Oct 1, 2020
Oct 6, 2020
Oct 8, 2020
Oct 13, 2020
Oct 15, 2020
Oct 20, 2020
Oct 22, 2020
Oct 27, 2020
Oct 29, 2020

All Sessions in PST time zone

Conference Opening: Social Equity and Racial Justice

The history of cannabis is riddled with institutional bias and political agendas, as cannabis and its surrounding culture were maligned as socially counterproductive. Culminating in the drug war and the draconian criminal laws that stemmed therefrom (including the 1994 Crime Bill), these institutional biases have had lasting effects, from miscarriages of criminal justice for which people are still (and still being) incarcerated, to systemic disadvantages that prevent these communities from actively participating in what has become a multi-billion dollar industry. One of the primary policy directives in implementing a cannabis regulatory regime is to address the long-standing problems caused by the failed drug war. Join us for an in-depth discussion covering not just the history and legacy of criminal injustice of the drug war but also the future of equity and what inclusion will mean as a goal of the cannabis economic marketplace.

INCBA Executive Committee, Chris Davis
Join San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin for a discussion of criminal justice and a deeper dive into the dynamics between prosecutors and the police that enforce the laws. Setting the stage for a day chalk-full of discussions on racial justice and social equity, DA Boudin will speak on his experience as both a public defender and a prosecutor, how to navigate the criminal justice system, the importance of accountability, and the structural aspects of law enforcement that make change so difficult. Additionally, as San Francisco moves forward with cannabis regulation, DA Boudin will discuss how enforcement in this industry is changing, and how the shift from prohibition to regulation changes the role and the job of law enforcement officers across the board, from street-level cops to the ones in charge of prosecutorial decision making.

Chesa Boudin, District Attorney, City of San Francisco

US Citizens have been subject to severe criminal penalties for non-violent cannabis offenses since the drug war of the 80’s, leading to the 1994 Crime Bill, which instituted federal mandatory minimums for these low-level offenses. While these mandatory minimums have been rolled back to (slightly) less draconian measures in the past few years, we have scores of young, often black or brown men, sitting in prison serving out sentences to which they would never have been subjected under our current laws. States often face the same or a similar situation, with many states not only reducing criminal penalties, but legalizing cannabis and regulating highly functional markets that make certain individuals billions of dollars. In response, both the federal and many state governments have considered or have passed mass expungement initiatives or other means of examining specific cases for early release. But those programs are not without problems. Join us for a discussion of the history of the drug war and the criminal injustice precipitated by the war on drugs and racial animus in the United States.

Mikelina Belaineh, Director, Criminal Justice Law & Policy, Last Prisoner Project
Margeaux Bruner, Director, Compliance & Diversity, Red, White & Bloom
John Hudak, Senior Fellow & Deputy Director, The Brookings Institution.
Yvette McDowell, Founder, Ultimate Life Transformation

What happens when a group of cannabis legalization advocates use their activism to make real change for those most affected by the war on drugs? Progress. The Last Prisoner Project has its hands in many projects including a mission to release all prisoners of the war on drugs. LPP conducts research, publishes, works with lawmakers on policy change, and engages in impact litigation to work toward prisoner release through clemency initiatives, compassionate release programs, and client advocacy. Join founder Steve DeAngelo and LPP constituent Evelyn LaChepple for a discussion on how the efforts of LPP have moved these cases forward, and the impact these initiatives can have on an individual’s life victimized by the war on drugs.

You can learn more about LPP here.

Steve DeAngelo, Chairman Emeritus, Harborside Inc.
Evelyn LaChapelle, Community Manager, Vertosa

Examine how states and localities are trying to carve out a piece of the economic upside for individuals from these communities of color. From policy to lawmaking to licensing, and the ultimate business environment in which these equity applicants operate, existing equity programs need additional support at every level. But many of these programs are being implemented and require solutions that are crafted on the fly, and that reflect the realities of the communities that need the most help. Take a look at the most successful social equity and racial justice programs from around the country. Moderated by Shay Gilmore, an attorney expert in California social equity programs, this in-depth discussion of the development of these programs, from the federal, state, and local implementation perspectives, will bring thought leaders together for a critical look at these critical programs. Progress is being made, but much is left to be done. From San Francisco to Illinois and other jurisdictions across the country, join this important conversation about and push towards social equity in cannabis.

