N.J. is on the road to legal weed. Meet these top cannabis leaders at our networking event – NJ.com

Recreational cannabis shops in Massachusetts brought in more than $420 million in sales in 2019 — the first full calendar year of legalization, according to the state’s Cannabis Control Commission. Illinois, which launched its adult-use marijuana program on Jan. 1, sold nearly $40 million of legal marijuana in January alone.

Colorado, which opened its first legal pot shop in 2014, had nearly $1.75 billion in cannabis sales last year.

What would a legal market in New Jersey look like? What stands in the way of a voter-approved ballot referendum in November? How will the the state’s medical marijuana program be affected?

And then there’s hemp. Estimates from Vote Hemp show a total retail value of hemp products in the U.S. in 2017 was $820 million. Will hemp — the plant used to make CBD — be a cash crop for the Garden State?

These and many other questions will be addressed by New Jersey’s cannabis industry leaders at the NJ Cannabis Insider Live: The Road to Legalization conference presented by Curaleaf NJ.

The all-day event, which starts at 10:30 a.m. at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison, also packs in serious networking opportunities, an exhibitors vendor, lunch and a happy hour. Tickets are currently on sale, including group rates; click here for details.

Sponsored by Curaleaf NJ, Supreme Security Systems, Ansell, Grimm & Aaron and HillviewMed, the conference is the fourth large-scale event NJ Cannabis Insider has produced.

Here’s the lineup of speakers and panels:

Keynote speakers

Devra Karlebach, CEO of Green Thumb Technologies (GTI) New Jersey

Karlebach not only serves as the CEO of GTI-NJ, a subsidiary of the multi-state cannabis company, Green Thumb Industries (GTI), she’s CEO of technology company, Glyphic. GTI-NJ was among the six multi-state operators to receive a permit for medical cannabis operations in New Jersey last year. She was listed among the 20 people, places and things to watch in 2020 by NJ Cannabis Insider.

Jeff Brown, head of the state Medicinal Marijuana Program

Brown is the assistant commissioner in charge of oversight of the Department of Health’s Medicinal Marijuana Program during Gov. Phil Murphy’s first term. He previously served as the vice president of policy for the Hospital Alliance of New Jersey, and as executive director of QI Collaborative at the NJ Health Care Quality Institute.

Panel: Update on the Garden State market

The latest primer on what’s happening with the recent Request for Applications, licenses, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, the November ballot referendum and everything in between.

Bill Caruso, attorney at Archer Law

Caruso, the former executive director of the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office and long-time chief of staff to former U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, is a prominent fixture in the effort to legalize and regulate the cannabis industry in New Jersey. Caruso, an attorney with Archer Law and a regular guest on Chasing News, also represents New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform, and has advocated for expungements and patient access to medical marijuana.

Arlene Quiñones Perez, attorney at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin

Quiñones Perez, a partner at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin, previously served as general counsel to the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters. Before the NRCC, she was an associate with Kroll Heineman Carton, LLC, where she focused on labor law, securities fraud, and election law. She is also the vice president of the northern region for the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, and has been featured in the Hispanic Executive Magazine and listed by PoliticsNJ on the 40 Under 40 Power List.

Fruqan Mouzon

Fruqan Mouzon, attorney at McElory, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter

Mouzon is Of Counsel and chair of the McElory, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter’s cannabis practice group. He previously served as general counsel for the New Jersey State Senate Majority Office where he provided advice on constitutional, procedural and other legal or ethical issues, and helped develop strategic legislative plans and aided in drafting legislation.

Lynn Nowak, lobbyist at Porzio Governmental Affairs

Nowak serves as the co-chair of Porzio Governmental Affairs’ Cannabis Task Force and regularly monitors cannabis related legislation in New Jersey and lobbies on behalf of clients. The task force leverages complementary resources from Porzio, Bromberg & Newman — PGA’s parent company, to provide regulatory, legal and business services to cannabis clients.

Panel: Ins and outs of licensing

Get a rundown from professionals on the nitty-gritty, granular details on the Department of Health’s Request for Applications round, the licensing process and much more.

Scottie Gordon, vice president of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs at Curaleaf

Prior to joining Curaleaf (headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts) in April 2019, Gordon was chief operating officer of Ermont, the seventh vertically integrated medical marijuana facility to open in Massachusetts. In addition to overseeing a 36,000-square-foot cultivation, production and retail facility that operated seven days a week, she managed all department heads to ensure production schedules and sales forecasts were met and that all human and capital resources were properly allocated to maximize growth. Her background as an attorney was a critical component in her role at Ermont when it came to regulatory compliance, licensing, risk management, corporate and physical security, cash management, and inventory control

Josh Bauchner, attorney at Ansell Grimm & Aaron

Bauchner is a partner with Ansell Grimm & Aaron, co-chair of the litigation department, head of the cannabis law practice group and a member of the community association law and bankruptcy practice groups. He also represents condominium and cooperative boards of management, is a licensed Real Estate Instructor in the State of New York, and teaches a course for real estate sales professionals.

