Meet the speakers

Our speakers include growers, processors, retailers, and attorneys who will be discussing the state of the industry from their unique perspectives and experiences. Keep checking back for newly announced speakers being added daily!

Full Name
Jenny Argie
Job Title
Founder
Company
Jenny's
Speaker Bio
Jenny’s is a woman-owned cannabis brand founded on health, wellness, and love. Based in the heart of Hudson Valley, New York, Jenny’s has been a leader in New York’s legal cannabis industry by being one of the first Processors to be licensed for hemp (CBD), and now for adult-use cannabis.
Jenny Argie's journey is not just about creating cannabis products; it's about crafting a thoughtful path to wellness that aligns with your lifestyle. Jenny's turned passion into purpose, blending the therapeutic essence of full-spectrum cured resin with the joy of guilt-free indulgence.
Jenny's secret? A fusion of tradition and innovation. Imagine sugar-free, kosher, vegan gummies that not only soothe the soul but also respect the body. Decadent milk chocolates enriched with baked quinoa that offer a symphony of flavors while harnessing the calming power of THC. Vapes and pre-rolls that deliver the full essence of the flower with the full benefits of its chemistry.
Our commitment goes beyond taste; it's about the experience. Eco-friendly packaging and a nod to diverse dietary needs reflect our dedication to both the planet and our community.
As New York's canvas of cannabis evolves, Jenny's stands as a beacon of innovation and wellness. Explore the Jenny's difference. Indulge in our THC product line and let us wrap you in a blanket of care, quality, and a little bit of happiness. It won’t surprise you that her website is www.jennyloves.me.
Jenny Argie
Full Name
Joseph Calderone
Job Title
CEO/COO
Company
Grateful Valley Farm
Speaker Bio
Joseph Calderone has 10 years consulting experience in cultivation, processing and dispensary operations. His consultancy, TreeFrog, worked closely with Schwazze (former Medicine Man Technologies), a publicly traded operator in Colorado. In this capacity, he supported both medical and recreational applications in 11 states helping to build a database of actionable documents that address all areas of the Cannabis Industry value chain, including but not limited to Operating Plans, SOPs, Diversity & Inclusion Plans, Environmental Impact, Product Recall, Record Keeping and more. In the area of genetics, Joseph worked with Cornell University's school of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). His unique cultivar genetics helped establish the USDA National Hemp Germplasm Laboratory in Geneva, New York (in partnership with Cornell). He has also collaborated with brands in the areas of multi-cannabinoid product formulation. In New York, he helped secure a $10 million dollar conduit bond financing for hemp processing and extraction. More than anything Joseph is inspired by the ethnobotanical and ethical-botanical characteristics while also dedicating himself to the botanical and biochemical aspects of this incredible cannabis plant. His work with the Hourani, Sapara, Achuar, Shuar and Kichwa indigenous groups in the Amazon through participatory practices in sustainable development shaped his interest in joining this interesting yet exasperating industry. He is CEO/CCO of Grateful Valley Farms (AUCC #34), Co-Founder and Board Member of Cannabis Farmers Alliance (CFA), and a proud member of Farm Bureau.
Joseph Calderone
Full Name
Michael Casacci
Job Title
Founder
Company
House of Sacci
Speaker Bio
Mike Casacci has had a passion for growing and advocating for cannabis since he was a teenager. At 17 years old Mike grew his first plants hydroponically, and began using cannabis regularly. Over the years, Mike and his family waited patiently for NY to legalize cannabis. In 2015, The Casacci family applied to be an registered organization, but were denied. The Casacci's eventually set up a CBD processing facility and hydroponically grew CBD for seeds. In 2022 they purchased a 40,000 sq/ft greenhouse in WNY and started the brand "House of Sacci". House of Sacci has a team of dedicated and experienced growers that are passionate about growing the best cannabis possible. Today House of Sacci is sold in about 1/3 of all NY legal dispensaries with more on the way. Mike is a member of the Cannabis Farmers Alliance, the Cannabis Association of NY, as well as the Farm Bureau. Mike also has a passion for local charities and he works with over a dozen each year (as an auctioneer) raising million of dollars to support WNY.
Michael Casacci
Full Name
Paula Collins
Job Title
Owner & Attorney
Company
NYCCA
Speaker Bio
Paula Collins is an Enrolled Agent and an Attorney, dedicated to representing cannabis entrepreneurs and investors through all phases of the business life cycle. A cannabis professional since 2015, Collins specializes in finding solutions for social equity license holders, fundraising, and taxation in the cannabis space. She specializes in helping start-up and legacy operators transition into legal cannabis businesses by first examining their personal journeys, family history, and financial snapshot. Collins is licensed as an attorney in several states, and is qualified to practice in the US Tax Court. As a tax professional with the highest credentials offered by the IRS, she has clients in almost every state in the US. Collins is a founding member of the New York Consortium of Cannabis Accountants (NYCCA), a VIP Member of DopeCFO, on the board with the Boston-based advocacy and education organization known as Elevate Northeast, and serves on the Social Equity and Diversity Committee of the International Cannabis Bar Association. Collins is a classical pianist, and is Chair of the Chamber Music Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
Paula Collins
Full Name
Samuel Coronado
Job Title
Owner
Company
Mary Janes
Speaker Bio
Samuel Coronado is a proud CAURD licensee selected in WNY in May 2023. Sam is a born, raised and residing West Side Buffalonian. When the opportunity of becoming a Justice involved dispensary owner became a reality, Sam and his family have diligently tried to make this newly possible dream come true. After overcoming months of multiple location denials, failed lease negotiations and other obstacles including of course the latest lawsuit, the Coronado family, because it truly has been a group effort, have found a home for and continue to build MARY JANES - A LEGACY 2 LEGAL DISPENSARY.
Samuel Coronado
Full Name
Andrew DeAngelo
Job Title
Global Cannabis Consultant & Strategic Advisor / Executive Coach
Company
Harborside
Speaker Bio
Andrew is a visionary leader with a proven track record of enacting systemic social change and developing best practices in cannabis. Andrew lends his vast cannabis business and political expertise as a consultant for hire to the global cannabis community at large, including several strategic partnerships with the world's leading cannabis-centric service firms. Over three decades as an activist, Andrew worked on a variety of voter initiatives which legalized medical and adult-use cannabis in San Francisco, Washington D.C, and the State of California. As a co-founder of Harborside, Andrew has pioneered legal cannabis business processes and provided groundbreaking political engagement and thought leadership to the cannabis community — leading the design and development of gold-standard cannabis retail by innovating many “firsts” for the industry. This includes: introducing CBD medicines to heal severely epileptic children, implementing the first lab-testing program in the history of cannabis dispensing, creating child-resistant packaging for edibles, standardizing inventory tracking, initiating senior outreach, and successfully preventing the federal government from seizing Harborside in forfeiture actions against the company in 2012. Andrew began his political career as an activist while studying for his MFA in acting at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. He has starred in several films and runs an entertainment production company, DeAngelo Brothers Productions (DAB), with his brother Steve. Andrew is co-founder of the non-profit Last Prisoner Project (LPP) and a founding Board of Directors member of the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) where he served from 2013 to 2020.
Andrew DeAngelo
Full Name
Brian Lane
Job Title
Compliance Officer
Company
NOWAVE
Speaker Bio
Brian Lane is one of the Owners and Compliance Manager at NOWAVE in Rochester, NY. NOWAVE is a cGMP certified Cannabis Facility which has held a New York State Hemp License since 2018. In his current role, Lane is responsible for the cGMP certification, licensing, and regulatory requirements to keep NOWAVE in good standing with New York State.
Brian Lane
Full Name
Nikki Lawley
Job Title
Founder
Company
Nikki and the Plant
Speaker Bio
Nikki Lawley is a cannabis patient advocate, speaker, and founder of Nikki and the Plant. She discovered medical cannabis after experiencing a life-changing brain injury while working as a pediatric nurse in October 2016.

