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Speaker Bios


Natalie Alane

Natalie Alane

Natalie Alane of Alane Family Law, P.C., dedicates her practice to litigation and appeals in all areas of family law. She is a proud member of the NORML Legal Committee. In addition to practicing law and growing her law business, Natalie is an avid backpacker and intrepid traveler. She's visited all fifty states and knocked off four continents so far. Her proudest outdoor accomplishment is summiting 15,200 feet in the Andes Mountains in Peru and, second to that, braving the world's highest bungee jump over the Zambezi River in Africa. A former opera singer, Natalie admires all genres of music and will not miss her annual mecca to Blissfest, Michigan's most laid back music festival, every summer. Natalie credits yoga, meditation, her amazing husband, and the love of her three cats with helping her stay grounded and focused in her challenging profession.


Erik Altieri

Erik Altieri

Erik Altieri is the Executive Director of NORML.


Paul Armentano

Paul Armentano

Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. His writing and research have appeared in over 1,000 publications, scholarly and/or peer-reviewed journals, as well as in more than two dozen textbooks and anthologies. He is the co-author of the book Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (2009, Chelsea Green), which has been licensed and translated internationally. His most recent book, The Citizen's Guide to State-By-State Marijuana Laws (2015), is available from Whitman Publishing. His writing also appears in the book, The Medical Marijuana Dispensary: Understanding, Medicating, and Cooking with Cannabis (2016), available from Althea Press. He is a regular contributor to The Hill, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many other publications.

Mr. Armentano was the principal investigator for defense counsel in US v Schweder et al., the first federal evidentiary hearing in over 40 years to challenge the classification of cannabis as a schedule I controlled substance. He was also a rebuttal expert in the successful Canadian constitutional challenge, Allard et al v Her Majesty the Queen, which determined that prohibitions on the rights of qualified patients to cultivate cannabis in their homes were "not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice." Mr. Armentano is the 2013 Freedom Law School Health Freedom Champion of the Year and the 2013 Alfred R. Lindesmith award recipient in the achievement in the field of scholarship.


David Baugh

David Baugh

David Baugh, an attorney based in Richmond, VA, has been involved in several significant and high profile cases, including the trial of the terrorists in the 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya; and capital cases in the District of Columbia and Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Baugh is a former president of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer and the Richmond Criminal Bar. He frequently lectures on such diverse topics as DNA, the First Amendment, the use of constitutional law as a criminal defense tactic and search and seizure. For his work defending, at the request of the ACLU, the Imperial Wizard of the Pennsylvania Ku Klux Klan, Mr. Baugh was named a Human Rights Hero by the American Bar Association.


David Branfman

David Branfman

Dave Branfman has been practicing law in San Diego County for over thirty-five years. His practice focuses on intellectual property and entertainment law, including trademarks, domain names, copyrights, trade secrets, licensing, motion pictures & TV, and music. He has also developed a cutting-edge specialty in the intersection between intellectual property law and the growing medical and recreational marijuana industries and speaks and writes regularly on this subject.

Dave graduated Cum Laude from Alfred University in New York and received his law degree from the University of San Diego in 1978. He is an instructor on intellectual property law at the UCSD (University of California, San Diego) Executive Perspective for Scientists & Engineers program. He is a member of the NORML Legal Committee and the Humboldt Country Growers Alliance. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the non-profit San Diego Music Foundation which sponsors the San Diego Music Thing and San Diego Music Awards, was Chairman of the Board of the San Diego Film Commission from 1998 – January 2000, and was a member of the Board of Directors from 1998 – 2007. Dave is a member of the California Lawyers Association Intellectual Property Section and is Vice-Chair of the Trademark Interest Group of its Executive Committee. He is a regular speaker at Comic-Con and has lectured or spoken on entertainment, intellectual property and Internet Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and California Western School of Law.

Dave has been selected as a Southern California Super Lawyer® in intellectual property law six times since 2007.


Stephen W. Dillon

Stephen W. Dillon

Steve Dillon has practiced criminal defense throughout the state of Indiana and around the country in both federal and state courts for over forty-two years. He graduated from Purdue University in 1972 (cum laude) with a major in communications and a minor in psychology. Received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in May 1975 and was admitted to the Indiana Bar in October of 1975. Steve was Deputy Public Defender of Indiana from 1975 until 1977. From 1977 until 1988 he practiced with other private Indianapolis attorneys. In 1988 Steve opened Dillon Law Office in Indianapolis. Steve is a member of the F.I.J.A., Indiana Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, NAACP, and the Indiana Bar Association. In 1994, Steve became an active member of the Criminal Justice Section of the Indiana State Bar Association and served as chair 2013-2014. Steve is currently active as a member of the Indiana Supreme Court Committee to Study Evidence-Based Pre-trial Release. Steve was a founding member and continues to remain active on NORML'S National Legal Committee. He helped start the Indiana NORML in 1974 and was State Director for over 30 years. He is Chair Emeritus of Indiana NORML Board of Directors. Steve has served as a member of the NORML National Board of Directors since 1991 and was Chairman of the Board from 1999-2011, Vice-Chair 2012-2015 and is currently serving again as Chair.

