Events Search
  Summary & Check Out (0)

Date / Time / Location

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Registration: 7:30 AM

MetroTop Plaza II
111 Wood Avenue South, 10th Floor
Iselin, NJ 08830

CPE Credits

  • 8.00 CPE Credits in SK

Package Pricing

In-Person Registration
  • $269.00 - Member
  • $369.00 - Non Member
Webcast: Attend this conference virtually.
  • $269.00 - Member
  • $369.00 - Non Member
Gain insight into this growing billion-dollar industry, build connections across sectors, and learn from experts in the field. Join us for discussions on advanced accounting issues and how emerging technologies like blockchain can help us navigate through conflicting federal and state laws.

Designed For

CPAs and professionals who are interested in the impacts of what a legal cannabis industry will have on New Jersey businesses


7:45-8 a.m.
Opening Remarks

8-9:15 a.m.
Keynote: A Green Garden State? The Status of Cannabis in New Jersey
William J. Caruso, J.D. — Archer & Greiner PC
States across the country are moving rapidly to legalize cannabis for medicinal and recreational use. New Jersey politicians seem to be pushing towards legislation, but what is holding them back? Attend an update catered specifically to New Jersey, and learn what factors are holding back local officials from moving forward on the path towards legalization.

9:15-9:35 a.m.
Morning Break

9:35-10:50 a.m.
Advanced Accounting Issues
Benjamin Aspir, CPA — EisnerAmper LLP
Mitzi S. Hollenbeck, CPA, CFE — Citrin Cooperman & Company LLP
Nicholas R. Odille, CPA, MBA — HBK CPAs & Consultants
Moderated by Stacey D. Udell, CPA/ABV/CFF, CVA — HBK CPAs & Consultants
The accounting industry faces a particularly unique challenge when it comes to clients who are involved in the cannabis industry. Audit concerns, local tax issues, and recommendations for cannabis industry clients will be addressed in a manner that will help CPAs navigate the ambiguous topic of cannabis in the accounting industry.

10:55-11:45 a.m.
Banking, Insurance and Finance Issues
Anthony Bartell, J.D. — McCarter & English Attorneys at Law
Joshua S. Bauchner, J.D. — Answell Grimm & Aaron PC
Kevin J. Hart — Green Check Verified
Moderated by Melissa A. Dardani, CPA — EisnerAmper LLP
Spending on cannabis is projected to reach $50 billion by 2027. The cannabis industry will require operational necessities like banking, insurance, and legal advice. Hear from individuals currently addressing these issues, and more.

11:50 a.m.-12:40 p.m.

12:45-2 p.m.
Keynote: Entity Planning for the Cannabis Industry
Nick J. Richards, Esq. — Dill Dill Carr Stonbraker & Hutchings PC
Navigating a general IRS Business Tax Audit is a feat. Now, imagine what cannabis clients must do to pass an audit! Learn the complexities of this budding industry, such as:
  • Entity planning after alternative health care — the stakes just went up
  • Surviving the IRS tax debt in the cannabis industry
  • The Harborside decision — is the 280E burden growing?
2:05-3:20 p.m.
Social Justice Panel
Lisa Gora, J.D. — Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer
Joshua S. Bauchner, J.D. — Answell Grimm & Aaron PC
Rani Soto — The New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association
Moderated by Dara A. Servis — New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association

As the path towards legalized adult use cannabis nears, society must consider and address the issues of those affected by previous legal climates. Speakers will address topics such as expungement, contradictory employment law, and more.

3:20-3:40 p.m.
Afternoon Break

3:40-4:30 p.m.
Technology: How Blockchain can be Utilized in the Cannabis Industry
Karolis Matulis, CPA, CVA — WilkinGuttenplan
Scott Benson — DigitalX
Steven Schain, Esq. — Hoban Law Group
Moderated by Dr. Sean D. Stein Smith, CPA, CFE, CGMA, CMA — Lehman College
The cannabis industry and blockchain are considered to be giant disruptors in the current business climate. Can they benefit each other? Join us for speculation on:
  • How blockchain reduce cash reliance and paper forms for inventory and banking
  • Can blockchain assist with tax collection and regulation of the cannabis industry?
  • How blockchain can assist with quality control issues in the cannabis industry
  • What types of blockchains may be the best fit for an organization in the cannabis industry
  • How does cryptocurrency factor into the cannabis market and industry?

