The National Cannabis Risk Management Association’s Annual Conference

Registration is now open for NCRMA2020!


Interested in being a sponsor for NCRMA2020? Click below to download and fill out our Sponsorship Packet. 



Conference Dates:

March 22nd, 2020

Registration and Welcome Reception: 6pm – 9pm

March 23rd, 2020

NCRMA2020 Day 1: 9am – 5:30pm

March 24th, 2020

NCRMA2020 Day 2: 9am – 1pm



Bally’s Hotel & Casino

3645 S Las Vegas Blvd,

Las Vegas, NV 89109




Keep scrolling to learn about our featured speakers and event schedule!

More details to come, so check this page often for more information and conference updates. 

Meet Our NCRMA2020 Speakers

Chris Day

VP External Relations, Marijuana Business Daily

TOPIC: Media Relations in Cannabis: Cutting Through the Clutter

Chris Day is the Vice President of External Relations and handles global partnership development for MJBizDaily and the MJBizCon family of events. Prior to Marijuana Business Daily, his 20+ year career designing Fortune 100 advertising campaigns, experiential events, as well as Public Relations and Public Affairs programs within marketing agencies spanned a wide variety of complex high growth industries. Having started his career just before the boom of the mid to late 90’s, he now uses the experience that comes with decades of brand building, global strategic partnership development and surviving numerous boom and bust cycles to more effectively build a sustainable and responsible cannabis industry.

Cassandra Maffey

CEO, Fire Tower

TOPIC: Stronger Together: Using Lessons for a Grass Roots Heritage to Catalyze Long Term Success

Starting out two decades ago as a small-scale cultivator in Humboldt County California, Cassandra Maffey has grown to become one of the world’s top commercial cultivators. Through her cannabis consulting firm, Force of Nature, Cassandra has helped clients worldwide in implementing sustainable Scalable Living Soil cultivation strategies and training award-winning teams. Cassandra now serves as CEO of Fire Tower, a cannabis-specific operations and communication software platform that unites cultivation teams and provides management with cutting-edge analytical tools. Maffey was recently named one of the Top 50 women in cannabis by High Times magazine.

Kirk Barry

CEO, Clarion Compliance

TOPIC: The Cost of Non-Compliance and the Importance of Risk Assessment

Kirk Barry is a seasoned business professional who serves as CEO of Clarion Compliance, a compliance and auditing platform for cannabis businesses. He has completed over 7,500 insurance cases and testified as an expert in superior court 350 times. Since entering the cannabis space, Kirk’s business development ventures have focused on independent 3rd party compliance monitoring and oversight. Kirk’s compliance solution provides industry-specific tools and real-time monitoring for cannabusinesses. Clarion Compliance offers validation through its third-party, independent compliance programs. The progressive technology elevates compliance standards beyond seed-to-sale tracking with a three-pronged approach, including: website application, database system for back-end tracking, and onsite inspection services.

Kimberly Kovacs

President, Arcview Group

TOPIC: Fireside Chat – Sources and Strategies for Capital to Fund Business Growth

Kimberly Kovacs, President of the Arcview Group, has over 20 years of executive leadership and experience across technology services and investment companies. As the founder and CEO of MyJane, Kim built a cannabis wellness technology platform which was acquired in January of 2019 by ManifestSeven. Prior to MyJane, Kim founded or co-founded six additional companies, raised more than $100M in equity capital and has been an active angel investor for more than ten years. Most recently, she served as President of the Los Angeles Venture Association where she launched the CannaLAVA strategic group designed to bring cannabis industry leaders together in Los Angeles.

Joshua Grauso

Senior Member, Underwriters Laboratories

TOPIC: Optimizing Risk Management in the Absence of a Formal Regulatory Network

As a senior member of the Underwriters Laboratories leadership team, Joshua Grauso works with retail chains, brands, grocery and manufacturing organizations to develop, implement and oversee professional 3rd party store, facility and/or supplier assessment programs related to industry standards for quality, food safety and cGMP compliance.  In his current role, Joshua has overall accountability for the leadership of the client, technical and field services for the Retail Food Safety and Supply Chain Quality Audit & Certification Body programs.  Joshua is a certified auditor, practitioner, approved training provider and has performed audits for major retailers and industry recognized certification schemes including cGMP, ISO9001, OHSAS 18001, ANSI Z-10, SQF, and BRC Global Standards.  Joshua participates on industry technical committees and work groups drafting national and international standards as a UL Consumer technical representative.

