Last chance to join N.J.’s top cannabis business conference, networking event

For many in New Jersey’s cannabis business community today, March 15, marks a special day. The state began accepting applications to operate dispensaries — the retail stores permitted to sell legal weed. There are no deadlines to file applications. The state’s regulatory commission will accept them on a rolling basis.

Applicants who are owned by women, minorities and veterans will get reviewed and approved first, as well as from those who have been convicted of marijuana offenses and people from poor communities, the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission has said.

In anticipation of the market opening before the summer, as suggested by Gov. Phil Murphy, the Garden State’s cannabis industry leaders will gather in-person from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 16 at NJ Cannabis Insider Live!’s spring conference to discuss the opportunities and challenges in this multi-billion dollar industry.

Purchase tickets here. Tickets are limited to adhere to COVID-19 protocols. (Tickets are $325, and proof of vaccination or 24-hour negative COVID-19 results are required for entry.)

Presented by Hance Construction, the all-day event at the Carteret Performing Arts & Events Center boasts more than 25 speakers. NJ Cannabis Insider in partnership with Harvest 360 and GrowGen is supporting equity and inclusion in the cannabis space by sponsoring 25 minority business owners who are cannabis license hopefuls to attend this event.

The event features not only some of the biggest power players in the cannabis space, but it also attracts many of the industry’s leading professional service companies to exhibit on its vendor floor.

The complete lineup of speakers and panels:


John Harmon, president of the African American Chamber of Commerce, he also serves on multiple boards, including the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.


Market Update — What to Know Before N.J. Opens

  • Edmund DeVeaux, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Assn. and is a lobbyist with Burton Trent Public Affairs
  • Cecilia Oyediran, an associate attorney in Foley Hoag’s national cannabis practice group
  • Faye Coleman, CEO of Pure Genesis, board member of Hemp Advisory Council for the New Jersey CannaBusiness Assn.

Federal Update — A National Perspective

  • Tahir Johnson, director of Social Equity and Inclusion at U.S. Cannabis Council
  • Stu Zakim, president of Bridge Strategic Communications. Zakim has experience in the entertainment, media and cannabis sectors. The firm won a Clio Award for its work on The Happy Munkey’s Original Immersive Van Gogh event last year.
  • Alex Todd, co-founder of Saucey Farms and Extracts, is a celebrity jeweler-turned-entrepreneur, originally known for curating high-end jewelry for power players like Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kevin Hart.

Municipalities – Helping Towns to Help You Get In

  • Mayor Janice Kovach, Clinton Town, immediate past president of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities
  • Stacey Udell, partner at HBK Valuation Group and the Mid-Atlantic director of HBK’s Cannabis Solutions Group
  • Mollie Hartman Lustig, an attorney, is the chair of McLaughlin and Stern’s Cannabis Practice Group

Licenses — Ins and Outs of a Successful Application

  • Chris Reid, head of sales for Cova, an award-winning cannabis POS and inventory management platform
  • Ellie Siegel, CEO and founder of the cannabis consulting firm Longview Strategic
  • Jennifer Cabrera, counsel at multi-state cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg’s New Jersey/New York office.

Construction + Real Estate – Building right on the right property

  • Karen Oleson, co-founder of Ridgewood-based Hambrecht Oleson Design Inc. The company has completed numerous cannabis dispensaries in the northeast.
  • Darrin Chandler Jr., a recent license applicant, a real estate executive at RIPCO and president of Premium Genetics
  • Art Hance, founder and CEO of Hance Construction

Security + Insurance — Applications to operations

  • Tony Gallo, managing partner at Sapphire Risk Advisory Group, who recently was named among the nation’s 100 most influence people in cannabis by High Times.
  • Nichelle Santos, founder and CEO of CannaCoverage Insurance Services.
  • Jay Keith, a consultant with 5S Security, is a recently retired detective sergeant from the New Jersey state police.
  • Dan Jensen, an account executive with Securitas Electronic Security Inc. specializing in cannabis facility security.

Education — Preparing the future workforce

  • Jennifer Madden, assistant Dean and director of Graduate Studies at the Rohrer College of Business of Rowan University. She is a leading team member Rowan’s Cannabis Institute for Research, Policy, and Workforce Development.
  • Aubrey Flanagan, manager of Professional and Corporate Development at Raritan Valley Community College’s Workforce Training Center.
  • Marissa Mastroianni, an attorney at Cole Schotz PC. and the resident employment attorney in the firm’s cannabis practice group
  • Rob Mejia, an adjunct professor at Stockton University where he teaches cannabis courses. An author and serial entrepreneur, his cannabis education company is called Our Community Harvest.

