the industry. In acknowledgment of his accomplishments, the National Law Journal named Jonathan to its inaugural class of “Trailblazers” among government relations professionals and Politico labeled him a “Power Player” on hemp issues on Capitol Hill.
Prior to joining FBT, Miller spent nearly two decades in public service, where he held numerous senior positions in state and federal government, including two terms as Kentucky’s State Treasurer, in addition to serving as Kentucky’s Secretary of Finance and Administration, Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Energy, and Legislative Director for Congressman Jim Cooper.
Jonathan assists his broad client base – ranging from Fortune 500 firms, to aspiring entrepreneurs, to non-profit associations – in navigating complex local, state and federal government institutions through his counsel on legal, public policy, political and public relations matters. Jonathan leads teams of lawyers, lobbyists and economic development specialists in helping his clients win and retain government contracts and incentives, develop and execute public-private partnerships, and survive and transcend crisis management episodes.
There are typically three types of government relations professionals. Those with broad, substantive knowledge in matters of law and public policy; those that can refine and articulate an effective message to policymakers and bureaucrats, and those with the political skills and personal connections to navigate administrative and legislative progress. Jonathan is all of the above. As former Republican National Chairman Michael Steele opines: “It is the rare individual that can combine intense substantive legal and policy experience with a broad understanding of the interpersonal dynamics and deep personal relationships that make our system of government prosper. Jonathan Miller is not only uniquely gifted, but more importantly, a good friend and trusted advisor.”
Jonathan is also a uniquely gifted communicator, authoring three books on faith, public policy and crisis management (including the nationally acclaimed The Compassionate Community (St. Martin’s Press: 2006), and serving as a regular contributor to the national political journal The Daily Beast and the popular college sports site, Kentucky Sports Radio. He has appeared on dozens of national news talk shows including: MSNBC’s The Cycle, Fox News’ Fox and Friends and Happening Now, CNN’s America’s Choice and Crossfire, CNBC’s Morning Call, NBC’s Dateline NBC, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and Bloomberg’s Market Makers; serves as a semi-regular American politics commentator for Canada’s CTV News; and even played straight man to correspondent/comedian Al Madrigal on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He has also testified before the U.S. House on energy efficiency and the U.S. Senate on student credit card debt.
Jonathan’s analytic skills brought him both high honors from Harvard’s college and law school, and led him to the final table of the World Series of Poker.
Rend Al-Mondhiry advises the dietary supplement, food, cosmetic, and over-the-counter medicine industries on a broad range of regulatory and compliance matters, with a focus on helping companies navigate the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape for hemp and CBD products at both the federal and state level. She is committed to helping companies responsibly develop and market products, drawing on her years of experience advising the nation’s leading dietary supplement and food companies on complex ingredient and labeling issues. She is also a frequent speaker and author on emerging legal and regulatory issues in the industry and is regularly quoted in the trade press.
Rend’s practice focuses on reviewing product labeling, ingredients, and advertising to determine compliance with federal and state regulations, and assisting companies in matters before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and National Advertising Division (NAD). She also advises clients on compliance with California’s Proposition 65, U.S. Customs issues, class action defense strategies, and FDA matters including Warning Letters, recalls, detentions, seizures, and import alerts.
Rend brings a unique perspective to these issues, having served as Associate General Counsel at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, one of the leading trade associations representing the dietary supplement and functional food industry. She has advocated on the industry’s behalf numerous times before FDA, FTC, Congress, and state attorneys general, and has substantial experience initiating and defending challenges before the NAD. In addition, she has over ten years of experience analyzing and responding to legislative and regulatory changes at the federal and state levels, working closely with scientific experts to ensure policy positions are not only legally sound but grounded in science. She has also assisted trade associations with non-profit compliance, strategic planning, and corporate governance matters.
When she’s not spending time with her husband and two very active boys, Rend enjoys running, practicing yoga, and reading historical fiction.
Steph Sherer is the foremost international leader and expert on medical cannabis patient advocacy. In 2002, Sherer founded Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists, and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. For seventeen years, Sherer's leadership guided the efforts, with lawmakers across the country, to adopt and improve medical cannabis legislation and regulatory policy across the US and its territories as well as representing patients on Capitol Hill. Sherer remains President of ASA and has expanded her focus to strengthen the industry. Alongside the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacia, Sherer co-created the first medical cannabis industry standards in the areas of Distribution, Cultivation, Analytics, and Manufacturing, Packaging, and Labeling. She is also a founding member of the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition (IMCPC), a patient advocacy organization committed to fighting for access to critically needed medicine.
Kellie Rivera serves as Senior Counsel at Columbia Care, one of the largest and most experienced cultivators, manufacturers and providers of cannabis products and related services, with licenses in 16 U.S. jurisdictions. Kellie currently leads Columbia Care's legal, licensing and regulatory compliance teams in existing and emerging east coast markets including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. Kellie’s former role included providing support for the Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia markets as well. Kellie maintains operational knowledge of current and proposed laws, regulations, and policies impacting company operations, while proactively identifying potential impacts and legal risks. She provides creative, solution-oriented legal advice to senior leadership to inform business operations and strategic decision-making. Additionally, Kellie manages relationships with state and local cannabis regulators to serve as a subject matter expert on comparative, emerging eastern US markets and to ensure operational compliance across each state market.
A member of the New York State Bar, she received her J.D. with a concentration in International Law from Suffolk University Law School and her B.A. with Russian and International Affairs Dual Majors and Political Science minor from the University of New Hampshire. Kellie is personally passionate about alternative medicine access and the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis due to her own experience as a chronic pain patient from a spinal injury.
After almost 3 years as the Chief Strategic Development Officer at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) leading the ADA's development division and most recently, Executive Board Member of The Compassionate Care Foundation, I've joined to help lead Bennabis Health, an early stage medical marijuana reimbursement organization, to develop the first national program to provide medical users with marijuana coverage.
In my final year at Compassionate Care Foundation (CCF), we led the company through the largest acquisition of a New Jersey based alternative treatment center (ATC). CCF is a medical marijuana grower and dispensary, and recognized as one of the leading treatment facilities in the State of New Jersey, with over 5,500 unique patients per month.