Lisa Gora, attorney at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer

Gora is an associate in the Corporate, Health Law and Cannabis Law teams at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer. She currently serves as a vice chair on the medical staff, credentialing and peer review practice of the American Health Lawyers Association and on the board of the health and hospital law section of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Eric Reiser, attorney at LoFaro & Reiser

Reiser is a partner at LoFaro & Reiser and the chair of the firm’s cannabis law group. He’s been recognized as a rising star in business litigation by New Jersey Super Lawyers in 2016-2018, and inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America publication in 2018.

Panel: NIMBY (Not in my backyard) or Welcome to town?

Mayors, municipal officials and professionals weigh in on how to navigate home rule, local zoning and public outreach.

Chirali Patel, attorney at Carella, Byrne, Cecchi, Brody & Agnello

Patel serves as counsel at Carella, Byrne, Cecchi, Brody & Agnello. She’s previously served as the assistant county counsel for Bergen County, as assistant corporation counsel for Hoboken and as assistant municipal prosecutor for Hoboken.

Colleen Mahr, mayor of Fanwood

Mahr is the mayor of Fanwood, the immediate past president of the N.J. League of Municipalities and the co-chair of the Raritan Valley Line Mayors Alliance.

Mike McQueeny, attorney at Genova Burns

McQueeny is counsel at Genova Burns and co-chair of the firm’s cannabis practice and frequently advises clients on all aspects of the legal cannabis and CBD industry. In 2018, he was selected as a fellow of Lead New Jersey, an organization focused on leadership development in the Garden State.

Stacey D. Udell, of HBK Valuation Group

Udell is the director of valuation, litigation and forensics for the Mid-Atlantic Region of HBK Valuation Group, and has more than 20 years experience in business valuation, forensic accounting, economic damages, and litigation support services. She’s a core member of HBK’s Cannabis Industry Group and has helped cannabis entities develop strategies to maximize the value of their firms.

Panel: Medical cannabis — The next frontier

Medical professionals discuss the state of cannabis research and the forces shaping it.

Jackie Cornell, of 1906

Cornell most recently served as the principal deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health before joining the private sector last year. In her current role with 1906 edibles, Cornell serves as the chief of health and policy innovations for the cannabis company, where she focuses on corporate responsibility and social justice advocacy. Cornell also previously served as the director of development and external affairs at New Jersey Policy Perspective, as senior director of Federal Relations and Regulatory Affairs at the New Jersey Hospital Association. During his last term, President Barack Obama appointed her as regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. David Nathan of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation

Nathan, a psychiatrist, is the founder of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation and a founding committee member of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform. He’s served as the director of continuing medical education for Penn Medicine Princeton Health since 2008 and as the director of professional education for Princeton House Behavioral Health since 1999.

Dr. Monica Taing, medical science liaison for 4Front Advisors

Taing is a clinical cannabis consultant and the first pharmacist appointed to the board of directors for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. She currently serves as the medical science liaison for 4Front Advisors, the national director of research and clinical education for Minorities for Medical Marijuana, and as a clinical consultant specialist for the Northeast/Caribbean AIDS Education Training Center.

Sheila Mints

Sheila Mints of Capehart Scatchard – NJCI

Sheila Mints, attorney at Capehart Scatchard

Mints is chair of Healthcare Practice and chair of Cannabis Law Practice at Capehart Scatchard. Her experience in healthcare transactional matters includes shareholder and employment agreements and purchases and sales of medical practices. As chair of the firm’s Cannabis Law Group, Mints counsels businesses, public entities, and entrepreneurs interested in entering the multifaceted cannabis market.

Panel: Hemp — Understanding N.J.’s new cash crop

Cannabis may be in limbo until November, but it’s full speed ahead for hemp in New Jersey. Learn about the regulations, licensing process and players shaping the industry.

Joseph Zoltowski, director of the state Division of Plant Industry

Zoltowski has served as the director of the Division of Plant Industry at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture since 2015. He previously worked as a supervising entomologist for the Gypsy Moth, Nursery Inspection and CAPS survey programs and served as chief for the Bureau of Plant Pest and Disease Control for 12 years.

Douglas Fisher, state secretary of agriculture

Fisher was first appointed secretary of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture by Gov. Jon Corzine on Feb. 10, 2009, serving in the position over the next decade and two more governors. Prior to his appointment, he served in the General Assembly. Other roles in which he’s served include as treasurer of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, president of Food Export-Northeast, and president of the Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

Jennifer Cabrera, attorney at Vicente Sederberg

Cabrera serves as counsel at Vicente Sederberg and co-manages the firm’s New York office. In this role, she helps clients with regulatory and commercial matters relating to cannabis and hemp with a focus on New York and New Jersey markets. Before joining Vicente Sederberg, she managed a boutique law firm.

Panel: CBD — Navigating this exploding market

From knowing the current regulations — and the lack of — to what it takes to launch a viable CBD company.