Nikki is a leading voice in the community, chronicling her journey from a healthcare provider to a patient to an advocate. She hopes to bring worldwide awareness to invisible illness, disability, and how cannabis can help improve quality of life. She has been a guest on multiple podcasts and shows, including “Let’s Be Blunt with Montel Williams.” Find Nikki's media appearances here.
Nikki Lawley
Full Name
Rashied McDuffie
Job Title
Deputy Mayor of Operations
Company
City of Buffalo
Speaker Bio
Rashied McDuffie is an attorney with over 20 years of experience as a government affairs professional with extensive knowledge of local government, state regulatory and compliance legal issues, FOIA requests, complex real estate and estate transactions, and social and economic equity issues. He most recently served as Deputy General Counsel for the New York State Office of Cannabis Management. Prior to that role, Mr. McDuffie served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Buffalo. Deputy Mayor McDuffie has been named one of Buffalo Business First’s 40 Under 40. Mr. McDuffie was additionally selected as one of Western New York’s Legal Elite, which highlights the most highly respected attorneys, as selected by their peers, across the region.

As Deputy Mayor of Operations, he will be tasked with coordinating multi-departmental initiatives. Mr. McDuffie holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law, and an Executive MBA Certificate from the Harvard Business School Harvard Club of Buffalo. He earned his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2005. He is licensed to practice law in New York and Florida. Mr. McDuffie’s appointment took effect on Monday, July 10, 2023.
Rashied McDuffie
Full Name
Benjamin Rattner
Job Title
Partner
Company
Cermele & Wood LLP
Speaker Bio
Ben is an experienced attorney who leads the cannabis practice at Cermele & Wood LLP. Ben has helped numerous clients successfully navigate licensure under the MRTA and is passionate about achieving results. Ben drafts the legal documents necessary to form and operate cannabis businesses, assists with fundraising efforts, negotiates leases and land deals, negotiates licensing and purchase agreements, counsels clients about brand protection, and, of course, quarterbacks cannabis license applications.