Shay Aaron Gilmore, Attorney, The Law Office of Shay Aaron Gilmore
Toi Hutchinson, Senior Advisor for Cannabis Control, State of Illinois
Wanda James, Co-Founder & CEO, Simply Pure
Shanita Penny, Founder & CEO, Budding Solutions
Marisa Rodriguez, Director, Office of Cannabis, City & County of San Francisco
Amber Littlejohn, Policy Attorney, MCBA 
Wanda James, Co-Founder & CEO, Simply Pure
Roz McCarthy, Founder/CEO, Minorities for Medical Marijuana
Our past often informs our future, and moving forward sometimes requires changes to past practices.  It has been said that real social equity in the cannabis industry can only be achieved in conjunction with true criminal justice reform.  But what does that reform look like, and are existing equity programs doing enough to move the needle?  While restorative justice and social equity programs have been part of the national, state, and local conversations, are we headed in the right direction? Join our panel of industry innovators to take a closer look at the types of changes to our criminal justice system that are necessary to create truly meaningful social equity programs in the cannabis industry.

Roz McCarthy, Founder/CEO, Minorities for Medical Marijuana
Cat Packer, Executive Director, Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation
Maritza Perez, Director, Office of National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance
Shaleen Title, Commissioner, Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission
Khurshid Khoja, Chairman, Board of Directors, National Cannabis Industry Association

Angela White & Liz Jackson, Success Centers SF

Networking event hosted by Diversity Committee

All Sessions in PST time zone

The Business of Cannabis: Serving Clients Through Growth

Networking hosted by the Governing Board of INCBA

The modern era of cannabis reform in the United States dates back to 1996, when California’s voters approved Proposition 215, the first successful statewide medical marijuana ballot initiative. That victory was the first to prove that the nascent drug policy reform movement could play ball in the big leagues of American politics – and it set the stage for future victories not just on cannabis reform but other areas of drug policy as well.

Understanding the debates over tactics, strategies and values that shaped both that victory and the many that followed – on medical marijuana, decriminalization and legalization, as well as drug sentencing and asset forfeiture reform – is important for today’s reformers. Cannabis reform was, for many of the key participants, part and parcel of a broader movement for drug policy reform grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. That grounding remains important even as cannabis legalization advances rapidly, not least as new opportunities arise for decriminalizing possession of all drugs and beginning to regulate MDMA and psychedelics, and as new challenges emerge with the demonization of vaping and the promotion of misinformation and bans targeted at e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction generally.

Ethan Nadelmann, Founder & Former Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance

Half a decade ago, money began to flow into the cannabis industry on the heels of first mover momentum and pie-in-the-sky possibilities for a relatively lightly populated market. As we make our way through 2020, we are facing what could be the largest drop in market valuations since the great depression. Investors have begun to more closely examine where their money is going, and how they can ensure returns that fall in line with expectations. With that comes increased parameters, which include, among other things, a fundamental shift from equity financing to debt, to ensure some downside protection for investors. Join us to take a look at how the changing landscape has changed the identity of money flowing into the industry.

Samantha Gleit, Partner, Feuerstein Kulick LLP
Tahira Rehmatullah, President, T3 Ventures
Nicholas Vita, CEO, Columbia Care

Travis Moyer, Vice President Legal, Grassroots Companies
Just a year ago, we saw a slew of M&A activity that focused on building the pieces of a national cannabis conglomerate – ostensibly with the intent to be acquired by an existing entity looking to make a splash in the cannabis industry. With the Covid downturn, many of the MSOs racing to become the largest US company, now faced fundamental reorganizations. Take a look at the new face of M&A – smaller deals, spinoffs, reorganizations, and picking up the pieces that have been cleaved from the MSO operators.