Lauren previously co-founded of Hiller, PC's cannabis law practice. What started as a
passion project in patient rights during a brief residency in California, Lauren has become
one of the Nation’s preeminent cannabis attorneys. Her practice is centered upon the
representation of start-up organizations and investors. With her diverse background in
corporate law, litigation, and land-use and zoning, she provides clients with the most up-
to-date information necessary to operate and invest in successful cannabis and ancillary
businesses. Lauren has run successful applications in competitive medical cannabis states
and adult-use markets alike, and represents a broad spectrum of cannabis and hemp
clients, including plant-touching breeders, cultivators, processors, and product
manufacturers; investors, including family offices and angels; and multiple ancillary
businesses, including networking associations, packaging businesses, ingredient
manufacturers, medical professionals, and industry consultants. Lauren is also a member
of the legal team that brought an action against former Attorney General Sessions and the
federal government seeking, among other things, a declaration that the mis-classification
of cannabis as a Schedule I drug is unconstitutional, on, among other things, due process,
equal protection, free speech, and commerce clause grounds.
Lauren is an Expert Contributor to Marijuana Venture Magazine, a frequent
speaker at national and local cannabis events, including, among others, MJ Biz Con, the
Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, NCIA, Emerald Cup, and the Women
Grow Leadership Summit and provides pro bono legal and advocacy services to the
Cannabis Cultural Association, among others. Lauren also serves on the Executive
Committee of the Board of Directors for the International Cannabis Bar Association, as
the organization’s Treasurer. Lauren enjoys an extensive network of cannabis
professionals nationwide, enabling her to provide full legal and business services to her
In his role at Safe Harbor Financial as Chief Strategic Business Development Officer, Tyler leverages his extensive experience in building brands, managing key relationships and strategic partnerships. Tyler has been at the forefront of the cannabis industry over eight years and touches Financial Institutions, Government Officials, Regulatory Bodies and the State Legal Cannabis industry.
Peter is a banking executive with 20+ years of experience across the banking and financial services spectrum. He has personally spearheaded 3 cannabis banking programs as team lead at commercial banks, and has acted as a consultant to dozens of other FIs banking cannabis across the country.
An active member of the cannabis industry, Peter is currently on the executive board of the Asian Cannabis Roundtable, serving as treasurer, and an advisory council member for the Minority Cannabis Academy. Additionally, he write about the cannabis industry for Rolling Stone on the Rolling Stone Cannabis Culture Council.
Previously, he also held a position as an advisory panel board member for Pace University's Lubin School of Business. As well as served as a member of the Banking & Financial Services Committee for the National Cannabis Industry Association. And, he is a veteran of the United States Army
As General Counsel for CanPay, Cassandra manages compliance and legal matters involving privacy, cybersecurity, payments and financial regulation of the fintech space.
Professional background is in government investigations and enforcement, policy work, business accounting, and civil litigation. Educational background includes degrees in Law (JD), Criminal Justice (MACJ), Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (LLM), and a bachelor's degree in science (BS). Teaching background at Bellevue College (Criminal Law) and Seattle University School of Law (Introduction to Fintech).
Legal interests include anti-money laundering compliance/legislation, privacy/data protection, and blockchain technology.
Dean Rocco is a pragmatic, results-oriented attorney who leverages the firm’s geographic reach and strength across multiple disciplines to the benefit of clients. He takes great pride in building longstanding partnerships with clients through responsive communication and consistent, positive results in keeping with clients’ business philosophies and litigation objectives.
Dean is the Western Region Chair of the firm’s national Employment & Labor practice. In that capacity, he maintains a significant practice representing employers and management in a wide range of employment litigation. He lends his knowledge and perspective to building effective personnel programs and policies, counseling employers and managing risk during difficult employee issues, and training employers on legal compliance and best practices.
Dean also serves as co-chair of the firm’s national Cannabis Law practice. Dean works with clients inside and outside the cannabis industry to navigate the complex and quickly evolving framework of recreational and medical marijuana laws impacting their businesses.
As a distinguished attorney and recognized authority in his field, Dean has been ranked in Chambers USA, recognized by publications and asked to serve in leadership positions of boards and committees of several organizations. He is asked routinely by media outlets, business organizations and professional associations to share his perspectives on evolving legal issues
Michael F. Hennessey is Vice President & National Cannabis Practice Leader at IMA Financial Group, Inc. Based in California, Mr. Hennessey leads business development and client service efforts across the United States.
Previously, Mr. Hennessey was Assistant Vice President of Client Services for The ABD Team serving the Cannabis space in addition to technology, real estate, and life sciences sectors.
Lauren Linder is Vice President and Assistant General Counsel of Curaleaf, Inc. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, she graduated from Pace Academy before receiving her bachelor’s degree from Brown University. She attended Duke University where she received her Juris Doctor before returning home to Atlanta. Lauren joined Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in 2007 as an associate and Turner Broadcasting as counsel in 2011. While at The Weather Channel (2015-2019), she held the leadership positions of Director, Business and Legal Affairs, and then of Vice President, Associate General Counsel, where she advised the company on all aspects of the business including transactional, compliance, regulatory, and litigation matters. Lauren left The Weather Chanel in August 2019 to join Parallel. In her role as Deputy General Counsel, she has led compliance and regulatory initiatives in both our Florida and Massachusetts markets, as well as provided legal guidance at the corporate level. In her impressive young career, she has also been named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40 list in 2018, as well as Daily Report’s On the Rise list in 2019. Lauren was named to Savoy magazine’s 2018 Top Black Lawyers list. A former debater, Lauren is a frequent speaker and panelist on a range of issues relating to corporate law and cannabis.
Pamela has made a name for herself as one of the cannabis industry’s most respected, prominent, innovative female leaders and featured industry speaker. She serves as the General Counsel, Chief Regulatory & Licensing Officer for Terpene Belt, Inc.
Epstein has used her extensive background in environmental law with an emphasis on regulatory compliance to help implement Eden’s novel “Compassion Over Destruction” initiative. In Epstein’s previous role with Green Wise she was known as a fearless advocate for cannabis businesses of all sizes across the supply chain. She successfully guided them through the ever-changing legal and regulatory landscape. Her passion and sense of duty to the community is unparalleled. Epstein also served as the Special City Attorney for cannabis regulation for the City of Hollister and is currently the Co-Chair of CCIA's Special Events & Social Consumption Committee, where she is working to update cannabis events regulations.
Partner of Carey and co-head of the firm’s Life Sciences and Biotechnology and Public Law Groups. His practice focuses on life sciences, biotechnology and public law, advising companies on intellectual property issues related to the pharmaceutical industry, cosmetics, medical devices, commercialization and advertisement of these products, scientific research, clinical studies, regulation of medical professions, privacy, data protection, public and private procurement and biddings, licenses, distribution and franchises. He also represents clients in administrative processes and in sanitary, administrative and judicial litigation derived from those operations.
Ingrid Ortiz joined OLIVARES in 2011. She studied law at Monterrey Institute of Technology and Advanced Studies (by its acronym in Spanish “ITESM”, Tecnológico de Monterrey) in Mexico City.