Albert Lee

Labor Law & Employment Attorney, Tucker Arensberg Attorneys


TOPIC: The Effect of Cannabis Legalization on the Workplace: What Everyone in the Cannabis Industry Needs to Know

Albert Lee is a management-sided employment and labor law attorney who has been recognized in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. Albert’s clients are concentrated in the manufacturing, healthcare/seniorcare, technology, financial, educational and service sectors. Albert has deep and broad experience in virtually all areas of employment and labor law. He has defended clients in wage-and-hour/compensation lawsuits and federal employment discrimination trials, resolved government agency investigations, assisted with the design of benefit plans to comply with ERISA and the PPACA, negotiated union contracts, audited wage and hour pay practices/procedures, revised employment handbooks, conducted workplace harassment investigations, drafted and enforced non-competition and other employment agreements, given strategic advice on employment practices and philosophies, handled workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation hearings, and provided guidance on day-to-day matters such as FMLA situations, employee disciplines and discharges.

Riana Durrett

Executive Director, Nevada Dispensary Association

TOPIC: The Retail Challenge

Executive Director of the Nevada Dispensary Association Riana Durrett graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2005 and received her Juris Doctorate degree from William S. Boyd School of Law in 2008. In her work with NDA, Durrett coordinates legislative and policy agendas for the cannabis industry and is responsible for researching and responding to various issues that impact the cannabis industry in Nevada. Durrett sits on the Board of the Nevada Taxpayer Association, serves as outside counsel to McLetchie Law, and serves as Ex Post Officio member to the Cannabis Law Section.

Rocco Petrilli

Chairman, National Cannabis Risk Management Association

TOPIC: The Value of Disruptive Innovation in Cannabis Risk Management 

Rocco Petrilli is Chairman of the National Cannabis Risk Management Association (NCRMA), a non-profit organization that provides innovative risk management and insurance solutions to businesses in the cannabis industry.  In addition, he serves as Director of Garnet Casualty Insurance Corporation (GCIC), an insurance company owned by the constituents of the NCRMA, and Chief Operating Officer  and Director of Garnet Underwriting Managers (GUM).  A thirty-year business executive and veteran of the automotive components manufacturing industry, Mr. Petrilli has extensive experience in all aspects of global and multinational business planning and development. He also specializes in risking management talent optimization, achieving multiple team victories in more than a dozen business start ups by creating the proper organizational architecture and ensuring continuous improvement.

Brenda Powell Wells

Director, East Carolina University Risk Management and Insurance Program


TOPIC: Being Better than the Best: Excellence in Cannabis Risk Management

Brenda Powell Wells has spent over 30 years studying and teaching risk management and insurance.  She presently serves as the director of the East Carolina University (ECU) Risk Management and Insurance Program, where she is the Robert F. Bird Distinguished Professor of Risk Management and Insurance.  During her career she has taught numerous risk and insurance courses.  She has also supervised countless internships and independent study projects.  Brenda has a long history of forming, supporting, and mentoring student organizations and has a wide range of experience in public relations and fundraising.

Brian Nelson

Chief Underwriting Specialist, Garnet Solutions LLC


TOPIC: Answers to the Top Insurance Questions

Brian Nelson serves as Chief Underwriting Specialist for Garnet Solutions, LLC. Mr. Nelson has over 20 years of insurance and risk management experience. He has served the roles of VP of Partner Development, Regional Underwriting Manager, and Branch Manager for several large international insurance carriers. Additionally, Brian executed the role of Risk/Insurance Manager for a national construction/roofing company and practiced law, with an emphasis on insurance related issues, at a Pittsburgh based firm. Brian also served as a broker and member of specialty internal resource team for a large national insurance brokerage.