Chris Davis

David Feldman, Partner, Hiller PC
Matthew Kittay, Partner, National Co-Chair M&A Team, Fox Rothschild
Emily Paxhia, Managing Director, Poseidon Asset Management
Growth requires predictability, and predictability requires a solid and dependable supply chain. The federal prohibition on cannabis has siloed the US plant-touching supply chains on a state-by-state basis, while equipment and hardware supply chains often span the globe. With the onset of Covid, we have predictably seen the usually-consistent input of hardware from china take a hit, but have also experienced changes to our own domestic supply chain for flower and other high-THC products. Take a look at how to shore up those international supply chain needs, the potential of interstate commerce under state-implemented Memoranda of Understanding, and the future of supply chain consistency in a post-legalized world.

Nicole Howell, Principal, Clark Howell

Erin Alexander, Associate General Counsel, Cresco Labs
Matthew Leeth, VP, Legal Affairs, Jushi Holdings
Jeremy Unruh, Senior Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for PharmaCann Inc
All Sessions in PST time zone

The Business of Cannabis: Investor Confidence

We’ve all seen what will be the first wave of the cannabis sector in the United States. The US cannabis sector saw record investment in legacy and start up companies and epic acquisitions and investment for growth. We even experienced cannabis IPOs and cannabis companies appearing in public markets in the United States and Canada. From that boom we soon saw troubled management teams, failure to meet projections, and (potentially unforeseen) obstacles to remaining in the regulated markets. Even with speculation as to the reasons why, many are still asking where companies fall off the track and investors are looking for explanations of what went wrong? In order to right the train, management teams have to go back to basics–building healthy infrastructure, setting realistic expectations, and re-establishing investor and market confidence. This track will look at some high profile early successes that turned sour, and the presenters will discuss how we can prepare our clients for success by setting the right tone at the top.

Track Chairs:
Sara Presler, Attorney & Consultant, Presler Consulting LLC
Kim Simms, Board Member, San Diego Leadership Alliance
Join Shabnam Malek for an overview of the history, founding, and mission of INCBA. 10 minutes.

Michael Drumke – a 20 minute presentation.
Join ABA Board of Governors and INCBA Advisory Board Member Michael Drumke for a 20,000 foot view of the intersection of the Cannabis Industry and Legal Practice. What has long been seen as incongruent industries – legal practitioners and cannabis business interests – began to overlap when California legalized medical Marijuana via prop 215 1996. At the beginning, few attorneys were willing to risk professional discipline and federal criminal charges to aid the businesses interests of individuals attempting to bring medicine to patients. In the ensuing 25 years, the industry grew, federal enforcement of criminal law shifted, and state-level ethics requirements have begun to allow for legal practice in this area. But the stigma lingers – and many traditional practices continue to refuse to enter the space because of the unseen potential pitfalls in the complex legal landscape.

Hear from a member of the board of governors of the oldest and most powerful professional association of attorneys in the united states on how the more traditional side of the ABA views practice in cannabis industry, what the ABA is doing to support its most agile members that have been willing to wade into this exciting and ever-changing area of law, and how cannabis has become one of the most challenging, interesting, and stimulating industries in which to practice law.

Amy McDougal – a 20 minute presentation
Amy McDougal is an INCBA Board of Directors Member, and Chairs the INCBA Ethics Committee. The Model Rules, and indeed the state level ethics rules of every state in the Union, are peppered with inconsistencies on how an attorney must conduct themselves to avoid professional discipline in representing cannabis industry market participants. The INCBA Ethics Committee works hard to identify jurisdictions that have legislatively enacted regulatory regimens, yet prohibit attorneys from aiding in the implementation of these regulatory structures through their ethics rules. Amy will speak about the INCBA’s work, and how we, as a legal profession, can push for greater protections for our right to practice law, greater protections for the attorney client privilege, and greater protections for our Clients’ right to counsel so that they may continue to stamp out illicit markets though robust economic competition.

Finally, join all the speakers from earlier for a three person Q&A moderated by Chris Davis.
Join us for a discussion of the most important aspects of corporate governance, and how we can learn from some of the high profile failures in the industry. By examining how the priorities and values of a company must evolve to reflect the company’s current hurdles, learn how the values and governance that make a small entrepreneurial business thrive can destroy a larger, more established company. Join us for a discussion on how these values must evolve with the company, and how to make sure that that tone at the top reflects the most pressing market pressures.