Ben is one of the contributors to the Hudson Valley Cannabis Industry Association’s and the New York City Cannabis Industry Association’s Report & Recommendations on New York’s Cannabis Licensing Regulations. He is also an active member of the Cannabis Association of New York, where he serves on the Cultivation Committee. For these and other activities, Ben was recently recognized as a 2023 Cannabis Industry Power Player by PoliticsNY and amMetro New York.
Benjamin Rattner
Full Name
Thomas Spanos
Job Title
Solo Practitioner
Company
Law Office of Thomas G. Spanos
Speaker Bio
Thomas is one of New York State's foremost cannabis attorneys. His Buffalo-based practice touches on all aspects of the NY cannabis market, from licensing and compliance to CGS event organization.

Always outspoken, Thomas has engaged with regulators, local governments, and the public to improve the industry rollout.

His clients include conditional licensees (CAURD, AUCC, and AUCP) as well as future applicants. Thomas is passionate about the revitalizing impact cannabis businesses can have for our local communities.
Thomas Spanos
Full Name
Eddie Sundquist
Job Title
Mayor
Company
Jamestown
Speaker Bio
Mayor Eddie Sundquist is a proud native of Jamestown. He graduated from Jamestown High School in 2007 and became the first in his family to graduate from college from St. John fisher in 2010. After graduation he became a middle school teacher, and while teaching he earned his Masters of Science in Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania. As an advocate for science, technology and math education programs in schools, Eddie was recognized by his school as Educator of the Year in 2011, having introduced exploratory science labs in his classroom.

Eddie returned to Western New York in 2012 when he was accepted into the University at Buffalo School of Law Program. While at UB Law School, Eddie was an advocate for children and families, working with the Buffalo community to develop alternatives to school suspension and discipline programs.

Eddie received his Juris Doctorate in 2015 from the University at Buffalo School of Law and returned to Jamestown to practice law with Lewis & Lewis, P.C. Eddie was elected the Mayor of the City of Jamestown in November of 2019 and took office as the City’s 25th Mayor in January of 2020.
Eddie Sundquist
Full Name
Britni Tantalo
Job Title
Co-Founder
Company
Flower City Hydroponics
Speaker Bio
Britni Tantalo is the co-founder of Flower City Hydroponics, a retail grow store located in Fairport, NY. Flower City Hydroponics provides all equipment and supplies needed for indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation. Also, the co-founder of MetaVega Corporation, a manufacturer, wholesaler, and distributor of indoor growing equipment and cannabis extraction products. MetaVega Corporation services hydroponic retail stores and smoke shops throughout the country. Britni is a woman minority New York State CAURD applicant looking to obtain a retail dispensary license as Flower City Dispensary. She is also the co-founder and CEO of the New York CAURD Coalition, an organization that aims to create educational pathways in cannabis and ensure access to resources in order to create a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive cannabis industry. Britni holds a bachelor's degree from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in finance and economics and an MBA from St. John Fisher University in accounting.
Britni Tantalo
Full Name
Jeremy Unruh
Job Title
SVP, Public and Regulatory Affairs
Company
PharmaCann
Speaker Bio
Jeremy Unruh serves as the PharmaCann senior vice president of public and regulatory affairs. Jeremy is responsible for the company’s strategic external matters, including legislative policy and public affairs; media relationships; organized labor; and coordination with state and local regulators.

He works closely with PharmaCann’s finance team to facilitate investor and banking relationships. He manages lobbying efforts in eight statehouses and Washington, D.C., and is at the tip of the spear as PharmaCann works to optimize its operations across the company’s eight-state footprint. Jeremy was PharmaCann’s first employee, initially serving a general counsel and chief compliance officer, and later focusing on the company’s external affairs.
Jeremy Unruh
Full Name
Aaron Van Camp
Job Title
Owner
Company
716 Dank
Speaker Bio
Dank is owned and operated by Aaron Van Camp who spent close to 7 years in prison for cannabis charges. The social justice program through NYS allowed him to be the first licensed retailer in WNY. Aaron works diligently and ethically within the industry and collaborates frequently with other licensees as well as cannabis companies.
Aaron Van Camp
Full Name
Michael Yager
Job Title
President
Company
Yager Farms
Speaker Bio
Michael T Yager is President of Yager Farms and is a former US Marine, former US Army warrant officer who holds a BS in Civil Engineering and MS in Geology both from Florida Atlantic University. Previously employed with the US Army Corps of Engineers for 11 years, deployed to Afghanistan for 3 years, and now works in the private sector as a civil engineer. Yager Farms is a family-owned farm, originating in the early 1900s that focuses primarily on annuals and vegetable operations along with cannabis operations.
Michael Yager