Ingrid is member of the Life Sciences & Pharmaceutical law at OLIVARES. Her practice is mainly focused on Intellectual Property Litigation, Regulatory and Administrative Litigation; as well as Regulatory and Compliance advisory. Her main areas of practice allow her to interact with the Mexican sanitary agency, the Federal Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks (by its acronym in Spanish “COFEPRIS”), the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office (by its acronym in Spanish “IMPI”), and the Courts of law, such as the Federal Court of Tax and Administrative Affairs, the Federal District Courts and the Federal Circuit Courts.
Dr. Jayashree Mitra focuses on patent litigation, including Hatch-Waxman patent litigation. She represents clients in federal court and before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the International Trade Commission in a full range of patent litigation, including Hatch-Waxman actions, inter partes review, post-grant review proceedings, and trade secret disputes. She also advises clients in the cannabis industry and psychedelic industry on regulatory compliance, helping them align their IP strategies to comply with FDA and DEA regulations and guidance.
Jayashree is well known for her detailed understanding of the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, cannabis, psychedelics, and emerging technology sectors. A former neuropharmaceutical researcher at Yale University, Jayashree's technical knowledge extends to small molecules, protein therapeutics, protein conjugates, vaccines, injectables, biologics, and biosimilars, as well as blockchain and data privacy. She has particular insight into the science underlying innovative cannabis technology products and psychedelics. Her research in neuropharmacology at Yale specifically involved analyzing the effects of psychoactive substances on the developing brain.
She also has experience handling antitrust matters, as well as intellectual property due diligence and technology agreements for mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate transactions. She is recognized as a certified information privacy professional (CIPP/US) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
Jayashree engages in extensive pro bono work, including criminal appeals and death penalty cases.
Ambassador Menahem (Chuck) Kanafi is an advocate and third-party neutral focusing on resolving cross-border commercial disputes with experience in India, the US, Israel, Africa and Germany. He studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and served as an Appellate Prosecutor and Senior Civil Law Counsel in government. Thereafter, Chuck embarked on a three-decades long diplomatic career including legal, political and UN functions, culminating with ambassadorial posts in Ghana, Eritrea and as Consul-General in South India.
Upon retirement from the Foreign Service, Chuck established himself in private collaborative legal practice concentrating on mediating disputes in international trade and legal aspects of the medical cannabis industry, specifically focusing on international commercial disputes. Chuck is admitted to practice in Israel and New York State and in Israel and maintains a presence in New York, Berlin and Tel Aviv. Chuck serves on the Advisory Boards of a number of educational ADR initiatives in India, has served as a judge in international mediation competitions, is a member of the International Committee of the International Cannabis Bar Association, and has moderated panels at their Cannabis Law Institute 2019.
Sherri earns the trust of her clients by adeptly managing complex and time-sensitive corporate finance transactions and by providing relevant, business-focused solutions to corporate/commercial and capital markets issues. Her depth of perspective and understanding of corporate and securities law matters comes from her ongoing representation of clients ranging from small and medium enterprises to established multi-billion dollar corporations. Sherri effectively prioritizes issues on complex and time-sensitive transactions, and works diligently to ensure that outcomes align with her clients’ overall business goals.
Sherri is co-Practice Group Leader of the firm's Capital Markets Group, co-Chair of the Cannabis Group and Life Sciences Group and a member of the Corporate/Commercial, Mining, Capital Pool Company and Startups Groups. Her practice is focused on mergers, acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, public and private financings and ongoing corporate and commercial matters. She has developed specialized expertise in capital markets transactions in the REIT, cannabis, technology, psychedelics and mining sectors, including with respect to board governance, securities and financing matters.
Sherri regularly advises corporations on public offerings, private placement financings, flow-through financings, reverse takeovers, stock exchange listings, continuous disclosure, corporate governance and the formation and completion of qualifying transactions for companies established under the TSX Venture Exchange Capital Pool Company Program.
Sherri is a member of the TSX Venture Exchange Ontario Advisory Committee and a former member of the Ontario Securities Commission Small and Medium Enterprises Committee. Sherri previously completed a six-month term of secondment with the Corporate Finance Branch of the Ontario Securities Commission where she was responsible for reviewing and clearing prospectuses and considering applications for relief from the requirements of the Securities Act (Ontario). Sherri also instructs Corporate Finance at Windsor Law School and is a frequent public speaker. Additionally, Sherri is called upon by the media to comment on the legal, regulatory and investment issues surrounding psychedelics in Canada.
Sherri is recognized by The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a leading lawyer in the area of Corporate Finance & Securities, after previously being named one of Lexpert magazine’s Rising Stars: Canada’s Leading Lawyers under 40. Sherri is also recognized as a leading lawyer in Cannabis Law by Chambers Canada and The Best Lawyers in Canada.
Jonathan Sherman is a partner in the Securities Group at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, serving as Co-Chair of the Cannabis Group and as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Jonathan’s practice focuses on emerging and high-growth industries, including cannabis, technology, natural resources, beverage alcohol, gaming, blockchain, cryptocurrency and psychedelic medicines. In his role as Co-Chair of the firm’s Cannabis Group, Jonathan is at the forefront of many of the largest industry transactions in this evolving sector, providing strategic and legal advice to a range of leading industry players on complex and innovative transactions.
Jonathan acts for a wide variety of domestic and international companies and investment banks. With corporate clients ranging from startups to multibillion-dollar businesses, Jonathan’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions (public and private acquisitions, business combinations, joint ventures, go-public transactions and strategic collaborations) and corporate finance transactions (public offerings, venture capital, private equity offerings and debt financing transactions).
Whether strategically guiding clients through M&A, or helping emerging start-ups secure investments, Jonathan has become a trusted advisor to many. In addition, he has played a central role on several of the largest transactions completed to-date in the cannabis industry. He acts for industry-leader Canopy Growth on corporate, commercial, securities and M&A matters, including numerous M&A transactions valued at over $5 billion, a $600 million offering of senior convertible unsecured notes, a US$1.25 billion senior secured debt financing and various innovative cross-border transactions to facilitate Canopy Growth’s conditional exposure to the United States cannabis market in advance of federal legalization.
Dr. Shane Morris leads Morris and Associates Consulting Inc., a global cannabis consultancy that provides regulatory and product development support to industry actors based on experience and proven execution.