Ken VandeVrede, founder and CEO of HillviewMed

VandeVrede is the founder and CEO of the cannabis company, HillviewMed, and previously served as the COO of the West Coast cannabis company, TerraTech. He also co-founded and served as the president of Edible Garden, which produces local and sustainably grown hydroponic produce, and as president of Gro-Rite, a family-owned greenhouse and garden center.

Dan McKillop, attorney at Scarinci Hollenbeck

McKillop, who has more than 15 years experience representing corporate and individual clients in complex environmental litigations and regulator proceedings, helms Scarinci Hollenbeck’s cannabis law practice group. He’s also served on a variety of committees and boards related to the environmental legal field, including the New Jersey Commerce and Industry Association’s Environmental Business Council steering committee, and as the current vice chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association Environmental Law Section.

Amanda Terpstra, founder of Best Büds

Terpstra is founder and lead for research & development, business management and operations of the CBD e-commerce start-up Best Büds. She manages compliance and vetting of all vendors and product lines, including third-party lab verification review.

Panel: Insuring your canna-business

Understanding the risks and how to safeguard your property and people.

Karen Adamsbaum of John Morgan McLachlan Agency

Adamsbaum serves as an insurance broker at John Morgan McLachlan Insurance and a member of the board of Metropolitan Builders & Contractors Association of NJ. She previously served as operations executive and CFO of Pinnacle Companies.

Holly DeLorenzo, of Hardenbergh Insurance Group

DeLorenzo is an insurance broker at Hardenbergh Insurance Group, where she focuses on business development for cannabis, health care and the construction industries.

Max Meade, of Brown & Brown.

Meade serves as an insurance advisor at Brown & Brown Insurance where he focuses on property, casualty, life and health insurance.

Panel: N.J.’s Commitment to Diversity — Moving from conversation to action

Everyone talks about inclusivity and diversity in the cannabis industry, but this panel will weigh in with how to ensure there’s follow through from the industry and regulator.

Leo Bridgewater, national director of EdifyPAC

Bridgewater is a mainstay of the New Jersey cannabis space and a veteran who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army specialist. After returning home, Bridgewater struggled with PTSD and began his advocacy for veteran access to cannabis after several of his friends with PTSD took their own lives. As part of the work he and others accomplished, PTSD was added to the list of qualifying conditions under the state’s Medicinal Marijuana Program. Bridgewater has continued to work and advocate in the cannabis space as the national director for veterans outreach for Minorities for Medical Marijuana, the national director of EdifyPAC, and the co-founder of Leaf Launch.

Imani Dawson, of MJM Strategy

Dawson serves as the vice president and managing partner of MJM Strategy, a minority-led strategic consulting group for the cannabis industry, as the founder and president for Tribe Called Curl Media and as communications director for Minorities for Medical Marijuana. Dawson previously served as press secretary for the NYC Office of the Public Advocate.

Jessica F. Gonzalez attorney at Bressler Amery & Ross

Gonzalez serves as a cannabis and intellectual property attorney at Bressler Amery & Ross, as outside general counsel for Minorities for Medical Marijuana, and sits on the board of advisors for QA Canna, a cannabis quality assurance company. Before joining Bressler, she was a co-founding partner at MGA Law PC, a boutique business law firm with a special focus on cannabis. Gonzalez was also recently selected as a 2020 fellow for the New Jersey Leaders Council.

Roz McCarthy, founder/CEO of Minorities for Medical Marijuana

In 2017, McCarthy was recognized by High Times Magazine as one of the top 100 influential people in cannabis. M4MM is a nonprofit organization providing advocacy, education, training, and outreach to underserved communities. For the past two consecutive years, M4MM has been recognized with the Cannabis Industry Organization of the Year Award.

Panel: Banking on it

Deposits, financing, payroll compliance and the myriad of other challenges facing cannabis businesses.

Harry Carpenter

Harry Carpenter, of Citrin Cooperman

Carpenter is a CPA and a partner at Citrin Cooperman with more than 20 years of experience. He serves as the New Jersey practice leader for the firm’s cannabis advisory services practice.

Teresa Kearney

Teresa Kearney, of Panacea Payroll

Kearney is the sales director of Panacea Payroll, located west of Philadelphia. Panacea Payroll is solely focused on providing payroll, HR and timekeeping services to the cannabis and hemp industries in all 50 states.


The NJ Cannabis Insider Live: Road to Legalization conference is brought to you by our partners: Archer Law, Genova Burns, Scarnici Hollenbeck, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, Capehart Scatchard, 1906, HBK, Citrin Cooperman, John Morgan McLachlan Agency, Hardenbergh Insurance Group, Panacea Payroll and Vicente Sederberg.

Tickets to the March 10 event are available here.

NJ Cannabis Insider is a weekly subscriber-based newsletter produced by NJ Advance Media, which also publishes NJ.com, The Star-Ledger and other affiliated papers.

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