In addition to the panel discussions, we’re hosting 30-minute “CannaTalks” on the expo floor:

  • Construction: Planning from concept to grow Art Hance, CEO of Hance Construction
  • Raising capital: What startups need to know Precious Osagie-Erese, COO of Roll Up Life, Inc., a New Jersey-based CBD delivery service company
  • Legacy to legal: A pathway to inclusionJosh Alb, founder of education company Cannademix
  • Model for success: Surviving the first 3 years of businessTodd Polyniak is a partner at Sax LLP is a multi-disciplinary accounting, tax and advisory firm
Vendor & Sponsor Expo Floor

Sponsors and partners for NJ Cannabis Insider events are among the businesses shaping the industry locally and regionally.

  • Hance Construction, NJ Cannabis Insider presenting sponsor, was selected to build one of the first cannabis grow facilities in New Jersey, and has since worked on other medical cannabis projects, offering consulting and site-location services
  • 5S Security, NJ Cannabis Insider security guard sponsor, at 5S Security, professionals ensure rigorous ongoing training, cutting-edge protocols, and tactical expertise to ensure the highest levels of protection and professionalism in the industry. Whether your solution requires a single door guard to a facility team of 50, their teams are customized to cater to your organization’s individual needs.
  • Securitas Electronic Security Inc. specializes in cannabis facility security. The nation’s leader in protective services, it offers security solutions in these areas: On-Site, Mobile and Remote Guarding; Electronic Security; Fire & Safety; and Corporate Risk Management.
  • Withum, NJ Cannabis Insider’s professional profile photo station, is a forward-thinking, technology-driven advisory and accounting firm committed to helping its clients be more profitable, efficient and productive in today’s complex business environment. Withum provides industry expertise and innovative solutions to grow and expand.
  • Sax LLP, NJ Cannabis Insider’s badge sponsor, with 65 years of experience advising established and emerging companies, Sax Cannabis Advisors are at the forefront of the unique and complex cannabis industry. Their audit, tax and advisory team provides superior advisory services to all segments of the market.
  • Harvest 360, a NJ Cannabis Insider’s social equity partner, is a cannabis consulting company that specializes in application preparation and licensing management, working to reduce barriers of entry for communities most impacted by the War on Drugs.
  • GrowGeneration, a Harvest 360 partner, is the largest hydroponics supplier in the country with 63 retail and distribution centers. It carries and sells thousands of products, such as organic nutrients
  • and soils, advanced lighting technology and state of the art hydroponics equipment used by commercial and home growers.
  • HBK CPA, a multidisciplinary financial services firm, offering the collective intelligence of professionals committed to delivering exceptional client service across a wide range of tax, accounting, audit, business advisory, valuation, financial planning, wealth management and support services from offices in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, New York and Florida.
  • Stender is a family owned, promotional products supplier to the cannabis industry. While Stender is a new company, its parent company SHC Holdings recently celebrated its 50th year in business. Stender’s global sourcing, along with its fun and creative SWAG aims to leave an impression on anyone who receives a branded product.
  • Cova builds innovative retail software solutions specifically for dispensaries. Its POS & Inventory Management platform is designed to simplify compliance, streamline complex dispensary operations, and empower dispensaries to deliver the best possible shopping experience. Based in Denver, Cova is powering more than 1,800 retail locations across North America.
  • Cole Schotz, with attorneys practicing Cannabis law since 2013, the firm has been at the forefront of the New Jersey cannabis industry, guiding clients through regulatory compliance, risk management, governmental affairs and licensing in connection with cannabis related uses.
  • NJ Cannabis Certified, which provides training for all entry level jobs in the cannabis industry, including dispensary training and entry level cultivation and lab technician training.
  • Longview Strategic provides advisory services and industry insights to public, private and not-for-profit entities throughout the country. With years of active experience, we’ve been able to provide top quality counsel, secure hallmark resources and connections, and contribute writing services for client projects and developments.
  • McLaughlin & Stern engages in sophisticated legal work with burgeoning practices in cutting edge areas of the law, such as art, media, entertainment and hospitality. The firm has a Sports Practice Group, Land and Maritime Environmental Group, and a Cannabis, Medical Marijuana and Hemp Group.
  • RIPCO Real Estate was formed in 1991 to provide retailers, landlords, and developers with high-quality, customized service in Manhattan, the Outer Boroughs, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut retail real estate. It represents retailers looking for a smart location as well as property owners, managers and developers looking to attract successful retailers.
  • Zoned Properties is a strategic real estate development firm whose primary mission is to provide real estate and sustainability services for clients in the regulated cannabis industry. Zoned Properties is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Forbes Real Estate Council.

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets. (Note: Availability is limited. As others will tell you, we have had to turn people away from our last several large-scale events.)

NJ Cannabis Insider is a weekly subscriber-based online trade journal and events group produced by NJ Advance Media, which also publishes, The Star-Ledger and other affiliated papers. Are you interested in the N.J. cannabis industry? Subscribe here for insider exclusives. Follow us on LinkedIn.

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