Dr. Morris has held C-suite and senior executive leadership roles in government and industry. He has over 20 years of experience in scientific and regulatory affairs. Dr. Morris has been a senior executive in the cannabis industry since 2015. Committed to rigorous, science-based consumer focused innovation, Shane has led the development and market introduction of many new cannabis products in the Canadian and European markets. Prior to consulting, Dr. Morris was Chief Product Officer for Aurora Cannabis. Shane’s proven expertise in quality assurance, cannabis operations, regulatory affairs and food safety ensured success in launching legal vapes, gummies, mints, chocolates, cookies, softgels, topicals and drinks. Products developed by Dr. Morris had retail sales of over $40M in 2020. Morris and Associates Consulting clients had 14 SKUs launched in 2021 valued at over $15M in sales. Dr. Morris currently serves on the Board of Directors on Feather Inc, a cannabis innovation company operating in Canada and the USA.
During his time at Aurora, Dr. Morris also led a world class regulatory affairs team managing the largest number of cannabis site licences in the world, in addition to many international initiatives and exports of medical cannabis to new markets. Prior to joining Aurora, Shane was Vice-President of Quality Assurance and Scientific Affairs at HEXO, a Quebec-based licensed producer. While there, he was also designated as the senior person in charge under Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.
Before his activities in the cannabis industry, Shane had fifteen years of experience at science-policy interfaces, working on high-profile risk issues within the Canadian federal government. He has held senior positions and executive appointments at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Public Health Agency of Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Treasury Board Canada Secretariat’s Regulatory Affairs Sector, where he advised the Canadian cabinet on regulatory issues and new government regulatory initiatives.
Shane holds a Ph.D. in plant science and policy from the National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway and a B.Sc. in biology and mathematics from NUI, Maynooth. He was also a Teagasc Walsh Fellow. He publishes and lectures widely on regulation, risk and policy and has advised members of the Irish Parliament and the European Parliament on agri-biotechnology and cannabis issues. He has provided expert witness testimony in five cannabis legal cases.
A leading cannabis attorney and advocate for nearly 15 years, Meital is the Managing Partner for Manzuri Law, leading a diverse team of attorneys and licensing specialists in cannabis and hemp law. Meital serves as the secretary of the executive committee of INCBA and also the chair of the leading issues committee where they identify cutting edge legal issues for the hemp and cannabis industry and for INCBA members and lawyers serving those industries.
Meital has served as General Counsel for various trade associations responsible for influencing cannabis laws and policies in Los Angeles. Her other duties include: Vice-Chair of communications for the LA County Bar Association, Cannabis Section, member of the social equity committee to interpret and provide clarity to the industry on LA’s ever evolving cannabis laws and active participation on the pro bono panel for Los Angeles for SEIA.
Meital serves as general counsel for hundreds of cannabis & hemp businesses throughout the country advising on regulatory, corporate and transactional matters and general business law. She has authored hundreds of partnership deals, procured licenses for 200+ different businesses, defended thousands of people accused with cannabis crimes, and her tenure includes some of the most seminal cases in federal and state court.
Meital is the mother of three young children, serves on the board of AYSO and coaches soccer for fun.
Laura Schniedwind is a cannabis business attorney at PAX Labs, Inc., a leading global cannabis brand on a mission to enhance people’s lives through exceptional cannabis experiences. With experience in both start-up and global corporate environments, she provides strategic and legal partnership across the company, including product, sales, operations, business development, marketing, R&D, government affairs, and finance teams.
Her work enables the company to commercialize cannabis consumables and cannabis vaporization hardware within highly regulated frameworks on a global scale. She leads a high-performing compliance team that identifies trends and helps develop strategies and policy proposals to further the interests of PAX and our communities.
Laura has extensive experience working with companies of all sizes experiencing major growth in regulated industries. She has held a variety of legal positions serving the cannabis industry, including outside general counsel, sole practitioner, and of counsel. Prior to working for the cannabis industry, Laura was in-house counsel to a privately-held global company engaged in the development, manufacture, and sale of semiconductor analysis equipment, where she gained experience establishing a company-wide export compliance program, oversaw the implementation and alignment of company policies across subsidiaries, and worked with various stakeholders to draft agreements and help drive business forward. Following the company's acquisition by a public company, she decided to leverage her experience working with companies experiencing transition in regulated industries, and established a solo practice focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. After nearly two years running a successful solo practice, she joined a boutique firm Brand & Branch LLP, focused on advising cannabis and hemp businesses on intellectual property licensing, regulatory compliance, and commercial transactions, a role in which she served as outside counsel to PAX.
Based in Oakland, California, Laura is a Bay Area native and a graduate of the University of California, San Diego and the University of San Francisco School of Law. Prior to law school, Laura was a translator for detained immigrants seeking asylum in the United States.
I have been an attorney in the cannabis industry for the past twelve years after I started working at the nation's first marijuana-only law firm. Since then, I have represented cannabis businesses in both existing and emerging markets across the United States and Canada. Much of my practice has focused on helping new businesses get licensed and then helping them remain compliant with the constantly evolving regulations in the cannabis industry. I am a licensed attorney in CO.
When I'm not working on exciting projects in the fast-paced cannabis industry, I can be found outside hiking, kayaking and golfing.
The years I spent in the vapor industry were nothing less than amazing, starting in 2011, as VP of Compliance & Logistics with an ecig retailer, then executive director and president of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, the largest vapor trade association ever.
And a new chapter beings as I step into the role of chief strategy officer for Hometown Hero CBD, headquartered in Austin, Texas. Hometown Hero was established in 2015 and has been on a rapid upward trajectory ever since. They have amply demonstrated their ability to innovate, pivot, grow and maintain their customer base. More than that, they have proven they are willing to fight for their industry, most notably suing the state of Texas and receiving an injunction on the prohibition of certain hemp products. In my new role I oversee compliance, legal and state and federal legislative efforts to ensure the future and viability of hemp derived cannabinoid products.
Shahiedah is the Executive Director of the International Cannabis Bar Association. Prior to joining INCBA, Shahiedah worked as an associate at ArentFox Schiff LLP, where she served as co-chair of the firm's Cannabis Industry Group and represented licensed cannabis companies on regulatory matters. Before joining ArentFox Schiff, Shahiedah worked at the Los Angeles County Counsel’s Office for four years, where she helped to develop local cannabis policy, monitored developments in cannabis law and policy within federal, state and local government agencies, and prosecuted unlicensed dispensaries. She also served as in-house counsel to the County Auditor-Controller and the Treasurer and Tax Collector, and successfully defended the County against multiple lawsuits. Between stints at the County Counsel, Shahiedah worked as a deputy city attorney to several cities, where she primarily focused on land use, the California Environmental Quality Act, and writ litigation. In addition to extensive experience in land use and cannabis law, Shahiedah has advised clients in the areas of real estate, business transactions and nonprofit law, and trademark law.
