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Thursday, August 5, 2021 Live Webcast

Cannabis Conference (E2108050)

8:00 AM - 4:00 PM EDT


8 CPE Credits in MC


This new, full-day conference will provide updates on the adult-use cannabis industry and must-know information for CPAs looking to serve cannabis clients in any part of the supply chain. Topics will include banking, finance, insurance and payroll concerns and options; legal hot topics; and tax issues including IRC §280E.


CPAs and professionals who are interested serving businesses in the legal cannabis industry.


Gain a full-spectrum awareness of the status of cannabis legalization and issues your clients may face whether they are in the early/start-up stages or multi-state operators. This dynamic industry is full of uncertainty that CPAs seeking to service clients in the space should be aware of.

Conference credits provided are 6.5 SK and 1.5 TX.



8-8:10 a.m.
Melissa Dardani, CPA, MAcc, Founder - MD Advisory and Leader of the NJCPA Cannabis Interest Group

8:20-9:35 a.m.
State-Specific Breakout Sessions (Choose One)
All of these breakout sessions will be available to conference attendees for on-demand viewing after the conference. CPE credit is not available for on-demand sessions.
1A. New Jersey Cannabis Update
Moderator: Jelani Gibson, Assistant Editor and Content Lead - NJ Cannabis Insider
Speakers: Jennifer Cabrera, Counsel - Vicente Sederberg National Cannabis Law Firm
Edmund DeVeaux, President - NJ CannaBusiness Association, Lobbyist - Burton Trent Public Affairs
Janice Kovach, Mayor - Clinton, NJ and President - NJ State League of Municipalities
This session will provide an update on the cannabis industry in New Jersey, including:
  • 280E decoupling legislation and New Jersey legislators' appetite for change to this area of the law
  • An update on the status of the commercial, adult-use market
  • How to work with New Jersey towns to get a cannabis business established

1B. New York Cannabis Update
Jeffrey Gittler, Partner - PKF O’Connor Davies , Chairman - NYSSCPA Cannabis Committee
This session will provide an update on the cannabis industry in New York, including:
  • Synopsis and key points of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA)
  • Taxation component review

1C. Pennsylvania Cannabis Update
Howard Silverstone, CPA, Director and Marion Wickersham, MS, CFE - Forensic Resolutions, Inc.
This session will provide an update on the cannabis industry in Pennsylvania, including:
  • Recent updates to the cannabis laws and how they are affected by neighboring states
  • Challenges for CPAs working in the cannabis industry
  • Opportunities for CPAs in the cannabis industry
9:45-11:00 a.m.
Business Operation Challenges
Moderator: Stacey Udell, CPA/ABV/CFF, CVA, Director of Valuation and Litigation Services - HBK CPAs and Consultants
Ashley Elsner, COO - Artery Pay
Daniel Sulpizio, COO - First Harvest Credit Union
Melanie Tighe - Prime Pay
The cannabis industry is rife with issues as a result of the federal illegality under the Controlled Substances Act. Hear first hand from industry experts about the effect of the federal and state law disparity and how to navigate the uncertain waters in the current environment. Areas to be covered include access to banking and finance, payroll processing, point of sale solutions and supply chain management.

11:10-12:25 p.m.
Navigating the 280E Tax Burden
Nick Richards, Partner - Greenspoon Marder LLP.
Internal Revenue Code Section 280E is a discriminatory tax burden imposed on an industry with an already immense cost of compliance. Hear from a former IRS trial agent about the IRS techniques to enforce 280E and the Internal Revenue Code, case law to be aware of and how to maximize the minimal legislative grace granted to cannabis businesses.

12:25-12:55 p.m.

12:55-2:10 p.m.
The Legal Lifecycle of a Cannabis Business
Moderator: Josh Bauchner, Partner - Ansell Grimm & Aaron PC
Panelists: Donald Clarke, Esq. - Genova Burns
Lisa Gora, Esq., Shareholder - Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, PA
Jonathan Havens, Esq., Partner - Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Michael McQueeny, Esq., Counsel - Foley Hoag
For the cannabis industry, compliance is key to avoid scrutiny and maintain licensure status. Our panel of legal experts will tackle some of the legal hot-button issues that accountants should be aware of when advising their clients. While it is not our job to navigate the uncertain legal waters, it is important to know when to call an attorney to assist.