Steve was honored with several professional, political, and activist awards. In 1999, Steve received the "Dr. Barbara Bourland Light of Liberty Award" from the Libertarian Party of Indiana. In 2001, Steve received the "2000 Lights of Liberty Award" from the Advocates of Self-Government for contributing greatly to the spread of libertarian ideas and outstanding contribution to the cause of Liberty. In 2009, Steve received the "Lifetime Achievement Award" from The National NORML Board of Directors in recognition of a lifetime of activism reforming marijuana laws and advancing the cause of personal freedom. In 2011, Steve received the "Attorney of the Year Award" from the Indiana Cannabis Action Network and Relegalize Indiana. In 2014, Steve received an award for leadership and dedication as Chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Indiana State Bar Association, and in 2014 he received the "NORML Al Horn Memorial Award" for a lifetime of ceaseless work to advance the cause of justice and extraordinary support for NORML from the NORML Legal Committee. In 2015, Steve received the Indiana NORML "Freedom Award" for furthering the cause of personal freedom in Indiana and the nation. In 2016, Steve received the, "Steve Dasbach Chairman Award for Extraordinary Service" from the Libertarian Party of Indiana for helping to grow the party in extraordinary ways over many years.


Drew Findling

Drew Findling

Drew spent the first three years of his career as a lawyer as a Fulton County, Georgia, assistant public defender assigned to the courtroom of the late Judge William Daniel, known throughout Georgia for having authored three fundamental treatises on Georgia criminal practice. Just a few years after graduating from law school, in 1987, Drew “hung out a shingle” and started The Findling Law Firm. Since then, Drew has represented clients in state and federal courts in many states, including Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. He has also handled international matters in the Middle East and Europe.

Drew has enjoyed great success as a trial lawyer representing clients with charges ranging from minor offenses to multi-million dollar federal conspiracy cases. Over the years, his reputation for zealous and skilled representation has resulted in his being retained to represent numerous high-profile clients, including Grammy-nominee Faith Evans, Former Douglas County District Attorney David McDade, Former Fulton County, Georgia, Sheriff Jackie Barrett, current Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill, Former President of Morris Brown College Dolores Cross, NBA Superstar Shaquille O'Neal, former NBA great Dennis Rodman and NBA first-round draft choices Al-Farouq Aminu and Roshown McLeod and retired baseball slugger Oscar Gamble, and rap superstars Gucci Mane Waka Flocka Flame and Migos' Offset.

In his over 30 years of practice, Drew has published numerous articles and given speeches in over 35 states on such topics as defending battered woman syndrome cases, jury selection in high profile cases, forensic preparation for a criminal trial, giving effective opening and closing statements, and cross-examination, including several on the cross-examination of the homicide detective. He has lectured at Emory Law School, Georgia State University College of Law, the National Criminal Defense College, the Georgia Institute of Trial Advocacy, the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Criminal Defense College. Respected for his legal analysis and trial abilities, Drew is also regularly invited by Shepard Smith of Fox News and Brook Baldwin of CNN to serve as legal analyst on their programs. In Atlanta he is also the exclusive legal analyst of Atlanta's All News 106.7.

Drew's professional memberships include the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers where he was recently elected Secretary and the American Board of Criminal Lawyers where he is on the Board of Governors. Drew also serves on the Board of Advisors for the prestigious National Clearing House on Science and Technology of Law. He has been named as one of Georgia's Legal Elite in Georgia Trend Magazine, Georgia “Super Lawyer” by Atlanta Magazine, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Top Lawyers in Georgia. He recently received the NAACP's Civil and Human Right's Award.


Gerald "Gerry" Harris Goldstein

Gerald Gerry Harris Goldstein

Gerry Goldstein is a nationally known and respected defense lawyer at Goldstein, Goldstein & Hilley in San Antonio, Texas. He is a past president of both the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He has served as amicus curiae for NACDL in many high-profile cases, including CNN v. Manuel Noriega and Joe Does v. United States, arguing lawyers should not be required to disclose the identity of cash-paying clients on IRS forms.