Chris Davis, Executive Director, INCBA

Amy McDougal, President & CEO, CLEAResources LLC
Nanette Heide, Partner, Duane Morris
Regina Unegovsky, Senior Attorney, Regal Tax & Law Group
Jeffrey Merk, Partner, Aird & Berlis LLP
What happens when market conditions and business owners cause a change in the company’s leadership team or corporate strategies? Learn from seasoned professionals that have “been there, done that” to help guide your clients through important transitions that are motivated by legal necessity, changes to law or rules, restructuring demands, shifts in corporate culture, compliance issues, and market forces. Cannabis companies at every level experience HR challenges due to the ever changing regulations and requirements in the cannabis industry. When the company takes good care of the people, the people take good care of the company and developing a sound HR policy sets a company up for success. Attend this panel and you’ll be more prepared to address the most important resource we have in the cannabis industry: human capital.

Lauren Rudick, Partner, Hiller PC
Jennifer Briggs Fisher, Partner, Goodwin
Brandon Wyatt, Principal, Wyatt Legal & Consulting
Lorenzo Lisi, Partner, Aird & Berlis LLP
Brandon Wyatt, Principal, Wyatt Legal & Consulting
A conversation with Sarah Loya and Lauren Linder of Parallel led by Gaynell Rogers of Treehouse Global Ventures

In the flurry of the past few years we’ve seen extraordinary growth in the cannabis sector – much of which has to do with a tidal wave of legalization across the nation. In the blink of any eye, many of us went from representing mom and pop legacy companies in the state of California to multi-state operators in acquisition streaks, aiding clients in massive fundraising, and opening new markets beyond recognized horizons. Perhaps the most unique position in legal practice has been the role of in-house counsel at a cannabis company. Join Gaynell Rogers, from Treehouse Global Ventures, in her conversation with Sarah Loya, Chief Legal Counsel at Parallel, and Lauren Linder, Deputy General Counsel at Parallel, discussing the role of in-house counsel in the cannabis industry, the experience of taking a company through several changes and much growth over the past few years, the top concerns and issues facing in-house counsel in this industry, and how the industry can better serve women executives and attorneys as it continues to grow and provide opportunities.

Lauren Linder, Deputy General Counsel, Parallel.
Sarah Loya, General Counsel, Parallel
Gaynell Rogers, Founder/Managing Partner, Treehouse Global Ventures
All Sessions in PST time zone


Cannabis has always occupied a unique place in our history, and the industry has a future like none other. With demand escalating, continuing research into medical applications, and social pressure mounting, jurisdictions around the world are decriminalizing, legalizing, taxing, and regulating this growing industry. Importantly, what’s driving these changes differ jurisdiction to jurisdiction and implementation is equally as diverse– from judicial mandate to referendum to legislative action — each state, country, and culture has a unique approach. This track provides history context, examines where we are now, and looks at future development.

Track Chairs:
Bob Hoban, Founder & President, Hoban Law Group
Sam Kamin, Vicente Sederberg Professor of Marjuana Law & Policy, University of Denver

What happens when a movement becomes an industry? We’ll identify the spectrum of legalization – the many forms, and reasons that lead to commercial, regulated marijuana and industrial hemp industries around the world. While there are advantages and disadvantages to different regulatory frameworks, ultimately there are four distinct policy lanes that serve as the common denominator for supply chain and global commerce. We’ll cover where the power to regulate/enforce gets vested, and through which agency/agencies, how cannabis becomes legalized: whether through legislation, ballot measures, or litigation, and the COVID Impact: what an “essential” designation means for cannabis as a driver of international economic development.

Bob Hoban, Founder & President, Hoban Law Group

What happens when a movement becomes an industry? We’ll identify the spectrum of legalization – the many forms, and reasons that lead to commercial, regulated marijuana and industrial hemp industries around the world. While there are advantages and disadvantages to different regulatory frameworks, ultimately there are four distinct policy lanes that serve as the common denominator for supply chain and global commerce. We’ll cover where the power to regulate/enforce gets vested, and through which agency/agencies, how cannabis becomes legalized: whether through legislation, ballot measures, or litigation, and the COVID Impact: what an  “essential” designation means for cannabis as a driver of international economic development.