2:20-4 p.m.
Compliance, Banking and Payment Processing Opportunities on Public and Private Blockchains
Moderator: Melissa Dardani, CPA, MAcc, Founder - MD Advisory
Panelists: Ashley Elsner, COO - Artery Pay
Karolis Matulis, CPA, CVA - WilkinGuttenplan
Steven "Mac" McKeon, Founder and CEO - MacguyverTech
Dr. Sean Stein Smith, DBA, CMA, CPA, CGMA, CFE, Assistant Professor - Lehman College
We'll wrap up the day with a Q&A to discuss how crypto can help cannabis businesses overcome the challenges associated with banking, payment processing, reporting and tracking. Our crypto experts will speak to the potential synergies, and hurdles still to be overcome, that could result from a crypto-based infrastructure for cannabis companies.




Joshua Bauchner

Joshua S. Bauchner


Ansell Grimm & Aaron PC

Joshua S. Bauchner is a shareholder with the law firm Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC where he is Co-Chair of the Litigation Department, head of the Cannabis Law Practice Group, and a member of the Community Association and Bankruptcy practice groups. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association Cannabis Law Committee, and a frequent speaker on the topic of cannabis.

Jennifer Cabrera

Jennifer Cabrera


Jennifer Cabrera is counsel in Vicente Sederberg LLP's New York and New Jersey offices, where she focuses on licensing and regulatory matters. Her clients include existing medical operators in both New York and New Jersey, as well as businesses and individuals seeking new adult-use and medical licenses. She prepares state and local licensing applications in both states. Jennifer works with Vicente Sederberg’s National Licensing Team and has served as lead attorney on competitive applications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Jennifer manages the firm’s New Jersey office and is actively involved in promoting and working with small and locally-owned businesses across the region.

Prior to joining Vicente Sederberg in 2019, Jennifer’s practice focused on commercial litigation and arbitration. She began her legal career at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, representing clients in complex commercial disputes, and later managed a boutique law firm, which gave her a crucial perspective on the experience of business owners.

Jennifer holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, Harvard Law School, and the University of Cambridge. She previously served as adjunct faculty at the law schools of Duke, Fordham, and St. John’s. She is a member of the board of the National Hispanic Cannabis Council and the Harvard Club of New York City.

Donald Clarke

Donald W. Clarke, Esq.

Genova Burns

Don Clarke has substantive experience in a wide range of complex commercial matters concerning bankruptcy, restructuring and state court insolvency.

Mr. Clarke is a member of the firm's Bankruptcy, Reorganization and Creditors Rights Practice Group, and Cannabis Law Group. Principally, Mr. Clarke has substantive experience in a wide range of complex commercial matters concering bankruptcy, restructuring and state court insolvency.

Mr. Clarke helps debtors-in-possession manage their estates in an effort to retain control of their assets and minmize their liabilities. Mr. Clarke assists interested investors with their efforts to fund the acquisition of a debto or its assets through a range of structured financial transactions. Mr. Clarke represents Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 Trustees with their oversight of the regorganization, liquidation, and administration of bankruptcy estates. Mr. Clarke also helps creditors protect their interests in assets included in a debtor's bankruptcy estate, enforce their rights, and maxmize their recovery.

Mr. Clarke's extensive experience with complex restructuring matters demands an comprehensive understanding of federal, state, and local laws, including regulatory requirements, across all industries. This experience has enabled Mr. Clarke to assist clients with their navigation of such regulatory schemes outside of bankruptcy, including the space of cannabis law.

Melissa Dardani

Melissa A. Dardani, CPA, MAcc, CFE


MD Advisory

Melissa is the founder and managing member of MD Advisory, a boutique forensic firm. She has an extensive background in forensic accounting, data analytics, and cash flow analyses, as well as in diagnosing and remediating business problems. Melissa is a member of several NJCPA interest groups, including the Cannabis Interest Group, the Student Loan Debt Task Force and the Emerging Leaders Council.

Edmund DeVeaux

Edmund DeVeaux


A Rutgers University graduate and a commissioned officer in the Army, began his professional career in New Jersey state government and worked as a capital budget analyst in the New Jersey Department of the Treasury – Office of Management and Budget. DeVeaux, also served as the aide to the mayor of New Brunswick and as special assistant to U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley. An accomplished executive, DeVeaux currently is a part of Burton Trent Public Affairs. His corporate career includes leadership roles with the country’s largest multinational water-related service and environmental companies.