His forceful Congressional testimony during the 1996 House Waco hearings is credited with helping to turn the tide against further suppression of citizens' rights in America. More recently, he represented Dr. Al-Badr Al Hazmi, a fifth-year radiology resident in San Antonio who was arrested on Sept. 12, 2001. Subsequently, Goldstein testified before Congress on his client's request to speak with counsel.

Gerry Goldstein is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and Texas Lawyer's Legal Legends. He also has been profiled in numerous publications, served as an adjunct professor of law at University of Texas School of Law in Austin and at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio and is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

He also is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. In his role as an adjunct professor, Gerry teaches a course titled Advanced Criminal Law (Defense of a Complex Federal Prosecution). Other lectures and presentations include U.S. Supreme Court updates, Crawford & the Current State of the Hearsay Rule, Crossing the Double Crosser and Federal Appeals.

His published works include: Grand Jury Practice; Pretrial Release; Indictment [Joinder/Severance/Transfer]; Pretrial Motions; Suppression of Evidence; Jury Selection; Trial [Evidence]; Examination of Witnesses; Jury Instructions; Closing Arguments; Creative Trial Techniques; Criminal Issues - Civil Cases; Jury Arguments [Closings to Remember]; Search and Seizure; Life and Hearsay - Post Crawford Era; Federal Appeals; and Supreme Court Review.

Gerry earned his juris doctor at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas, in 1968. He also graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1965, with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration.

Gerry received a certification in Criminal Law in 1975 from the State Bar of Texas. He holds the following bar admissions: Texas (1968), Colorado (1989), U.S. District Court Western District of Texas (1970), U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit (1982), U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit (1970), U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit (1983), U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit (1979), U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit (1983), U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit (1981) and the U.S. Supreme Court (1975).

Gerry Goldstein received NORML's Al Horn Memorial award in 1999, which commemorated a lifetime of advocacy and support for responsible marijuana law reform. He has also received the following honors and awards: Best Lawyers in America, 1987 -- Present; Texas Monthly - Texas Super Lawyers; Top 100 Texas Super Lawyers; Top 50 Central and West Texas Region Super Lawyers, Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2003 -- 2007; Scene in SA Monthly - San Antonio's Best Attorneys, San Antonio Law, Top Ten Lawyers, 2004 -- present; Texas Lawyer Legal Legends, 100 Best Lawyers over Last 100 years (100 Year Anniversary of State Bar of Texas), 2000; Fellow, State Bar Foundation, 1976 -- Present; Recipient, Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award [Outstanding Criminal Defense Attorney in the United States] from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 1991; Recipient, Outstanding Criminal Defense Lawyer in Texas from the State Bar of Texas, 1991; Justice Albert Tate, Jr. Award [Outstanding Contribution to Criminal Advocacy] from the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 1993; Recipient, John Henry Faulk Civil Libertarian of the Year Award from the American Civil Liberties Union; Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Hall of Fame, 2002; Marquis Who's Who, Who's Who in American Law, 14th Edition, 2006 -- 2008; First Annual Michael J. Kennedy Social Justice Award, George Washington University, (May, 2016); William S. Sessions American Inns of Court First Annual Goldstein Award of Excellence (2015); San Antonio Bar Association, Joe Frazier Brown, Jr., Award of Excellence for Outstanding Leadership and Service to the Legal Community & Citizens of Texas, 2016.

He is a member of the following professional associations: National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Past President (1994 -- 1995); Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Past President; International Academy of Trial Lawyers; American College of Trial Lawyers; American Board of Criminal Lawyers; American Board of Trial Advocates, President ; Dean's Round Table, University of Texas School of Law; Texas Civil Liberties Union; San Antonio Bar Association; American Bar Association; and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.


Norman Elliott Kent

Norman Elliott Kent

Norm Kent, a graduate of Hofstra University, who first joined NORML as a college senior in 1971, is now a publisher and criminal defense attorney based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, handling First Amendment, constitutional rights, and media law cases. A pioneer in medical necessity defenses for marijuana users, such as Elvy Mussika, Norm has represented patients, growers, and buyer's clubs throughout Florida for over 30 years. As far back as 1982, he sued the State of Florida to stop the deadly herbicide paraquat from being sprayed on marijuana fields.

Norm has authored 'The Pot Warriors Manifesto', contributes marijuana advocacy columns to Counterpunch.org, and has lectured at multiple NORML legal seminars, conferences and other events on cannabis law issues. A member of the NORML Legal Committee for over twenty years, Norm is a cancer survivor who is an open and out medical marijuana user himself, crediting marijuana with ameliorating the harsh nature of chemotherapy treatments.