Jacquesline is a Clinical Psychotherapist, Founder and CEO of The Well Firm. Her early work was spent investigating high level crimes against children, often collaborating with the DC OAG, DCPD, and the FBI. Jacquesline's time working in this field helped inform her practice supporting professionals in high stress industries, specifically the law profession. She is a subject matter expert on the impacts of stress and trauma in professional spaces.
Jacquesline's work with numerous AM100 and Vault 10 firms includes facilitated workshops, professional development trainings, and holding space for firms whose people have been impacted by various traumas. She develops firm specific workshops and delivers talks around lawyer well-being, emotional intelligence, stress management & resilience, and racial trauma.
Jacquesline also maintains a private practice that focuses on providing clinical mental health services to professionals of color, as well as supporting those experiencing trauma in both public and private ecosystems. She is originally from Boston, Massachusetts and received her Masters degree from Howard University. When she's not talking about wellness in the legal field, Jacquesline spends time perfecting her mushroom risotto, reading novels, and chasing the sun. She lives in Washington, DC and is married to a lawyer.
Michael Correia is the former director of government relations for the National Cannabis Industry Association. His focus is raising awareness and building support for the cannabis industry’s issues on Capitol Hill. In addition, Michael works with other national organizations to increase the cannabis industry profile nationally. Prior to joining NCIA, Michael spent many years working on Capitol Hill, including working for Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), who retired in 2010, and the House Committee on Resources, serving three different Chairmen. Previously, he was director of federal affairs for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and senior project manager for the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget. In both positions, he advocated for policies in Congress. A campaign veteran, he has worked and volunteered on numerous political campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels over the past two decades. Michael is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego. A native of San Diego, he resides in Washington, D.C.
Kristina Dahmann is a partner in Ice Miller’s Litigation and Cannabis Industry Group. Kristina has broad litigation experience encompassing traditional business and banking disputes, trade secret protection, labor and employment defense, and white-collar criminal defense. Kristina has specific experience with comprehensive compliance reviews, training programs, and federal and state administrative and regulatory processes with respect to federal and state-regulated industries and regularly provides counseling to help clients navigate these industries.
HIGH TIMES 100 TOP INFLUENCERS IN CANNABIS Scheril Murray Powell, Esq. is an Agricultural, Cannabis, and Dietary Supplement Attorney at Doumar, Allsworth, Laystrom, Voigt, Adair, and Dishowitz LLP and COO at Jusus.foundation She is the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Sub-Committee of the ASTM D37 Committee. Scheril also serves as the Director of Business Development of Creative Services, a FCRA Compliance, Background Screening, and Security Firm. The Daily Business Review has named her one of the Top 12 Cannabis Attorney’s in Florida. Her practice covers both the Marijuana and Hemp Industries, specializing in Cannabinoid legalization and UK Novel Foods registration. She is a Florida licensed Hemp Farmer and is a Research Farmer for the University of Florida. Scheril serves on the Board of one of the oldest Cannabis Advocacy Organizations, Patients Out of Time. She is the former Executive Director of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists of Florida and former Director of Federal Affairs for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Scheril is on the Hemp Pilot Program Advisory Board for the University of Florida and serves on the Broward County, Florida Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. She is on the board for the Friends of Hemp and was a Founding Board Member for the U.S. Hemp Builders Association (not to be confused with the U.S. Hemp Building Association Foundation). She is also President of consulting firm Green Sustainable Strong, LLC. In her spare time she volunteers with the Winrock Foundation delivering Marketing training to Farmers in Ghana, Africa. In 2018, she was a recipient of the Crohns Foundation Blood, Sweat, and Tears Award, and the Cannabis Business Award's Industry MVP Award.
Dominique Mendiola serves as the Senior Director for the Colorado Deparment of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division, the agency responsible for licensing and regulating Colorado's medical and adult-use cannabis industries. She also serves as a board member for the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA). Mendiola began her work in the Marijuana Enforcement Division in 2014, where she previously served as the Division's Deputy Director. In July 2018, former Governor John Hickenlooper announced Mendiola as Colorado's Director of Marijuana Coordination, where she provided cross-agency coordination and advised on Colorado's cannabis framework. Prior to joining the Marijuana Enforcement Division, she practiced law in Texas and Colorado with a focus in family law and medical and legal malpractice.
Andrea is a partner in the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group as well as a member of the Hemp Industry Team, focusing her practice on both affordable housing and cannabis business law. In the cannabis space, Andrea has deep rooted knowledge and experience with both hemp and marijuana regulatory and business law. Andrea’s cannabis business clients come from across the supply chain spectrum from cultivators to retailers, as well as distributors, testing labs and more. She advises on regulatory compliance, risk analysis and mitigation, hemp/medical marijuana licensing, cannabis-related business issues and contracts, product labeling/marketing, policy-making participation and real estate issues.
Andrea frequently advises clients on issues unique to the industry, such as delta-8 and other novel cannabinoids, conducting state-by-state research and providing guidance and analysis on proposed laws to policymakers and others. She serves on the Executive Committee of the International Cannabis Bar Association's Governing Board as its Vice President of Operations, as well as co-chairs its Legislative Advisement Committee. She has also been a Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Cannabis Law and Policy Committee since 2021. Andrea is a sought-after speaker at industry events, providing insight into recently approved and proposed laws, rules and regulations and other cannabis business matters. At her prior firm, she successfully launched, led and grew their cannabis business practice group.
In the affordable housing area, Andrea represents both for-profit and non-profit developers across the country, including public and private entities, as well as public housing authorities and tax increment reinvestment zones. Her work is concentrated on the legal representation of developers of affordable housing utilizing both 9% and 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits, tax exempt bond financing, CDBG and HOME Program funding and other federal, state and local subsidy and economic development programs, as well as the stimulus grants created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 including the Tax Credit Assistance Program, Tax Credit Exchange Program (Section 1602 Program) and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
Andrea has represented developers in complex transactions which have combined federal and state Historic Tax Credits with LIHTCs and tax-exempt bonds, and transactions which have involved multiple layers of funding including EB-5 and tax increment financing. Her practice also includes closing construction, bridge and/or permanent loans, conventional as well as Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae loans, FHA-insured loans, and state and local financing. Incorporating various economic development incentives is another area in which her creativity and experience allows her to excel.
Andrea’s work with public housing authorities (PHAs) includes closing transactions that include HUD funds and/or HUD-insured mortgages, including Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and mixed-finance transactions, those involving Section 8 financing, 221(d)(4) & 223(f) FHA mortgages, Federal Home Loan Bank AHP loans and CDBG Disaster Recovery funds. She has worked with PHAs throughout Texas in addition to Louisiana, Arkansas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Andrea is also experienced with assisting developers navigate through various state agency processes, including assistance with funding applications, appeals, and compliance issues. Her work also encompasses obtaining ad valorem tax exemptions for qualified projects, and she also assists clients with real estate acquisitions and dispositions.