Charles Brown

Senior Executive, Senior Wellness Innovations

TOPIC: Cannabis Isn’t Only Helping the Millennials…It’s Helping Seniors Too

Charles Brown is a Senior Executive with Senior Wellness Innovations based in San Diego, California. SWI is leading the way in the Senior Wellness market by creating the first person-centered Senior CBD, Cannabis, Nutraceutical wellness products and service brand. SWI has taken their 15 years of expertise providing aging services, education and advocacy to create the first holistic, individualized approach that will empower and educate Seniors to live their best and vital years. CEO and Founder MJ Pfeiffer’s connection to and advocacy for the 10,000 Seniors currently being served have inspired her to build SWI into a visionary Senior wellness brand whose sole purpose is to enrich the lives, longevity, and health of today’s modern Senior.

Jason Horst

Principal, Horst Legal Counsel

TOPIC: State of the Cannabis Legislative Union

Jason Horst is the principal of Horst Legal Counsel, a law firm serving the legal needs of clients in and around the cannabis industry. Jason served for more than a decade as a litigator and insurance coverage attorney in large regional and international law firms before founding Horst Legal Counsel. Jason is an advocate for cannabis policyholders and offers a range of risk management services to clients in and servicing the cannabis industry, including counseling related to insurance placement, risk transfer strategies, and preparing insurance specifications. Jason counsels clients regarding how to effectively transfer their business risks, allowing them to focus on running and growing their businesses sustainably.

Jessica Velazquez

Managing Partner, Indiva Advisors LLP

TOPIC: Your Finances Won’t Take Care of Themselves

Jessica Velazquez is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in Illinois & Nevada and Managing Partner of Indiva Advisors LLP, a full-service accounting firm for cannabis and hemp businesses. Jessica assists business owners navigate through unique accounting, tax, and financial industry challenges. She guides c-suite executives achieve their goals by providing guidance on tax and general business matters. She brings with her a wide array of experience, working with closely held businesses as well as publicly traded multinationals, across a variety of industries such as gaming, retail, and manufacturing.


Joe Kopko

EVP – Client Services and Business Development, HUB International

TOPIC: Cannabis Risk Management: A Road Map for Sustainable Operations and Favorable Underwriting

Joe Kopko is a published thought leader and regular speaker leading discussions on leveraging innovation and holistic risk management to establish sustainable companies. He has nearly 20 years of experience proactively managing safety, risk, and employee health. Joe works extensively with analytics partners to fine tune and integrate the correlations between employee health and workers compensation programs. These efforts have yielded better outcome management, reduced absence, and the ability to predict future sources of loss.

David M. Kennedy

Founder and CEO, Purple Risk Insurance Services

PANEL MODERATOR: In Response to the Needs of the NCRMA Member

David M. Kennedy, Esq. is the founder and CEO of Purple Risk Insurance Services, an independent agency providing top-tier insurance solutions and consulting services to clients in the cannabis and hemp industry. Based in New York City, Purple Risk primarily focuses on the New England and New York tri-state markets, as well as select target markets across the country. With 15+ years of experience as an insurance broker, executive, and insurance coverage attorney licensed in multiple states with adult use and medical marijuana programs, David is uniquely positioned to help businesses navigate the purchase of insurance in the rapidly changing, highly-regulated cannabis industry. 

Zach Stock

CEO, Stock Insurance Group

PANEL: In Response to the Needs of the NCRMA Member

Zach Stock is an experienced risk management professional with 15+ years of large commercial account management experience. Zach also brings the unique perspective of having built and sold a cannabis company in Colorado. Having worked directly on the design, construction and operation of cultivation and retail stores in Colorado for more than 7 years Zach provides cannabis companies with a depth of knowledge and perspective that is hard to match.

Rena Trodick

Sales Executive – Commercial Lines, Branch Benefits Consultants

PANEL: In Response to the Needs of the NCRMA Member

Rena Trodick brings more than 15 years of experience to Branch Benefits Consultants with a background in Property and Casualty, Claims and Risk management in commercial and personal lines. Rena supports Branch Benefits Consultants’ goal of delivering creative insurance solutions with thoughtful strategic planning, valuable professional services, and technology-based solutions by focusing on identifying exposure and risk and providing clients with a creative solution to all their complicated insurance needs. Rena graduated from University of Phoenix with a Bachelors in Science of Business Management, and she also has an Associate Degree in Business Administration from the College of Southern Nevada. In addition to her Insurance License, she also holds a CISR Designation.