Course Level




Advance Preparation

Event Cancelled

We are sorry to inform you but this event has been cancelled.

Benjamin Aspir

Benjamin Aspir, CPA
Senior Manager
EisnerAmper LLP

Benjamin Aspir is a Senior Tax Manager with over 10 years of public accounting experience. His client base includes closely held businesses spanning various industries, including professional services, real estate, and manufacturing and distribution. He also serves high net worth individuals. Benjamin’s expertise focuses on tax, but his past experience providing audit and accounting services allows him to deliver a unique perspective to clients. Benjamin has been a speaker on various tax topics. Additionally, he frequently writes tax articles and updates for both external and internal audiences.

Anthony Bartell

Anthony Bartell, J.D.
McCarter & English Attorneys at Law

Anthony Bartell focuses on complex insurance matters. For more than 30 years, Anthony has helped policyholders – generally major corporations – purchase insurance policies tailored to their specific business and legal needs. Anthony also has helped policyholders secure hundreds of millions of insurance dollars. In the process, Anthony has made law in a number of cases, including Owens-Illinois, Inc. v. United Insurance Co., 138 N.J. 437, 650 A.2d 974 (1994), which established New Jersey’s trigger of coverage and allocation principles, and United States Mineral Prods. Co. v. American Ins. Co., 792 A.2d 500 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2002), which held “stub policies” provide policyholders with full additional occurrence and aggregate liability limits.

Anthony handles issues arising from every type of first-party and third-party insurance, including general liability insurance, directors & officers insurance, employment practices liability insurance, errors & omissions insurance, workers compensation/retrospective premium insurance, cyber insurance, property insurance and business interruption insurance. Anthony also works with insurance producers, large and small, on issues relating to the purchase of insurance policies and the defense of malpractice claims. Anthony recognizes that litigation represents the last, and often least attractive, option for policyholders seeking the coverage for which they paid substantial premiums. He, therefore, regularly counsels policyholders purchasing coverage and reviews prospective insurance policies to determine whether they meet the policyholder’s needs.

When a coverage dispute arises, Anthony uses his longstanding relationships with insurer counsel to resolve the parties’ differences to the policyholder’s satisfaction. If the parties cannot resolve their disputes amicably, then Anthony vigorously litigates or arbitrates the policyholder’s claims to an equitable conclusion. He appears regularly before arbitration panels and state and federal courts throughout New Jersey and other states. Anthony also argues insurance appeals before appellate courts nationwide, including the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the New Jersey Supreme Court, and appears before the Insurance Departments of New Jersey and other states.

Anthony prides himself on keeping abreast of insurance matters important to new and emerging industries, including those relating to cryptocurrency/blockchain and cannabis. As a member of the firm’s Cannabis Industry Group, Anthony contributes to a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing and resolving legal issues relevant to the cannabis/hemp industry.

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.

Scott Benson

Scott Benson
DX Americas

Scott oversees all compliance and operations functions for DigitalX. Scott is a highly seasoned operations professional and regulatory compliance specialist, across multiple disciplines including Anti Money Laundering, Privacy, Business Continuity, Sanctions and Anti Bribery and Corruption with extensive experience in building, managing, and maintaining compliance programs for regulated financial services companies. As a 25 year veteran of the financial services industry Scott has served in senior compliance and operations roles at various internationally recognized financial firms including Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, RBC Wealth Management and MetLife having also served as a regulator with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Top of Page ↑

William Caruso

William J Caruso, J.D.
Of Cousel
Archer & Greiner, P.C.

William Caruso, Managing Director at Archer Public Affairs and Partner with Archer & Greiner, P.C., has been active in New Jersey’s governmental and legislative affairs for nearly two decades.

Mr. Caruso also leads Archer’s Cannabis Law practice group. He is a recognized expert in state and federal Cannabis law, and has been an active advocate in the movement to end marijuana prohibition for nearly ten years.