Tamar Todd, Legal Director, New Approach PAC

Steve Fox, President, VS Strategies, Vicente Sederberg
Carlos Malacara, Trademarks & Litigation Attorney, Panamericana De Patentes Y Marcas
Sandra Gogal, Partner, Miller Thomson

Access is the most meaningful feature on the purchaser side of any cannabis regulatory regime. “How do I get what I need?” Here in the US, cannabis was originally legalized under the auspices of medical access that was necessary for patients seeking medicine for a variety of ailments. Over the years, the definition of access has evolved to the expectation of consumer choice, brand recognition, and access to the most innovative set of products that have hit global shelves in a generation. So, the question remains – what is meaningful access? Is meaningful access a functional medical market, as envisioned in the US, that stands side by side with the adult use markets in a single location. Abroad, some medical markets require traditional prescription and pharmaceutical grade products, while others allow open markets with no testing and low public health standards. What does each of these systems mean for access? Join us for a discussion on what meaningful access means now and into the future.

Chris Davis

Constantin von der Groeben, Managing Director, Demecan

Rob Bonta, AssemblyMember, State of California
David Mangone, Director of Policy, The Liaison Group
Deepak Anand, CEO, Materia
Americans for Safe Access has proffered a solution to consolidate regulatory authority for medical cannabis in a single federal agency, obviating the need for myriad different federal agencies all overseeing a single product class. The Craft Cannabis Alliance has proffered a solution that would allow for interstate commerce, that may eventually lead to the harmonization of state level regulations. Both on the state and federal level, disparate regulations make compliance, efficient commerce, and public health all more complex than they would be under a consolidated and harmonized system. But, on the other hand, a single system does not leave room for local policy and values, and would undermine the laboratories of legal development. Is a unified system the future we are hoping for? What will it look like? And how do we get there?

Saphira Galoob, Principal & CEO, The Liaison Group

Michael Bronstein, Co-Founder & Lead Consultant, ATACH
Steph Sherer, Executive Director, Americans for Safe Access
Michael Bronstein, Co-Founder & Lead Consultant, ATACH

All Sessions in PST time zone


The historic designation of cannabis as a restricted substance by the UN under the Single Convention on Narcotics has, from the middle of the 20th century until recently, preclude commercial international cannabis trade. But with renewed interest in the hemp industry and the popularity of CBD products, global trade is the future. And it’s not just CBD and hemp as the cannabis plant keeps delivering the discovery of novel cannabinoids and researchers and the private sector continue to identify the health benefits of the psychoactive properties of cannabis and explore other cannabinoids and their impact on health outcomes and commercial products. This track explores the cross border hemp trade and the future of THC and non-THC cannabinoids in a global marketplace.

Track Chairs:
Kai-Friedrich Niermann, Lawyer, KFN+
Pavel Pachta on Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its Inter Se Modification
Domestic regulatory progress is required to create vibrant cannabis markets – but what about our international obligations and running afoul of our treaty obligations. The UN Single Convention on Narcotics governs permissible domestic regulation, and certain counties, like Canada, have breached those obligations by implementing an adult use market. Here in the US – our own government argues we remain compliant because the federal government continues to prohibit cannabis – while the rest of the world recognizes we fell out of compliance as soon as Washington State passed the first adult use regime in the US.

But what are the consequences of non-compliance, and how can we fix it? Enter Pavel Pachta – with decades of experience with the International Narcotics Control Board, hear from one of the premier experts in the world on the process of inter-se modification – whereby a treaty regime is collectively adjusted by like-minded States.
Hemp is making its way around the world. As the industrial component of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, hemp has benefited from the lower set of regulatory structures as compared to psychoactive cannabis. THe import and export of hemp to and from the European Union has become common, and the CBD markets are maturing. Take a look at the legal hemp trade, how biomass is moving, and what import and retail of cbd looks like around the world.