Ashley Elsner

Ashley Elsner


Ashley Elsner is a financial lawyer, 2x fintech entrepreneur, and the COO and Founder of Artery Pay, a legal, easy to use, transparent payment processing system with integrated cannabis banking compliance. Prior to founding Artery Pay, Ashley worked on the legal and operations team at Bessemer Venture Partners and in the financial regulatory group at Sidley Austin LLC. Ashley has a BA from Yale and JD/MBA from Northwestern Law and Kellogg School of Management.

Jelani Gibson

Jelani Gibson

Content Lead

Experienced communications professional in the writing and public relations industry skilled in photography, journalism, social media, and research.

Jeffrey Gittler

Jeffrey Gittler


PKF O'Connor Davies, LLP

Jeffrey Gittler is a Partner of the Firm who brings more than 40 years of accounting, auditing and tax experience to PKF O’Connor Davies, LLP. Jeff is the co-leader of the Firm’s Cannabis Practice and generally works in the Commercial Practice area.

Immediately prior to joining PKF O'Connor Davies, LLP Jeff served as a partner in a regional firm’s quality control and accounting and auditing department. Over the years, he also worked for national and international accounting firms rising from staff accountant to partner serving privately-held and publicly-registered clients.

He was also a technical manager at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Durham, NC, where he also chaired the Durham County Audit Committee. At the Institute, he oversaw peer reviews throughout the United States and was instrumental in converting the review process to a paperless environment.

Jeffrey has served his community and the profession ‒ and continues to do so ‒ through his active committee and board assignments.

Lisa Gora

Lisa Gora, Esq.


Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.

Lisa Gora is a partner with the law firm of Epstein Becker & Green. 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.

Jonathan Havens

Jonathan Havens

Saul Ewing Arnstan & Lehr LLP

Jonathan Havens is the co-chair of both the Cannabis Law Practice and the Food, Beverage & Agribusiness Practice at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP. He counsels state cannabis license applicants and awardees, ancillary service and product providers, investors, management companies, and various other entities that are affected by federal and state cannabis laws, such long-term care facilities and higher education institutions. In addition to his cannabis law practice, Jonathan maintains an active food and beverage practice, particularly with regard to cannabidiol (CBD) products, in which he counsels manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of beverages, conventional foods, and dietary supplements on product development, claim substantiation, labeling, promotion, registration, reporting, and recall issues to ensure compliance with federal, state and local requirements.

Since 2019, Jonathan has been listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for his nationwide cannabis law practice. In 2021, he was named a rising star by Law360 for his cannabis law practice, and in 2018, he was named to the National Law Journal’s inaugural Cannabis Law Trailblazers list. He is regularly interviewed by mainstream and trade press outlets, alike, and has been quoted by or authored pieces for CNBC, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, WIRED, MarketWatch, Engadget, Law360, High Times Magazine, Cannabis Business Times, Hemp Industry Daily, Marijuana Business Daily, and HEMP Magazine. Jonathan currently serves on Law360’s Cannabis Editorial Advisory Board and the Food and Drug Law Institute’s Cannabis-Derived Products Committee.

Before entering private practice, Jonathan served as a regulatory counsel with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he focused on compliance and enforcement related to promotion, advertising, and labeling. Prior to law school, Jonathan served as a legislative aide in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

Janice Kovach

Janice Kovach

Janice Kovach currently serves as mayor of Clinton, New Jersey. From 2004-2006 she was a councilwoman in Clinton. She has also served as the Director of the New Jersey Division on Women, a position appointed by the governor.

Janice attended Thomas Edison State College where she earned a degree in business administration. She has held management positions at Prudential, Fleet and NatWest Banks. Kovach also actively volunteers and has served as a Trustee of the Red Mill Museum Village, as President and Trustee of the CPS Partners in Education Foundation, and on the boards of the Girl Scouts Heart of NJ, United Way Women’s LeJEadership Council and the Women’s Heart Foundation. She was also an appointee to the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council and was a Leadership NJ Fellow (Class of 2009).

Karolis Matulis

Karolis Matulis, CPA, CITP, CVA



Karolis is a Manager at WilkinGuttenplan, focusing on real estate taxation and planning, transactional planning, business valuations, litigation support and technology implementation. His range of focus areas allows him to contribute unique professional expertise to a variety of problems. Karolis is the chair of the firm’s Innovation Council and has overseen multiple automation projects.