Mr. Caruso is a founding member of the New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform steering committee, a partnership of public safety, medical, civil rights, faith, political, and criminal justice reform organizations and individuals committed to changing New Jersey’s laws to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older. He is also a board member of the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association, a nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing the legalization of cannabis. As a government staffer and now as a lawyer and advocate, Mr. Caruso has been a leader in cannabis policy at the state and federal level for the last two decades.

Mr. Caruso is highly experienced in related areas of law that directly impact cannabis law, including business planning and transactions, employment law, land use, zoning and municipal law, and healthcare law and regulation, and is dedicated to helping clients comply with evolving cannabis laws ethically and responsibly.

Mr. Caruso also leads Archer Public Affairs, an Archer affiliate that provides full-service government and regulatory affairs advice and advocacy to businesses in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Mr. Caruso is among a select group of attorneys, policy makers and civic leaders selected for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Transition2018 advisory team. He serves on the team’s Law and Justice committee, one of 14 committees analyzing and making recommendations on various issues facing New Jersey.

Prior to joining Archer, Mr. Caruso served for nearly five years as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office in Trenton, where he was responsible for developing and implementing the Assembly’s policy agenda. As top aide to Speaker Sheila Oliver, Mr. Caruso served as lead staff negotiator on all policy matters, as liaison to the Governor’s office, Senate and state departments. He was responsible for daily management of approximately 30 policy research professionals and communications and administrative staff. During his tenure, Mr. Caruso helped shepherd through numerous pieces of landmark legislation, including pension and health benefits reform.

Prior to his Assembly post, Mr. Caruso served for more than 11 years as Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, overseeing all aspects of the Congressman’s policy and public relations agenda, with specialization in economic development, education and defense policy. He was responsible for daily management of approximately 20 policy research professionals and communications and administrative staff in offices in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. Mr. Caruso also served 11 years as Congressman Andrews’ Campaign Manager.

In addition, Mr. Caruso served as Democratic legal and public relations advisor to the 2011 New Jersey Apportionment Commission, which was tasked with redrawing the lines of the state’s 40 legislative districts following the 2010 census. He is one of New Jersey’s most influential political and policy players, and is a prolific and sought-after speaker on both cannabis law and governmental affairs. Mr. Caruso appears regularly on television news programs as a political commentator.

Mr. Caruso earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Government from Bucknell University, and his Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University School of Law–Camden. He lives in Berlin Borough, Camden County, with his wife, Amanda, and their three sons.

Top of Page ↑

Melissa Dardani

Melissa A. Dardani, CPA
EisnerAmper LLP

Melissa Dardani is a Certified Public Accountant in the Financial Advisory Services Group assisting in forensic, litigation support, bankruptcy, and restructuring matters. Melissa provides forensic accounting, valuation and litigation support services with a focus on areas of distress, restructuring and business disputes. In addition, she has experience conducting forensic investigations; preparing reconstructed accounting records, cash flow analysis and financial models; and assisting clients in bankruptcy with tax compliance needs.

Prior to joining EisnerAmper, Melissa worked as a tax accountant at a middle-market accounting firm and provided accounting, tax planning and compliance services. This experience, in congruence with her role at EisnerAmper, allows Melissa to provide a unique perspective on the end to end accounting life cycle of a business in consulting engagements.

Melissa is a co-founder of the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association, for which she currently sits on the Board of Trustees and serves as the Treasurer. The New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association a nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing the legalization of cannabis through the promotion of sensible policy and responsible growth of a sustainable industry. The association is an industry leader for all sectors of the cannabis including biotechnology, cultivation, manufacturing, retail, finance, and consulting services.

Top of Page ↑

Lisa Gora

Lisa Gora, J.D.
Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer

Lisa Gora is an associate on the Corporate and Health Law teams at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, PA. Her healthcare practice focuses on the representation of healthcare professionals as well as group practices and other healthcare entities, including but not limited to, hospitals, academic medical centers, ambulatory surgery centers, management service organizations, ambulatory care facilities, substance use treatment facilities, mental health facilities (outpatient and inpatient), and nursing homes.