A noted advocate for gay rights who has appeared as a commentator on CNN and FOX News, Kent is also presently the publisher of The South Florida Gay News, the largest weekly LGBT newspaper in the State of Florida.(www.southfloridagaynews.com)

Mr. Kent serves on NORML's Board of Directors.


Stephen Komie

Stephen Komie

Stephen Komie is the principal of Komie and Associates in Chicago specializing in federal and state trial and appellate practice since 1976; admitted to U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Circuits; U.S. District Court for Central, Northern, and Southern Illinois, the Northern District of Indiana, the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, Eastern District of Missouri, and Eastern District of Wisconsin; U.S. Tax Court; and the Illinois Supreme Court; Faculty: Illinois State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education Seminars and local Bar sponsored programs; Panel attorney, Federal Defender Program, Northern District of Illinois.

Member NORML Legal Committee. Member Illinois State Bar Association, 1973. Elected Secretary 1996-1997; elected Board of Governors 1992-2005, 2011-2017; elected member of the Assembly 1985-2019; served as chairman of Committee on Credentials, and member of By-Laws Committee, of the Assembly; member of the following committees: Mandatory Continuing Legal Education, A.R.D.C. Committee; Chairman, Criminal Justice Section, Chairman, Committee on Professionalism; and Committee on Traffic Courts and the Law; appearances on legislative issues for ISBA at the General Assembly and United States Congress; former member ISBA Young Lawyers Section, and participant in annual local Outreach Meetings sponsored by Young Lawyers Section. Director, Illinois Bar Foundation, Chicago Bar Association liaison to ABA Criminal Justice Section; past chairperson of Criminal Law, and Defense of Prisoners Committees of the CBA; Member American Bar Association, 1976, Elected Member of the ABA Criminal Justice Section Council, served on the Defense Function Committee of the Criminal Justice Section, and as Chair of the Small Firm and Solo Practitioner Committee, 1993- 1995; founding member Illinois Attorney's for Criminal Justice: member Illinois Trial Lawyers Association; served on the Board of Directors and as the Parliamentarian of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; member NACDL CFAA Reform White Collar Crime Subcommittee 2014; member Chicago Lincoln American Inn of Court and International Bar Association; and Chairperson Family Law Section International Bar Association 2005-2007.

American Trial Lawyers Association National Public Service Award for Pro Bono Legal Representation of the Needle Exchange Program to Prevent the Spread of AIDS, July, 1994; ISBA Board of Governors Award for Advocating Individual Rights of Lawyers in Disciplinary Proceedings and for Services to the Bar, June, 1991; Illinois Bar Foundation Pillar of the Profession, 2006; Certificates of Appreciation CBA, ISBA, NACDL and NORML; Francis W. Parker School Alumni Service Award 2012; 2012 ATLA Top 100 Trial Lawyers Award; 2017 National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Award; Martindale Hubbell "AV" rating; voted an Illinois Leading Lawyer 2017; and voted a Super Lawyer 2004-2018.


Marvin D. Miller

Marvin D. Miller has been practicing criminal defense law out of Alexandria, Virginia since the early 1970's. His practice is nearly exclusively dedicated to the representation of those accused of violating the law. He has handled cases throughout much of the country in both state and federal courts. The largest part of his practice focuses on defending drug cases. He began an association with NORML almost at its founding. He served on the legal committee for a number of years, and also had the honor to be on NORML's Board of Directors for a period of time. Additionally, he had the opportunity to serve on the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' Board of Directors for a period of years, and is one of the founding members and a past president of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Marvin not only represents defendants in trials but he also does a large number of appeals. He has had cases in seven federal circuits, some state supreme courts, and the United States Supreme Court.


Courtney N. Moran, LL.M.

Courtney N. Moran

Courtney Moran, founding principal of EARTH Law, LLC is the leading expert on industrial hemp law, championing legal policy for a sustainable Cannabis hemp industry. Courtney's article, Industrial Hemp: Canada Exports, United States Imports was published by the Fordham Environmental Law Review. She successfully lobbied on behalf of the Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association for passage of HB 4060, a bill that protects Oregon industrial hemp agricultural interests, and SB 1015, a bill that authorizes the processing of industrial hemp by licensed marijuana processors in the state of Oregon. She participated in the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem in April 2016. In October 2016, Courtney testified before the Senado de la República in Mexico City, Mexico. She authored H 3559, the legislation that establishes the industrial hemp program for the state of South Carolina. Courtney currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Oregon State Bar Cannabis Law Section. She also serves on the National NORML Board of Directors as well as the Board of Directors for Verified Life Cycle. Courtney is also co-petitioner of the Relegalizing Industrial Hemp Project, a formal administrative rulemaking petition to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency that will remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.