Steven McKeon

Steven "Mac" McKeon

Founder and CEO


Steven "Mac" McKeon is the founder and CEO of MacguyverTech. With over 25 years of experience in the technological world, he has always had a passion for taking things apart and putting them back together better than before. His knowledge of software development extends from a passion for reverse engineering to ethical hacking to new technologies. Mac’s philosophy on software is that no company should be forced to use out-of-the-box software. He believes each company is unique and requires fully customized software to fit their specific needs.
His passion for new technologies is laser-focused on blockchain. From smart contracts to NFTs to cryptocurrency to supply chain management, the applications for blockchain are almost unlimited. With a growing need for these technologies, MacguyverTech is poised to help meet those demands. The all US-based development team is growing quickly and Mac will not hesitate to find new teammates to help create, construct and secure the highest quality custom software that is possible today.

Michael McQueeny

Michael C. McQueeny


Foley Hoag

As counsel in Foley Hoag’s national Cannabis Practice, Mike has provided trusted counsel to start-ups and multi-state operators alike on issues associated with legislative/regulatory development and compliance. Michael has assisted clients in drafting and securing competitive state cannabis permits, having worked on winning applications in multiple states. Michael counsels clients on complex issues of regulatory compliance, including through advising companies on regulatory considerations associated with anticipated mergers and acquisition.

Mike has frequently been consulted as a point person for developments and insight for several national and local media outlets. Mike has also been the recipient of several honorary awards, including his selection by New Jersey’s largest newspaper as one of eighteen honorees as part of a series focused on the people that helped shape the cannabis industry in New Jersey in the lead-up to New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis referendum. More recently, Mike was selected for inclusion on the “Insider 100: Cannabis Power List,” which recognizes leading influential voices in the long battle to end cannabis prohibition.

Nick Richards

Nick J. Richards


Greenspoon Marder LLP

Nick Richards is a Partner in the Tax practice group at Greenspoon Marder LLP. He represents individuals and businesses in tax audits & trials, M&A, in managing tax debt, and he advises cannabis companies, owners and investors regarding tax and regulatory compliance matters. Mr. Richards has been a tax attorney for more than twenty years beginning his career with the IRS where he was a leading trial attorney, a Chief Counsel advisor, and a Special Assistant United States Attorney.

With his broad experience and understanding at all phases of the tax system, from reporting and assessment through appeals, court, and tax debt resolution, Mr. Richards achieves successful legal solutions tailored to his individual client’s needs. Mr. Richards also teaches tax attorneys and CPAs throughout the US and he is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Denver, Graduate Tax Program, where he teaches State and Local Tax and Civil and Criminal Tax.

Taxes can be stressful and Mr. Richards’ clients find relief in his broad experience in the IRS and in representing taxpayers large and small. He understands the tax system, provides informed advice, and protects taxpayers from the mistakes and missteps of those less experienced. Several years after leaving the IRS, he represented a Colorado cannabis company in one of the first IRS audits in the legalized industry. Since that ground-breaking case, he has gone on to successfully represent companies in many cities, states, courts and before the federal government. In addition to tax audits, trials and collections, he is widely recognized as a leading cannabis industry attorney and has extensive experience in IRC Section 280E and BSA cash reporting requirements. His knowledge of the tax system is essential when advising business owners and investors, particularly in mergers, acquisitions and entity formation.

Nick is a father of two young children, a proud husband, a music fan, and he enjoys the outdoors when not fighting for his clients.

Howard Silverstone

Howard Silverstone, CPA, FCA, CFE, CFF


Forensic Resolutions, Inc.

Howard Silverstone has a BA (with Honors) in accounting from London Metropolitan University (formerly known as City of London Polytechnic), London, England. He is a licensed certified public accountant in Pennsylvania as well as a chartered accountant (UK) and a certified fraud examiner. He also holds the American Institute of CPA’s Certified in Financial Forensics designation. He has presented various programs to the legal, accounting and insurance industries on the calculation of damages in financial disputes, corporate fraud and other financial matters.