With both affordable housing and cannabis being industries that necessitate guidance across a wide range of practice areas, Andrea enjoys collaborating with other team members at Frost Brown Todd to provide clients a full suite of legal services on any issue impacting their businesses, including trademarks, patents, e-commerce, tax matters, debt and equity financing opportunities, corporate structuring and more.
The United Empowerment Party works on the federal and with state level to provide policy guidance and to advocate for to fair and equitable legislation. UEP works with candidates on either side of the poitical ailse who are committed embracing diverse ideas and inclusive solutions to improve and expand the cannabis industry through health care research and innovative product development.
Shay Aaron Gilmore advises and counsels exclusively cannabis operators and investors through the corporate, commercial, and regulatory complexities of California’s legal cannabis markets, focusing on private mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity financings, cannabis distribution and supply agreements, cannabis licensing and product development and regulatory compliance matters. Shay has been recognized by the Los Angeles/San Francisco Daily Journal, the state’s largest legal news periodical, as one of the Top 20 Cannabis Lawyers in California, and Super Lawyers® Magazine has named Shay a Northern California Super Lawyer in Cannabis Law and in Business & Corporate Law as well. Shay serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Cannabis Bar Association and as the Immediate Past Chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco Cannabis Law Section where Shay helped research and articulate the State Bar of California’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) opinion in 2020 finding a lawyer may ethically advise a client concerning compliance with California’s cannabis laws and may assist the client in conduct permitted by those laws, despite the fact that the client’s conduct may violate federal law. Shay holds a B.A. in Economics from Rice University and a J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law.
Eric Steenstra co-founded the pioneering hemp clothing and lifestyle brand Ecolution with Steve DeAngelo in 1992. Eric went on to lead the nation’s first hemp trade group, serving as the Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association from 2007 to 2016. Eric currently serves as the president of Vote Hemp and Vice President of the California Hemp Council. He has been a frequent speaker at industry conferences and trusted source to the media, including CBS, New York Times, Forbes, CNN, Rolling Stone, Reuters and the Washington Post.
In his role at Vote Hemp, Eric led the effort to pass hemp farming legislation nationwide and defend the hemp market. In 2001, Eric was part of the team that led the legal effort to overturn the DEA rule banning hemp products containing “any” THC in them. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately overturned the DEA interpretive rule in 2004 catapulting the market for hemp foods forward. In 2005, he worked with Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) to draft the first modern U.S. hemp legislation introduced in Congress (H.R. 3037). In 2012 he worked with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) to get companion hemp legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 3501). Eric worked with Congressman Polis (D-CO) and Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) to have hemp legislation included in the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the first legal hemp farming in over 50 years and resulted in 78,176 acres of hemp being planted across 24 states in 2018. Vote Hemp also played an integral role in the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill including fully removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.
The California Hemp Council (CHC) worked to ensure that the state was ready for hemp legalization at the national level and successfully sponsored and passed state legislation (SB 1409, Chapter No. 986, Statutes of 2018) to allow California farmers to enter the hemp market and meet the growing demands of hemp product companies. The CHC secured the passage of SB 153 which updated California hemp laws to be in sync with the 2018 Farm Bill. If not for CHC efforts, California farmers would likely not be growing hemp today.
Eric was part of groups that were awarded dispensary licenses in Maryland, Oregon and West Virginia and helped to oversee operations in. the Maryland store. He currently is consulting on various hemp and cannabis projects including advising the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Hemp Commission.
Jessica Wasserman is the founder and CEO of WassermanRowe, a DC-based law and government relations firm providing services to Food and Drug Administration-regulated industries, including food, supplements, medical devices, botanical drugs and drugs. She has worked in Congress, federal agencies (at both career and political levels) and major law firms. She has worked on hemp and cannabinoid issues since the 2018 Farm Bill decriminalized and defined hemp. Having worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she hit the ground running on the hemp harvest issues and then pivoted to the cannabis FDA issues (Warning Letters for drug label claims compliance; GMPs; Epidiolex drug preclusion issue; GRAS; NDI) as CBD manufacturers and retailers faced these issues. Currently, Jessica lobbies and advises on compliance on a wide range of cannabis issues, including reauthorization of the 2018 Farm Bill; the proliferation of state laws focused on “intoxicating” cannabinoid products; compliance for edible products sold in dispensaries; federal lobbying on the ongoing FDA cannabis scheduling review and more. Jessica is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.
Rafi Aliya Crockett is happy to rejoin “civilian life” after serving on Washington, D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Board from 2019 to 2023. As a board member, Ms. Crockett worked to drive change focused on eliminating disparities in access, ownership and participation in the city's alcoholic beverage and cannabis industries. Ms. Crockett serves as Treasurer to the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition, and is the writer and executive producer of Higher Power, a documentary film about cannabis legalization in Washington, D.C. told through the lens of racial justice and the fight for statehood.
Alejandro Luna joined Olivares in 1996 and became a partner in 2005. He is instrumental in the IP Litigation, Regulatory and Administrative Litigation practices and Co-chair of the Life Sciences & Pharmaceutical law and industry group and also he coordinates the litigation department. Mr. Luna has been crucial to the heart of Mexico’s intellectual property legal system as one of the few true patent regulatory and administrative litigation experts in Mexico. He acts on behalf of his clients as an attorney, and a lobbyist.
He has participated in questioning the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Industrial Property Law and the Federal Copyright Law. He is also the sponsor of an important proposal to modify the system of litigation and enforcement of intellectual property rights in Mexico.
He has incorporated regulation changes and lobbying which has resulted in precedent for patent linkage regulations and life terms of pipeline patents in Mexico. This work has resulted in US$ billions of protected revenues for the R&D pharmaceutical industry in Mexico. As a result of his involvement, he has been selected as the delegate to represent AMIIF, the industry association for R&D pharmaceutical companies who do business in Mexico, in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
His practice is not solely devoted to Life Sciences; he represents clients across a myriad of industries. He has successfully litigated exclusivity for pharmaceutical patents and pioneered administrative court actions to seek recognition of DPE rights, which are not specifically contemplated by Mexican laws.
His commitment to just and fair law extends to his overall promise of client satisfaction; he lobbies to change the law to allow for proper patent protection and best serve his clients. Mr. Luna is also the author of several articles on patents, litigation and regulatory issues. He is a part-time professor at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México (UNAM).