Kai-Friedrich Niermann, Lawyer, KFN+

Bob Hoban, Founder & President, Hoban Law Group
Eveline van Keymeulen, Head of Life Science Regulatory Practice, Allen & Overy
David Wenger, General Counsel & Chief Strategy Officer, Asia Horizon
Daniel Kruse, Hemp Entrepreneur and President, EIHA
This panel will reflect on the future trade of THC products and how such trade can function without between countries, above and beyond the existing Single Convention. We see that besides Canada and Uruguay, other countries are on the starting blocks to fundamentally change their cannabis policies. Apart from the USA, next year’s change of cannabis policy could include Germany, as there are federal elections and a new government will be highly likely. Luxembourg has already decided on legalization and New Zealand is holding a referendum on it in November this year. Not in every case the local demand will be covered by local cultivation. Domestic cultivation is not even sensible from an environmental point of view, as too much energy is consumed in northern regions. In Germany alone, the demand for dried flowers from a legal and regulated export market is estimated with 500-600 tons. If new and modern products like Vape-Pens, Edibles and Beverages are developed, some countries and regions already have a know-how advantage which predestines them for the export of the products. This session will look at how an international supply chain for recreational cannabis products can be designed and how the enormous demand for products from legal markets can be satisfied. What conditions need to be created at the level of international law to make global trade possible? And what about import duties, safety standards and Intellectual Property?

Jason Moscovici, Partner, Lawyer and Biochemist, Robic LLP, Canada

Kai-Friedrich Niermann, KFN, Germany
Simon Rowell, Innovation Liberation Front, New Zealand
John Walsh, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), director for Drug Policy and the Andes
Daniel Podesta, Attorney, Clarke Modet, Uruguay
Simon Rowell, Founder, Innovation Liberation Front

Join Dr. Jay Mitra and the INCBA International Committee for a discussion of the lesser known emerging markets around the world, including the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.

Dr. Jayashree Mitra

Amitavo Mitra, PhD, Associate Partner, Saikrishna & Associates

Ntlatlapa Mosae, Partner, Sello-Mafatle Attorneys
Menahem “Chuck” Kanafi

All Sessions in PST time zone


Cannabis sativa L. is a species of plant that forms the basis for many 21st century consumer products. While, of course, psychoactive cannabis makes up what most envision when they hear “The Cannabis Industry,” the hemp market, is, in fact, a fundamental part of the American identity. And as of December 2018, the federal government has deemed hemp legal and devised a definition that pulls the hemp plant out of the Control Substances Act altogether. Despite its federally legal status, several federal agencies have jurisdiction over many aspects of the hemp plant, goods made with hemp or hemp derivatives, and the hemp industry. This track explores the USDA’s regulatory authority and [draft] regulations, the impact of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, known as the Farm Bill on hemp cultivation in the United States, and the outcomes of legalization on the hemp industry.

Track Chairs:
Shawn Hauser, Partner, Chair of the Hemp and Cannabinoids Practice Group, Vicente Sederberg
Rod Kight, Attorney, Kight Law

11:15 am Minutes – Mai Dihn/Bill Richmond
11:30 am Minutes – Ariel Clark/Tina Braitwhite

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, states either have to create their own hemp programs, or send their citizens to the federal government for regulation under the USDA. Take a look at the minimum federal standards, and how states are crafting their own rules to regulate their own hemp markets. What makes a program more competitive, more efficient, or more profitable? What changes the decision when a company is determining where it should focus their operations? Learn from the experts to see where you should direct your clients to succeed in the US hemp market.

Rod Kight, Attorney, Kight Law

Frank Robison, Attorney at Law – U.S. Customs Broker, Robison Law LLC
Andrea Steel, Director, Coats Rose
Marne Coit, Professor, NC State University
With the 2018 Farm Bill well under our belts, and implementation of the USDA Rules well underway, let’s take a look at how the world is changing under the new regime. The sunset of the old administrative regimes left over from the 2014 Farm Bill and the rise of the 2018 Farm Bill regulations have created a new way to navigate the hemp industry. Join us to take a look at the terrain ahead.