Howard has concentrated his practice in the field of forensic accounting since 1985. Howard is a Director of Forensic Resolutions, Inc., which he co-founded in 2004. He was previously with Kroll from 1993 until 2004, including Kroll Lindquist Avey, an international forensic accounting firm. Prior to forming the Philadelphia office of Kroll in 1993, he was a director in a forensic accounting firm and worked for five years at an international accounting firm as both a financial investigator and auditor. He began his career at a public accounting firm in the United Kingdom.

Howard has testified in many different jurisdictions and has also provided testimony at Grand Jury hearings and overseas. Howard has been quoted in many national and international publications and has appeared in the media both in the United States and the United Kingdom. He has also co-authored three books on fraud and forensic accounting and has authored many articles on fraud and related subjects for a variety of publications.

Howard is an immediate past member of the AICPA’s National Forensic and Litigation Services Committee, was Chair of its Fraud Task Force and has twice served as the president of the British-American Business Council for the Philadelphia region and still sits on the board. He has held other board positions with organizations in the Philadelphia area, including the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill, NJ.

In June 2018, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II appointed Howard as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the United Kingdom’s 2018 Birthday Honours list. This was awarded in recognition of Howard’s service to British business in the USA.

Sean Stein Smith

Sean D. Stein Smith, CPA, CFE, CGMA, CMA, DBA

Assistant Professor

Lehman College

Sean is an expert and sought-after speaker, focusing on the intersection of financial services, blockchain and cryptocurrencies. He is a regular contributor to IBM’s Blockchain Unleashed website, analyzing applications for blockchain technology on business at large, as well as being a regular expert guest on China Global TV Network discussing blockchain and related applications. Sean is a member of the Advisory Board for the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, which coordinates with the AICPA in developing standards and reporting frameworks in this emerging area. Sean continuously works with, and consults for, the AICPA and several professional training organizations in the creation and delivery of blockchain and cryptocurrency related content. He is currently under contract to publish two books focusing on blockchain applications for financial services and other industry sectors. Sean is the host of the NJCPA TechTalk Podcast, a past leader of the NJCPA Emerging Technologies Interest Group and a member of the NJCPA Board of Trustees. He is a professor at the City University of New York - Lehman College.

Daniel Sulpizio

Daniel Sulpizio


Melanie Tighe

Melanie Tighe

Human Capital Management Consultant

Melanie Tighe is a Human Capital Management consultant with PrimePay. As a recovering entrepreneur herself, she understands the many challenges of running a business. She loves sharing knowledge, tactics and strategies to help business owners be more successful, by designing customized solutions for the management of their workforce. By bringing the tools and technology of the nation’s largest privately held payroll company into play, she’s often able to help her clients turn employment expenses into revenue streams – it’s not magic, it’s method.

Stacey Udell

Stacey D. Udell, CPA/ABV/CFF, CVA

Director of Valuation and Litigation Services

HBK CPAs & Consultants

Stacey is a director of Valuation and Litigation Services at HBK Valuation Group, which specializes in valuation, forensic accounting, economic damages and litigation support services. Her experience includes valuations of businesses and professional practices for purposes of estate and gift tax planning and compliance, divorce, business succession planning and mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, she has prepared damage study reports in connection with stockholder, insurance claims, and lost profits litigation, as well as reports in connection with bankruptcy proceedings utilized by the courts and trustees. Stacey also provides accounting and tax services for closely-held and family businesses including financial statement preparation, business and personal income tax planning and compliance, estate and business succession planning. She is a member of the AICPA, NJCPA, NACVA and New Jersey NACVA, and was previously the leader of the NJCPA Cannabis Interest Group.

Marion Wickersham

Marion Wickersham

Marion Wickersham is a Senior Associate at Forensic Resolutions Inc., a forensic and investigative accounting firm. Prior to joining Forensic Resolutions, Inc., she had worked in commercial banking as a head teller since 2001, identifying and solving fraudulent transactions and activities, with extensive knowledge in cash handling and reporting, employee training and development. She originally joined the firm in 2013 as an intern, before becoming an Associate in 2014. At Forensic Resolutions, Inc., Mrs. Wickersham analyzes and quantifies the financial aspects of matters in dispute in various types of cases. She has worked on numerous personal injury and wrongful death matters, subrogation damages including the assessment of lost business income, contents, property loss, and extra expense claims.

Mrs. Wickersham obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Drexel University. She also graduated from West Virginia University with a Master of Science Degree in Forensic and Fraud Examination.

Mrs. Wickersham is a Certified Fraud Examiner and is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.