One of the leading corporate cannabis lawyers in the USA, having participated in over $2 Billion of cannabis industry financing, M&A and other transactions.
Neil M. Kaufman is the managing member of Kaufman McGowan PLLC, Long Island’s Corporate & Securities Law Firm ™ and Corporate & Securities Counsel to the Cannabis Industry™. He is one of the leading corporate cannabis lawyers in New York and the USA and a fixture of the New York and Long Island corporate and securities legal community.
Mr. Kaufman represents emerging growth, middle market and public companies and investment firms in their corporate, securities, financing, borrowing, merger & acquisition and other legal matters. Mr. Kaufman is particularly well known for advising clients with respect to SEC regulation, public offerings, private placements and mergers & acquisitions, as well as all types of commercial contracts. He is a frequent speaker on corporate, securities and cannabis law topics, and is an approved Vistage speaker on mergers & acquisitions.
Zayde has over 20 years of experience providing legal counseling for patents and plant variety protection, as well as conducting civil and administrative litigation of intellectual property rights. She has profound professional experience in two countries, and currently is one of the top patent advisors in Costa Rica with respect to both patent prosecution and plant variety protection. Zayde’s practice includes the filing of PCT patent applications for international and national phases, and the strategic planning for the protection of new plant varieties and prosecution of PBR rights. Zayde also has extensive experience with the protection of industrial property in the framework of the regulatory procedures necessary for the health registration of medicines, such as data exclusivity protection and linkage.
Alan B. Morrison is the Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest & Public Service at GW Law. He is responsible for creating pro bono opportunities for students, bringing a wide range of public interest programs to the law school, encouraging students to seek positions in the non-profit and government sectors, and assisting students find ways to fund their legal education to make it possible for them to pursue careers outside of traditional law firms.
For most of his career, Dean Morrison worked for the Public Citizen Litigation Group, which he co-founded with Ralph Nader in 1972 and directed for over 25 years. His work involved law reform litigation in various areas including: open government, opening up the legal profession, suing agencies that fail to comply with the law, enforcing principles of separation of powers, protecting the rights of consumers, and protecting unrepresented class members in class action settlements.
He has argued 20 cases in the Supreme Court, including victories in Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar (holding lawyers subject to the antitrust laws for using minimum fee schedules); Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (making commercial speech subject to the First Amendment); and INS v. Chadha (striking down over 200 federal laws containing the legislative veto as a violation of separation of powers).
He currently teaches civil procedure and constitutional law, and previously taught at Harvard, NYU, Stanford, Hawaii, and American University law schools. He is a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and was its president in 1999–2000. Among other positions, he served as an elected member of the Board of Governors of the District of Columbia Bar, a member and then senior fellow of the Administrative Conference of the United States, a member of the American Law Institute, and a member of the Committee on Science, Technology & Law of the National Academy of Science. He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, served as a commissioned officer in the US Navy, and was an assistant U.S. attorney in New York.
Joe Segilia is a partner in the capital markets group at Sullivan & Worcester LLP. Joe's practice focuses on corporate and securities matters, including capital markets transactions, securities laws, and mergers and acquisitions. He advises clients with respect to ongoing corporate governance and disclosure matters, including compliance with Securities Exchange Act of 1934 requirements, stock exchange listing standards and Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance. Prior to joining Sullivan, Joe was one of the first in-house counsels of a publicly-traded cannabis company.
Caroline focuses her work on regulatory compliance, white-collar and government investigations, and securities enforcement and counseling. Caroline has experience representing broker-dealers and other financial institutions, public and private companies, and individuals in investigations and proceedings before administrative, legislative, and self-regulatory agencies including the SEC and FINRA. Caroline also helps develop and update effective compliance and supervisory policies and procedures and has experience in drafting effective Regulation SHO, Conflicts of Interest, and Customer Due Diligence policies, among other compliance procedures. Caroline further works with CFIUS, the Corporate Transparency Act and anti-money laundering regulations, export-import controls and anti-boycott and anti-corruption regulations, and has experience assisting US companies navigating USTDA submissions, export controls, sanctions, and other regulatory controls.
On the transactional side, Caroline works with our capital markets group representing issuers and broker-dealers in financings, capital markets transactions, initial public offerings, private placements, PIPEs, and investment fund matters, and advises clients on corporate governance and compliance with ongoing disclosure and other obligations under the federal securities laws.
Caroline is also an Adjunct Professor at Stonehill College teaching POL201, Mock Trial.
Caroline graduated from Boston University School of Law, cum laude, and with a concentration in International Law, with honors. During law school, Caroline was the Managing Editor of the Boston University International Law Journal, interned for the Honorable Juan R. Torruella, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and was a two-time member of the Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition team.
David Culver is the SVP of Public Affairs at the US Cannabis Council. With over 25 years of experience spanning the globe, David has crafted winning strategies on behalf of trade associations and global corporations with a specialty in beverage alcohol, cannabis, and other highly regulated industries.
Prior to his role at USCC, David served as Vice President of Global Government & Stakeholder Relations for Canopy Growth Corporation, the world’s leading cannabis company. In this role, David built and managed the company's global government relations efforts including their entry into the US as a CBD company. He founded the company’s employee PAC, and was a founding board member of USCC.
David served as Vice President of Government Affairs at the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) for 16 years prior. Among many accolades during his tenure, most notably, he was instrumental in the passage of the Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform Act in December 2017 - the first industry-wide tax reduction since the Civil War. David helped launched the Craft Distiller Membership Program in 2010, recruiting nearly 150 new members for the organization and he jointly oversaw the organization’s USDA Market Access Program, which promoted American made spirits overseas.
David served in a variety of campaign and legislative positions for Senator(s) Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), Tom Daschle (D-SD), J. Robert Kerrey (D-NE), and Ben Nelson (D-NE).
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Hamilton College and resides in Washington, DC with his wife and daughter.
Regarding the working group on CBD, it is just that . . . I'm not trying to start a trade group but just get everyone around the table to talk . . . I doubt we will ever agree on all the details but something is about to move and we need to open the lines of communication, in my opinion.
Bryan Barash is Dutchie’s Senior Director, Assistant General Counsel, responsible for overseeing compliance, public affairs, social equity, and other legal functions at Dutchie. Bryan also serves as the Secretary of the United States Cannabis Council. Prior to his two years at Dutchie, Bryan spent the previous eight years as General Counsel to Massachusetts State Senate President Harriette Chandler after receiving his law degree from Boston College. Bryan lives in Beverly, Massachusetts with his wife Claudia, son Elias, and their two dachshunds.