Kevin Hughes

Executive Vice President, Black Insurance Group

PANEL: In Response to the Needs of the NCRMA Member

Kevin Hughes has been at the helm of Black Insurance Group since 2016.  His responsibilities include running the agencies operations as well as overseeing the risk management programs for several sister companies including a Medicinal Marijuana Grower Processor located in Erie, PA.  He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve, including 2 years of active duty, from 1987 until 1997. Obtained his BA in Economics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and began his insurance career as a Property & Casualty commercial insurance producer that same year. He has extensive experience with Captive insurance programs, Technology businesses, Venture Capital firms, and Risk Management.

Corey Tobin

Senior Vice President, Bolton & Company

PANEL: In Response to the Needs of the NCRMA Member

Corey Tobin is lead of Bolton’s Cannabis Practice. He’s on the leading edge of helping cultivators, manufactures and distributors navigate the complex insurance landscape to protect their business and employees. Corey is actively involved in the insurance committee for the California Cannabis Industry Association. With close to a decade of insurance industry experience, Corey has worked with a number of small and medium-sized businesses and is knowledgeable about property and casualty, life and health insurance. He routinely blogs and speaks on panels that are setting the course for the cannabis industry.


Drew Taylor

Broker, AlphaRoot 

PANEL: In Response to the Needs of the NCRMA Member

Drew Taylor and Isaac Bock co-manage AlphaRoot, a Shield Insure brand that focuses on the Hemp / Cannabis industry. During their time with AlphaRoot they have assisted many different size companies in both the hemp and cannabis space. They have placed coverage for some of the following type companies, including but not limited to; multi-state cannabis distributors, publicly traded cannabis companies, both US and Canadian, vertically integrated (seed to sale) entities, and single parent dispensaries. These placements have allowed the AlphaRoot team to build strong relationships across the cannabis insurance marketplace. They join the NCRMA as Appointed Brokers and work out of NYC.

NCRMA2020 Event Schedule

DAY 1 – March 23

The Value of DISRUPTIVE Innovation in Cannabis Risk Management

Rocco Petrilli

Stronger Together: Embracing Our Grassroots Heritage to Galvanize Long-Term Success

Cassandra Maffey

BREAK: Answers to Top Insurance Questions

Brian Nelson

Being Better Than the Best:
Excellence in Cannabis Risk Management

Dr. Brenda Wells

Integration of Your People Strategy into Your Business Strategy

Tamala J. McBath

BREAK: Answers to Top Insurance Questions

Brian Nelson

Breakout Discussion: Cannabis Isn’t Only Helping the Millennials, It’s Helping Seniors Too

Charles A. Brown

BREAK: Answers to Top Insurance Questions

Brian Nelson

The Effect of Cannabis
Legalization on the
Workplace: What Everyone
in the Cannabis Industry
Needs to Know

Albert S. Lee

The Retail Challenge

Riana Durrett, Esq.

Your Finances Won’t Take Care of Themselves

Jessica Velazquez

Breakout Discussion: The Cost of Non-Compliance and the Importance of Risk Assessment

Kirk Barry

Breakout Discussion: Cannabis Risk Management: A Road Map for Sustainable Operations and Favorable Underwriting

Joe Kopko

Breakout Discussion: Optimizing Risk Management in the Absence of a Formal Regulatory Network

Joshua Grauso

DAY 2 – March 24

Welcome & Opening Comments

Rocco Petrilli

State of the Cannabis Legislative Union

Jason Horst

Panel: Broker Response to the Needs of the NCRMA Member


David Kennedy


Corey Tobin

Kevin Hughes

Zach Stock

Rena Trodik

Drew Taylor (Isaac Bock)


Answers to the Top Insurance Questions

Brian Nelson

Fireside Chat: Sources and Strategies for Capital to Fund Business Growth

Kim Kovacs

Cutting Through the Clutter

Chris Day

Closing Statements

Rocco Petrilli

"There is no more neutrality in the world. You either need to be part of the solution or you will be part of the problem." - Eldridge Cleaver

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