More specifically, Ms. Gora provides healthcare related advice to healthcare professionals and entities and regularly analyzes federal and state statutes and regulations in connection with the federal Anti- Kickback law and Stark Law, New Jersey’s Codey Law and other statespecific self-referral laws, the federal False Claims Act as well as the New Jersey False Claims Act, Board of Medical Examiners regulations, HIPAA, HITECH, licensing and reimbursement issues, and other fraud and abuse laws. Additionally, she advises on corporate transactional matters with respect to the formation and structure of healthcare entities, including joint ventures and affiliation agreements. She also reviews and prepares physician employment agreements.

Ms. Gora frequently provides lectures on ownership in entities (buying-in and separating therefrom) and the issues to consider. She also lectures to residents and fellows of differing residency programs at medical universities within New Jersey and New York regarding the key components to physician-employment agreements and how to equitably negotiate such terms. Some of the medical centers she has presented at are: Columbia University Medical Center (NY), Mount Sinai Hospital (NY), Bronx VA Medical Center (NY), and Monmouth Medical Center (NJ).

Ms. Gora serves as a Vice Chair on the Medical Staff, Credentialing, and Peer Review Practice Group of AHLA and also is on the Board of the Health and Hospital Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Top of Page ↑

Kevin Hart

Kevin J. Hart
Founder & CEO
Green Check Verified

Hart is an enterprise software veteran with almost 4 decades of experience. Having worked with global CPG brands in the full supply chain suite of applications including high-volume retail order management/POS and payment platforms, Hart has a keen eye for the business needs and how technology can be properly applied to solve the real and extended business requirements of retail operations, not shoe-horning the business to fit the software. This approach has been fully applied to the challenges of how to structure and maintain real banking relationships between cannabis businesses and the financial institutions that wish to serve them.

Top of Page ↑

Mitzi Hollenbeck

Mitzi S. Hollenbeck, CPA, CFE
Citrin Cooperman & Company, LLP

Mitzi Hollenbeck is a partner in the firm’s Braintree, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island offices with over 15 years of experience providing accounting and audit services, tax planning, business consulting, and forensic services. Mitzi has a unique perspective on the cannabis business, being an elected official in the town of Lakeville, MA, where she is able to understand the local regulatory challenges facing this industry. Having established a network of cannabis advisors, Mitzi is able to translate her knowledge to the needs of this unique industry as the industry evolves and is able to give you industry experience from working with actual growers, distributors, and applicants who have already navigated these waters. She has experience with working with cultivators, dispensaries, cannabis transportation companies, and cannabis-related businesses in both the United States and Canada.

Top of Page ↑

Karolis Matulis

Karolis Matulis, CPA, CVA

Karolis Matulis is a Supervisor at WilkinGuttenplan P.C., a full-service accounting and advisory firm, who joined the firm in 2013. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA). Karolis’ focus areas include income tax planning, transactional tax planning, business valuation, litigation support, and technology implementation. These areas of focus allow Karolis to deliver a wide range of expertise to a broad client base. Karolis has expertise in process automation, technology, and is an avid advocate and follower of blockchain technologies.”

Top of Page ↑

Nicholas Odille

Nicholas R. Odille, CPA, MBA
HBK CPAs & Consultants

Nick has extensive experience working with closely held companies and their owners. He provides consulting, tax and assurance services to a wide range of clients, particularly those in the cannabis, transportation, construction and manufacturing industries. Nick is relentless in advocating for his clients and helping them to make informed decisions. He is a member of the H BK Cannabis Niche, H BK Transportation & Logistic Niche and the HBK Construction Niche. He is also very involved in the community and volunteers with several organizations.

Nick has been with HBK since 2004. He is a licensed CPA in Ohio and earned both his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting and Masters of Business Administration from Youngstown State University. He is a member of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), The Rotary Club of Warren, Ohio, Access Health Mahoning Valley, The Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania and Youngstown State University Penguin Club. He is also treasurer of The Oakwood Cemetery Association and the Trumbull Country Club.

