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Marijuana: Justice, Equity, Reinvestment

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Albany Capital Center

55 Eagle Street

Albany, NY 12207

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Please join us for the Marijuana: Justice, Equity, Reinvestment conference, which will be held December 11 and 12 from 9:00am - 5:00pm at the Albany Capital Center (55 Eagle Street, Albany NY 12207).


The conference will explore how marijuana legalization in New York presents a unique and much-needed opportunity to create equity, economic justice, and work to restore communities most damaged by this country’s failed war on drugs.


The conference will have sessions on Finance and Banking, Equity in the Industry, Diversified Economic Opportunities, Public Health, Community Reinvestment, Economic Opportunities for Upstate, Restorative Justice/Reparations, Sustainable Production, and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Industry, among many others.


This event is FREE, but you must register.


Sign up for FREE transportation:


DAY ONE – December 11th


Keynote 9:15-10am: Cannabis as a Catalyst for Change

Amanda Reiman, Flow Kana


Concurrent sessions: 10:15-11:45am

Sustainable Production

Moderator: Melissa Moore, Drug Policy Alliance

  • Kristin Nevedal, International Cannabis Farmers Association
  • Andi Novack, Hudson Valley Farmer
  • Jalal Sabar, Wildseed Community Farm
  • Jose Chapa, Rural and Migrant Ministry
  • Goldie Piff, Massachusetts cannabis advocate
  • Commissioner Kay Doyle, Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission


Finance and Banking

Moderator: Danielle LeBlanc, Green Worker Co-Op

  • Barbara Van Kerkhove, Empire Justice Center
  • Bob Chakravorti, Chakra Advisers
  • Tina Sbrega, GFA Credit Union
  • Henry Meier, NY Credit Union Association
  • Emily Paxhia, Poseidon


Concurrent sessions: 1:00-2:30pm

Economic Opportunities for Upstate NY

Moderator: Keith Brown, Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice

  • Asssemblymember Donna Lupardo, New York State Assembly
  • Mohini Sharma, Metro Justice
  • John Gilstrap, Hudson Hemp
  • Jack Norton, VERA Instititute
  • Ken Pokalsky, The Business Council of New York State


Marijuana and Public Health

Moderator: Dr. Hillary Kunins, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

  • Dr. Julie Holland, Psychiatrist, author, harm reductionist, drug policy reformer
  • Dr. Julia Arnsten, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center
  • Daliah Heller, Vital Strategies
  • Sasha Simon, Drug Policy Alliance
  • John Cawley, Cornell University


Concurrent sessions: 2:45-4:15pm

World of Work: Cooperatives, Workers, and Alternative Economic Systems

Moderator: Leigh Brown, Democracy at Work Institute

  • Omar Friella, Green Worker Co-Op
  • Emily Ramos, High Mi Madre
  • Chris Adams, CUNY Law Community & Economic Development Clinic
  • Josh Kellerman, RWDSU


Crafting Regulations

Moderator: Shanita Penny, Minority Cannabis Business Association

  • Brad Usher, Office of Senator Liz Krueger
  • Dasheeda Dawson, MJM Strategy
  • Cristina Buccola, CB Counsel
  • Danica Lee, Denver Department of Public Health & Environment
  • Prof. Jacqueline Johnson, Adelphi University
  • Jolene Forman, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Dr. Adam Karpati, Vital Strategies


Keynote 4:15-5pm: Durable Power, Radical Demands, and Transformative Justice

Maurice Mitchell, Working Families Party


DAY TWO – December 12th


Keynote 9:15-10am: Lewis Koski, Freeman and Koski


Concurrent sessions: 10:15-11:45am

Building Equity in the Industry

Moderator: Chante Harris, Capalino + Co

  • Asssemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes, New York State Assembly
  • Cat Packer, City of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation
  • Rachelle Yeung, Minority Cannabis Business Association
  • Sharon Velasquez, The Greenlining Institute
  • Kevin Blodger, Union Craft Brewing


Ancillary Businesses and Marijuana Legalization

Moderator: Shanel Lindsay, Ardent Cannabis

  • Gia Morón, GVM Communications
  • Sara Payne, Barclay Damon LLP
  • Jacobi Holland, Jade Insights
  • Mary Pryor, Cannaclusive
  • Denise Biderman, Mary's List
  • Miguel Trinidad, 99th Floor
  • David Umeh, HighSpeed Delivery
  • David Muret, Viridian Staffing


Concurrent sessions: 1:00-2:30pm

Reparative Justice

Moderator: Alyssa Aguilera, VOCAL-NY

  • Roz McCarthy, Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana
  • Rodney Holcombe, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Lauren Manning, The Center for Law and Justice
  • Darrick Hamilton, The New School
  • Floyd Jarvis, Bard Prison Initiative Public Health Fellow
  • Ross Bradshaw, New Dia (Massachusetts Equity Applicant)


Corporate Social Responsibility

Moderator: Kristin Jordan, Mannada

  • Amanda Reiman, Flow Kana
  • Andrea Armeni, Transform Finance
  • Chaney Turner, The Peoples' Dispensary
  • Lanese Martin, Hood Incubator
  • Kelly Perez, kindColorado


Concurrent sessions: 2:45-4:15pm

Gender Justice and Equity

Moderator: Ashley Sawyer, Girls for Gender Equity

  • Queen Adesuyi, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Tamika Spellman, HIPS
  • Amna Hussein, Survivors for Cannabis
  • Wanda James, Simply Pure
  • Xan West, Hood Incubator


Economic Justice and Community Reinvestment

Moderator: Sharon Velazquez, The Greenlining Institute

  • Cathy Albisa, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
  • Byron Hobbs, Center for Community Change
  • Ronnie Galvin, The Democracy Collaborative
  • Cara Long Corra, Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of New York State
  • India Walton, Open Buffalo


Keynote 4:15-5pm: Goodbye to the Old Guard: Legalization for the New Generation of Leaders

Shaleen Title, Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission


More information:

Creating a system to tax and regulate marijuana use by adults over the age of 21 is a sound economic investment for the state of New York. In the states with existing regulated markets, previously static economies have experienced a new small business boom coupled with technological advances that benefit a variety of industries. Additionally, legalization presents an opportunity for New York’s agrarian community to foster the development of a new crop that is sustainable, resilient, and widely consumed. Similar to the rise of New York’s craft wine and beer industries, a regulated marijuana market could also provide opportunities for small businesses in small towns across the state to cultivate a business model that is not reliant on access to large amounts of capital but is instead dependent on local resources as well as their own ingenuity and creativity.


The state of New York is well positioned to make a significant impact on the developmental trajectory of the nascent legal industry in a way that strongly favors diversity and inclusion. The history of marijuana prohibition in New York and lessons learned from other states have produced a wealth of information that can be used to preemptively address potential barriers to progress as the state transitions away from the failed experiment of prohibition.


This conference will bring together experts in the fields of public health, regulatory development, social and economic justice, community reinvestment, and sustainable agriculture with the intent of framing what sound cannabis policy and reinvestment should look like in New York ahead of likely negotiations around legalization in the state budget process.


Learn more at smart-ny.com

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Albany Capital Center

55 Eagle Street

Albany, NY 12207

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