I have 20+ years of experience working in all facets of government, policy, & government relations including corporate, association, multi-client, and Congress in the Senate and House. I have a keen understanding of how public policy and politics collide at the intersection of corporate and investor interests. I thrive on leveraging government processes and outcomes to advance the objectives of startups, associations, and Fortune 500 companies. Culture and Leadership are a must!
Francine is the head of regulatory compliance at Dutchie. Prior to joining Dutchie, she served as Chief Compliance Officer for two vertically-integrated cannabis companies in Michigan. She is passionate about the role cannabis technology plays in cannabis regulatory compliance and helping cannabis companies operate their business successfully. She enjoys leveraging her experience in cannabis operations to work cross-functionally to ensure Dutchie can deliver the best technology solutions to their customers. She began her career as a corporate attorney at Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston, Massachusetts and has experience in other regulated industries including CBD and the vape industry.
Experienced Attorney, with a demonstrated history of excellence in the practice of law, the leadership of teams, and the financial success of organizations. Strong legal professional skilled in cannabis regulations and compliance, legislative policy for children and families, litigation, negotiation, mediation, multi-disciplinary cooperation, and child welfare.
Before pursuing a law degree, garnered significant contract and business experience through entrepreneurial and professional positions, including Management Consultant, Director of Operations, Non-Profit Director, and Human Resources/Accounting Administrator.
Seema is an attorney and seasoned campaign strategist. Seema was Senior Policy Advisor - Racial Equity, Criminal Justice and Policing for the Biden for President campaign. Prior to that, Seema served as Managing Director of Government Affairs and State Campaigns for the Alliance for Safety and Justice.
Seema is an experienced documentary filmmaker and campaign strategist for social movements in the United States and abroad. She is a graduate of American University’s Washington College of Law and Tulane University and currently resides in Washington, D.C.
A true advocate, my talent translates to creating and delivering the message that advances your agenda.
With over twenty years of legal and legislative experience, I am proud to represent forward-thinking clients from a diverse business landscape.
I work with industry stakeholders, trade groups, committee staff, federal agencies, and Congressional members on both sides of the aisle to drive sound policy solutions and ultimately, create balanced pathways to market for innovative products.
My legal career started in private practice as criminal defense counsel in Austin, Texas, and for the past 10 years, I have worked as legislative and regulatory counsel, General Counsel, and In-House Counsel for entrepreneurs, and small-to-medium size companies. I have expertise in working with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), and a solid network of colleagues to amplify the Client’s presence if need be.
I have spoken nationally on issues germane to my work and am committed to realizing the successful intersection of consumer safety, appropriate agency oversight and unencumbered innovation.
Axel Bernabe serves as Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Director. Axel is responsible for standing-up and overseeing all aspects of the Office of Cannabis Management. Prior to starting the OCM, Axel spent 6 years as chief health counsel to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, overseeing all legal and policy deliberations in the health portfolio. As part of his cannabis responsibilities, he led the expansion of the medical program, directed the launch of the State's cannabinoid hemp program, and drafted and negotiated the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). Prior to joining the Cuomo administration, Axel was a partner at an international law firm where he was a nationally recognized antitrust expert, with a focus on the healthcare industry.
From her segregated hometown to the halls of Congress, Barbara Lee has never stopped fighting for what’s right. As a teenager in San Fernando High School, when Black girls couldn’t be cheerleaders, she joined forces with the NAACP and became her high school’s first Black cheerleader. She was one of the first Black women to rise up to a senior position on Capitol Hill as chief of staff for legendary Congressman Ron Dellums and was the first African American woman elected to the State Assembly and Senate from Northern California. A champion for justice in the Legislature, Barbara wrote California’s first Violence Against Women Act to ensure protections for victims of domestic violence and authored the California Schools Hate Crimes Reduction Act to protect all students – regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation – from hate crimes.
In 1998, Barbara became the first woman elected to Congress from her district, where she’s been fighting discrimination, poverty, and for the rights of all. In Congress, she made ending HIV and ensuring an AIDS-free generation a priority, spearheading nearly every major piece of HIV/AIDS legislation and working with then-President Bush to secure $15 billion in funding to address the epidemic. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Barbara introduced the landmark Marijuana Justice Act to reform unjust marijuana laws and address their disproportionate impact on people of color. And, when every other member of Congress wouldn’t, Barbara cast the sole no vote against giving the president unlimited war powers after 9/11.
Barbara understands our struggles because she’s lived them. She escaped an abusive marriage. As a single mother raising two sons, she received public assistance while building a better life for her family. While earning her degree, she brought her kids to class with her because she couldn’t afford childcare, and as a teenager, she risked her life having a back-alley abortion when abortion was illegal. These experiences have made Barbara who she is and shaped her career as one of Congress’s most outspoken champions of justice and advocates for the underserved.
And as Barbara likes to say, representation matters. Since 1789, when Congress first convened, there have only been two Black women senators – and they served a total tenure of 10 years out of nearly 240 years of our nation’s history. If elected, Barbara will be the only Black woman in the U.S. Senate and the only Black senator from California, bringing a much-needed voice to policymaking in DC.
Now, Barbara’s running for Senate because it’s time to find real solutions to homelessness, lift people out of poverty, protect our Democracy and human rights, and take on the climate crisis. She’ll keep fighting for our progressive values and delivering real results, and she’ll never back down from doing what’s right. Just like she always has.
That’s why people across California and the nation say, Barbara Lee Speaks for Me. Barbara Lee for U.S. Senate.
Nic Easley is the founder and CEO of 3C Consulting, LLC, a leading strategic consulting firm in the global cannabis industry, and the Managing Director of Multiverse Capital, a cannabis and hemp venture firm. Nic has been at the forefront of the cannabis industry for the past decade and is a globally recognized expert and a sought-after writer, panelist, and keynote speaker. Alongside the 3C team, Nic provides strategic and tactical consulting to cultivation, extraction, manufacturing, retail, delivery, and distribution companies as well as ancillary service providers and product manufacturers in the industry. He has worked with over 1,000 cannabis companies in over 42 U.S. States, two U.S. Territories, and 37 countries, guiding entrepreneurs and investors through the complex operational, financial, and regulatory aspects of the industry. Nic helps build companies based on practicality and altruism, striving to balance benevolent and patient-focused business practices with profitability. Widely known for strategically importing demonstrated best practices from other industries to the cannabis space, Nic has contributed to cannabis policy advances globally, including educating delegates on medical cannabis at the UN Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting on International Challenges Posed by the Non-Medical use of Synthetic Opioids. He is a service-connected Veteran of the United States Air Force, fluent in numerous languages, has over 15 years of agricultural experience, and holds degrees in both Environmental Studies and Biology.