Top of Page ↑

Nick Richards

Nick J. Richards, Esq.
Tax Attorney
Dill Dill Carr Stonbraker and Huntchings PC

Nick Richards is a tax attorney with 20 years of experience resolving IRS and State tax audits, trials and tax debt. A partner at Dill, Dill, Carr, Stonbraker & Hutchings, a prominent Denver law firm, and tax counsel for Vicente Sederberg, the leading cannabis law firm, Nick helps cannabis companies with State and Federal tax compliance including Section §280E and BSA compliance. While others have struggled in the Courts, Nick successfully resolved one of the first Section 280E audits and he has continued to do so for the past four years. Nick is licensed to practice law in California and Colorado, he is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Denver, a former IRS trial attorney, a former Special Assistant US Attorney, husband and father of two, an avid yoga practitioner, board member, and he teaches tax controversy and section 280E to accountants and attorneys throughout the U.S.

Top of Page ↑

Steve Schain

Steve Schain, Esq.
Senior Attorney
Hoban Law Group

Steve is admitted to practice in PA and NJ and represents entities, governments and individuals in choosing a structure, preparing and submitting license application, regulation, compliance and litigation, and drafting legislation. A nationally recognized consumer finance litigation, banking law and cannabis law expert, Steve is a The Legal Intelligencer and Cannabis Business Executive columnist, frequent Pennsylvania Bar Institute and National Bar Institute author and lecturer and serves as a court appointed judge pro tempore and arbitrator. Steve serves on both Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia County administrative committees charged with drafting and revising state and local cannabis related regulations and makes regular presentations to: Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Group, and Cannabis Professional Advancement Series. Steve earned his B.A. degree from Pennsylvania State University and his J.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he served as an editor of the Law Review and graduated with honors. Before entering private practice, Steve served as law clerk to a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Top of Page ↑

Dara Servis

Dara A. Servis
Co-Founder and Executive Director
New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association

Dara Servis is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association, a non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the legalization and promoting the cannabis industry. Prior to launching the NJCIA, Dara has been the Marketing Director and a registered lobbyist at one of the top lobbying firms in New Jersey, CLB Partners. Most recently, Dara left her post to form her own lobbying firm known as Strategic Advisory Servis. Dara has experience in guiding clients through New Jersey’s political landscape and navigating the legislature.

Dara entered the cannabis industry to battle the negative stigma. Her mission is to help promote responsible policy using her common sense practices and compassionate understanding. Dara is passionate and dedicated to advocating for a safe and viable market while promoting education.

In addition, Dara uses her past experience in marketing, paralegal work and knowledge of the industry to support the legalization efforts in developing educational symposiums, panels and community outreach campaigns. These crusades not only introduce the residents of New Jersey to the legalization movement but also help to educate the legislature, inform the public and patients on new laws, products and developments in the industry

Top of Page ↑

Rani Soto

Rani Soto
New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association

Soto is the national Latinx outreach director for Minorities for Medical Marijuana.

Top of Page ↑

Sean Stein Smith

Sean D. Stein Smith, CPA, CFE, CGMA, CMA
Assistant Professor
Lehman College

Sean Stein Smith is an assistant professor at Lehman College (CUNY), a member of the AICPA Leadership Academy class of 2017, and has led dozens on sessions focusing on the implications of blockchain and cryptocurrency for accounting. Sean is a member of the Advisory Board of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, where he leads the Accounting Working Group. He is also the incoming chair of the NJCPA Emerging Technology Group, and is a regular contributor to China Global TV as a technology expert. His work and analysis of accounting, blockchain, and the evolution of the accounting profession has been featured in numerous practitioner and academic publications. Additionally, he is the author of numerous books focusing on accounting, technology, and how the profession will change moving forward.

Top of Page ↑

Stacey Udell

Stacey D. Udell, CPA/ABV/CFF, CVA
Director of Valuation and Litigation Services
HBK CPAs & Consultants

Stacey Udell, a Director of Valuation and Litigation Services at HBK Valuation Group, 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.

In addition to the above, Ms. Udell 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.

Stacey received her B.S. in accounting from the University of Delaware. She is a member of the AICPA, NJCPA, NACVA and New Jersey NACVA. Stacey currently serves as the 2019 leader of the NJCPA Cannabis Interest Group.

Top of Page ↑

Login Required!

You must be logged in to register for events. Please click here to login. You will redirected back to this page after logging in.

Don't have an account?

Not a problem. Use the Register section on the login page to create an account. You will be redirected back to this page after creating your account.

Event Cancelled

We are sorry to inform you but this event has been cancelled.