Shawn Hauser, Partner, Chair of the Hemp and Cannabinoids Practice Group, Vicente Sederberg

Garrett Graff, Managing Attorney, Hoban Law Group
Mitzi Vaughn, Attorney, Karr Tuttle Campbell
Tami Wahl, Government Affairs Advisor – Public Policy

All Sessions in PST time zone


While marijuana is still unlawful at the federal level, each state with a legal regime plays a primary role in regulating the cannabis industry, including that the states are responsible for issuing licenses. Applications and the qualifications states have in place vary from state to state, often requiring a combination of state and local involvement, and the success and speed of the process and the satisfaction with the outcomes by stakeholders is just as varied. This process often requires guidance from counsel, from preparing applicants and completing applications to communicating with state and local agencies to handling appeals and disputes along the way, it is often left to lawyers to navigate these new processes where even lawmakers and agencies lack all of the answers. This track provides updates on the process in various states and provides discussion and learning takeaways from counsel who have dealt with rejections, appeals, and disputes.

Track Chairs:
David Ruskin, Partner, Horwood, Marcus & Berk
Chelsie Spencer, Principal Cannabis & Hemp Attorney, Ritter Spencer

Lindsay Robinson will interview a federal legislator and discuss what is happening in the U.S. Congress regarding legalization and related cannabis issues

Lindsay Robinson, Executive Director, California Cannabis Industry Association

In the state-by-state cannabis regulatory system in the United States, there is no standard “license” application or set of qualification standards. Quite the contrary — everything differs from state to state, from the number of licenses available to the applicable minimum qualifications, to the fees and disclosure obligations. This panel will present the prevailing — or most commonly seen — issues faced by applicants and lawmakers in establishing and meeting licensing standards and how businesses (new and legacy) are able to meet them and increase their chances of license application success. Attendees will leave with an understanding of the best practices employed by lawyers and consultants in guiding businesses through these complicated applications, in particular how to assist one client in securing licenses in multiple states with varying qualification standards.

David Ruskin, Partner, Horwood, Marcus & Berk
Chanda Macias, CEO, Ilera Holistic
Scheril Murray Powell, Senior Partner, Scheril Murray Powell P.A.
Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, President/CEO, Parrish PLLC
Dina Rollman, SVP, Government & Regulatory Affairs, GTI

Many jurisdictions require applicants to engage in a competitive licensing process – and, as we all know, in a competitive process, there are winners and losers. Sometimes the winners don’t deserve to win, and sometimes the losers don’t deserve to lose. Take a look at how you can fight back when things don’t go your client’s way – from challenging the process to suing your jurisdiction, and everything in between.

Chelsie Spencer, Principal Cannabis & Hemp Attorney, Ritter Spencer
Joanne Caceres, Cannabis Law Attorney, Dentons
Tom Haren, Partner, Frantz Ward
Michael Hiller, Managing Director, Hiller PC
Shane Pennington, Associate, Yetter Coleman

Do you ever find it difficult to speak to your clients about the products they craft? Billions of dollars have been invested to create a vibrant ecosystem of products based on an incredibly complex plant, but we, as attorneys, are often too concerned with the new rule promulgation, the new trend in enforcement, the shifting federal position, or the state-level enforcement policies to take a step back and truly appreciate the plant for its multifaceted and profound intricacies. Join Max Montrose, the author of Interperining and founder of the Trichome Institute, for a look at how Cannabis Sommeliers hone their craft, and how they look past the science of cannabis to the art of divining the essence of this amazing plant.

Max Montrose, President & Founder, Trichome Institute

All Sessions in PST time zone


Of all white collar professionals in the United States, alcoholism and depression are most common among lawyers. And we serve an industry that makes an intoxicant more widely available than it has ever historically been. So, what does that mean for our own mental health and our own battles with substance abuse. In some jurisdictions, substance abuse on its own does not constitute a violations of our ethical obligations unless it interferes with our representations of our clients. In others, if that substance is a schedule 1 drug, use along can rise to the level of a violation. But how does the interplay between our ethics requirements, state regulatory regimes, medical recommendations, and our privacy rights converge? If we decide that we want to be consumers in the industry we represent – how do we protect our professional lives and licenses?

David Mann, Northern California Consultant, The Other Bar

Attorneys and professionals: learn how to navigate the gray space between practicing in a state that allows adults or medical patients to consume cannabis, and that state’s interpretation and application of the professional rules of ethics.  Panelists will discuss how cannabis use and substance abuse issues can interfere with an attorney’s competence obligations, and mandatory reporting requirements.  Panelists will specifically address the ABA Model Rule equivalents in the jurisdictions of Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, California, and Washington D.C.