Gregory Morse

Gregory Morse

Gregory J. Morse, Esq. is a partner at the law firm of Morse & Morse, LLC and of-counsel to Richard G. Lubin, P.A. in Palm Beach County, Florida. He has practiced State and Federal criminal defense in South Florida since 2000. He began his legal career at the West Palm Beach Public Defender's Office. Gregory is CJA counsel in the Southern District of Florida. He has tried countless jury trials in his nearly twenty-year career.

Gregory graduated cum laude with a degree in jurisprudence from New York Law School in 2000. He was a member of the International and Comparative Law Journal while in Law School. He graduated with a degree in Political Science from State University of New York at Buffalo and The University of North London, London, England in 1997. He has been published in the New York Law School Law Review: Techno-Jury: Techniques in Verbal and Visual Persuasion, Vol. 54, No. 1 (2009/10) and has presented on the topic of Techniques in Verbal and Visual Persuasion in the past.

He was a board member of the Craig S. Barnard Chapter of the American Inns of Court. He is a member of the NORML Legal Committee and N.A.C.D.L.. He is considered a top 100 trial lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers. He was also legal advisor to the City of West Palm Beach's Nuisance Board and its Chairperson (2007-10). Prior to attending college and law school, he was the youngest elected shop steward of one of the largest service employee's union in the country (Local 32 B&J in NY, NY).


William H. Murphy, Jr.

William H. Murphy, Jr.

William H. "Billy" Murphy, Jr. has practiced law for 35 years, including three years as a judge on the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, the highest level Maryland trial court. Mr. Murphy has tried numerous high-profile criminal and civil cases, including some of the most celebrated cases in Maryland history and in the country. In 2004, Mr. Murphy received the Charles Hamilton Houston Award for Lifetime Achievement in Litigation from the University of Baltimore School of Law in "recognition of his career of excellence, innovation and achievement in courtroom advocacy."


Laurie Shanks

Laurie Shanks

Laurie Shanks has been a criminal defense attorney for almost 40 years. In addition, she is an Emerita Clinical Professor of Law at Albany Law School, where she taught Client Interviewing and Counseling, Fact Investigation, Negotiations and Trial Practice and Advocacy courses. She served on the New York Task Force on the Future of Indigent Defense and the Task Force on Wrongful Convictions. She is a faculty member at the National Criminal Defense College and is a frequent lecturer at conferences and seminars throughout the country on the topics of cross-examination in cases of child sexual abuse, opening statements and closing arguments, voir dire, client interviewing and counseling, trial preparation and client-centered representation.

Laurie has substantial and wide-ranging experience in criminal justice systems in the United States and abroad. She was invited to Tula Russia to assist judges and attorneys in the implementation of a jury system in criminal trials. She taught a comparative Trial Practice class in Paris, France and was invited to be one of the plenary speakers at the Pacific Judicial Council in Pohnpei, Micronesia. Additionally, she has provided extensive training to the attorneys and investigators at the Guam Public Defenders Office and will be teaching at the University of Chile in Santiago as a Fulbright Specialist in October 2018.


Margarita Silva

Margarita Silva

Margarita Silva is a partner at Silva & Fontes in Phoenix, focusing in the areas of immigration (deportation defense and family immigration) and criminal defense (federal, state, municipal courts). Ms. Silva is involved in various professional and community service organizations, serving as member of the Arizona State Bar delegation to the ABA House of Delegates, 2008 - Current; St. Joseph's Hospital Community Board 2012 – Current (Chair, Medical Staff Relations Committee); Criminal Justice Act Panel Review Committee (2010-2017); American Immigration Lawyer's Association, the National Immigration Project, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the State Bar Immigration Section. Ms. Silva serves as a judge pro tempore in the Guadalupe Municipal Court and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. She is frequently invited to present on the topic of immigration to attorneys, professional organizations and community groups. Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Silva was an assistant public defender in Maricopa County, Arizona.


Justin Strekal

Justin Strekal

Justin Strekal is the Political Director for NORML, where he serves as an advocate to end the federal prohibition of marijuana and to reform our nation's laws to no longer treat marijuana consumers as second-class citizens. Before working on drug policy, he focused on tax, wage, and campaign finance reform as well as managed electoral campaigns throughout the country for positions in every level of government.


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