Hannah Stitt, Associate, Ad Astra Law Group

Andrew Kingsdale, Associate, Law Offices of Omar Figueroa
Bob Nichols, Partner, Kind Law
Patrick Nightingale, Criminal Defense Attorney, PKN Law

How Jessica McElfresh Defended the Ancient Privilege Between Attorney and Client and Emerged Victorious
A conversation with Jessica McElrfresh and Omar Figueroa led by Lara Decaro
When we formed INCBA, we had a vision in mind: to connect attorneys, help build a bar, and support the practice of attorneys serving an emerging industry through education and networking opportunities. We didn’t realize what that support could really mean. Just over a year into the formation of INCBA, a bar association founding member, Jessica McElfresh, was charged with seven felonies in connection with her representation of a cannabis company. Jessica fought back and we knew we had to step in and help. INCBA got behind the effort and supported Omar Figueroa and his firm’s pro bono work in drafting an amicus brief in support of Jessica. Our Executive Director Chris Davis and Omar both personally showed up on her behalf. We did not waver in our support of Jessica and through that experience, the purpose of the organization truly became clear.

Lara DeCaro, Partner, Leland, Parachini, Steinberg, Matzger & Melnick LLP

Omar Figueroa, Founder, Law Offices of Omar Figueroa
Jessica McElfresh, Attorney-at-Law, McElfresh Law Inc.

All Sessions in PST time zone


The specific genetic identities of different strains of the cannabis plant produce different combinations of cannabinoids. These properties have historically lead humans to use the cannabis plant for various therapies and make all manner claims about the curative properties of the plant. Two important developments are at play right now within this framework: patent protection for the plant, parts of the plant, or applications of the plant, and the restrictions and rules relating to making health claims. Both of these legal issues involve various federal agencies and are important for the protection of consumers and to inspire and motivate the development of new products and applications. This track explores these issues.

Track Chairs:
Nicole Grimm, IP Attorney, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff
Marcelo Pomeranz, Associate, Cooley

There are so many… Especially for ‘Plant-Touching” companies which are the most complex to value. Federally illegal and tagged a “Schedule 1 Substance” with NO medical benefits, Plant-Touching companies are still valuable. There are also complexities when valuing Hemp and Ancillary companies. How valuable, and how to determine that value are questions we will discuss in our talk this morning. Ms. Spalding will walk you through the cannabis valuation study that she produced and has published quarterly since the first one in 2015. This report presents the market evidence that Singer Lewak gathers in one place and is published for your use in reviewing valuations. Ms. Spalding will talk about federal versus state impacts on valuation of cannabis companies, including plant-touching and hemp companies.

Vanita Spaulding, Managing Director, Cannabis Valuation Practice Leader, SingerLewak

Join us for a discussion of patents, patent rights, limitations of patents, and alternatives for protection, from utility to Plant Patents and PVP. Additionally, the panel will delve into deposit requirements (availability to 3rd parties and timing of deposit), data- quality, scope (written description/enablement), and the dynamics for Plant Patent-Flexibility and data quality requirements, and patent enforcement.

Marcelo Pomeranz, Associate, Cooley

Travis Bliss, Partner, Panitch, Schwarze, Belisario, & Nadel
Pauline Pelletier, Director, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox
Mark Lewis, President, Napro Research

Join us for a discussion on the strategic considerations and requirements for securing patent and patent-like protection for cannabis-related inventions, including Utility Patents, Plant Patents and PVP. The panel will delve into the practical requirements for preparing and prosecuting each form of protection, including a discussion of deposit requirements (availability to 3rd parties and timing of deposits), data quality, scope (written description/enablement), and the dynamics for Plant Patent-Flexibility and data quality requirements

Nicole Grimm, IP Attorney, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff

Jon Cousin, Associate, Cooley LLP
Ethan Russo, Founder/CEO, CReDO Science
Shahnam Sharareh, Patent Attorney, Fox Rothschild
Two long time cannabis advocates discuss how the impact of grassroots advocacy over the decades has impacted the “War on Drugs” and the long road to legalization

Amanda Reiman, Founder, Personal Plants
Ed Rosenthal, Guru of Ganja®
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