Speaker Bios

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 just-published 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.

Jamie Balagia

Jamie Balagia

Jamie Balagia is "the Dude" and heads up the firm's trial sections in both the Austin and San Antonio offices. Jamie tries criminal cases in State and Federal Court unless the prosecutors "make an offer we can't refuse". They encourage clients to fight the charges against them unless the prosecutors offer an alternative that is acceptable to the clients. They always use due diligence to make sure that the case against clients has a legitimate basis in fact and law. In other words, they make sure that there is no other way out of the case than a trial or a plea bargain.

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.

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.

Mark E. Edwards

Mark E.Edwards

Mark Edwards is a partner in the firm of Edwards & Trenkle, PLLC in Durham, NC. He attended law school at UNC-Chapel Hill and did his best to make the top two-thirds of his class look good. He graduated in 1985 and moved to Florida where he worked as Assistant Public defender in Florida until December 1990. He then took a job as an Assistant Public Defender in Durham and worked in that position for three years before going into private practice. He is a life member of both the NORML Legal Committee and the NACDL. His is a Board Certified Specialist in Federal and State Criminal Law by the NC Bar. He has lost more cases than he has won, but he has also successfully represented a number of clients who received acquittals or convictions on lesser offenses. Three of his more notable acquittals occurred in the following cases: a RICO case representing the Second Crown of the Latin Kings of NC, a triple homicide case, and a felony animal cruelty case involving a PETA employee. He also represented three NC death row inmates on post-conviction whose sentences were commuted to life imprisonment.

Michael R. Elliott

Michael Elliott

Michael Elliott is an attorney specializing in cannabis policy and politics. Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Elliott made his career running political campaigns, including the 2010 campaign that defeated a proposed ban of medical marijuana centers in El Paso County (Colorado Springs). After that victory, Mr. Elliott was hired to be the Executive Director of the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG), a trade association of licensed marijuana businesses based in Denver, Colorado. MIG’s mission was to build a comprehensive and robust regulatory framework for licensed cannabis sales in Colorado. In that role, Mr. Elliott facilitated hundreds of marijuana industry meetings about all manner of policy and political topics, oversaw the trade groups lobbying activities at the Colorado General Assembly, Marijuana Enforcement Division, and the City of Denver, represented the trade group on numerous task forces, and was a lead industry spokesperson interviewed over one-thousand times by local, state, national, and international media, including the Denver Post, Colorado Statesman, MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, C-SPAN, CCTV, and Al Jazeera. Mr. Elliott has also spoken on dozens of conference panels about marijuana policy.

Recently, Mr. Elliott started MRE Legal Consulting, and is assisting clients with marijuana policy matters and political campaigns.

Rachel K. Gillette

Rachel Gillette focuses her practice on marijuana/cannabis business licensing and regulatory compliance, business law and transactions, contract drafting and review, civil litigation, corporate formation, and tax matters, including audit representation. She has vast experience in representation of cannabis and hemp businesses, having represented state and locally licensed marijuana and hemp businesses in Colorado since 2010.

Ms. Gillette also regularly represents clients before the IRS's Examinations, Appeals, and Collections Divisions, including marijuana businesses facing the challenges of IRS adjustments under 280E. She has successfully protested local, state and federal tax deficiencies in behalf of her clients, having prevented hundreds of thousands of dollars in incorrectly assessed taxes, interest, and penalties. She can assist individual and business taxpayers in 280E proposed assessments, offers in compromise, audit examinations, innocent spouse claims, sales, use, and employment tax matters, trust fund tax penalty assessments, penalty abatement's, and levy releases.

Ms. Gillette received her Juris Doctorate from the Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, Connecticut, where she served as Associate Editor of the Quinnipiac University Probate Law Journal. During law school, she interned with the New Haven Public Defender's office, where she developed her commitment to advocacy for those facing the many challenges of the criminal justice system.

Through her current work with cannabis and hemp businesses in a highly regulated industry, Ms. Gillette remains committed to ending the prohibition of cannabis at the national level and ensuring state licensed and legal marijuana businesses are fairly taxed and regulated.

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.

Robert Hoban

Robert Hoban

Bob Hoban is the Managing Partner at Hoban Law Group, the nation's premier cannabusiness law firm, with attorneys in over a dozen states and abroad. Bob is recognized as one of the leading commercial cannabis practitioners nationwide; representing private and publicly-held clients in numerous states and abroad. He has litigated nearly every aspect of Colorado's Marijuana Code and has closed over 300 marijuana-related business transactions. Marijuana and hemp-based business operations, related litigation and regulatory counsel are a specialty. He is an AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney and seasoned full-service commercial practitioner.

Bob is a professor at the University of Denver, in the Law and Society Program, and regularly instructs regarding government regulations, public policy and research-based policy courses. He has also drafted more than 30 bills for the Colorado General Assembly (eminent domain/land use, hemp/marijuana and transportation.

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.

Raza Lawrence

Raza Lawrence

Raza Lawrence graduated from Harvard Law School in 2003, where he served as an executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. From November 2004 to July 2009, Raza worked as an associate in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, where he practiced general litigation, with extensive experience representing individuals, corporations and law firms in cases involving allegations of legal malpractice, employment discrimination, wage-and-hour infractions, products liability, securities fraud, stock options backdating, and First Amendment violations.

Raza received his undergraduate degree with majors in philosophy and physics from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and received the Steven Schwarzschild Prize in Philosophy. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Raza completed a clerkship with the Honorable Morris Sheppard Arnold of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Raza has a longstanding interest in protecting civil liberties and individual rights, and has previously worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, the Cato Institute, and the Center for Individual Rights. He grew up in Madison, Wisconsin.

Allison Margolin

Allison Margolin

Allison Margolin is one of the leading attorneys in criminal defense and cannabis regulatory law in California. She has been practicing for over a decade. Allison is known for being both caring and tenacious, and has represented medical marijuana clients and criminal defense clients since graduating from Harvard Law. Allison has been recognized by her peers as a SuperLawyer Rising Star 7+ times, most recently in 2017.

Now that Prop 64 has been passed, Allison also counsels clients on regulatory compliance (obtaining permitting and licenses, zoning) in addition to her criminal defense practice. Allison has been featured in numerous publications including The San Francisco Chronicle, The LA Times, LA Weekly, The New Yorker, and Hustler as an expert in the cannabis field.

An active member of NORML, Allison counsels her MMJ business clients on navigating state and local law in a dynamic legal landscape. She has also successfully defended some of the highest profile criminal cases in California, and maintains a broad and active practice in both State and Federal Court.

Peter Mazzone

Peter Mazzone earned his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Massachusetts in 1988, and his J.D. from Seattle University in 1995. Following law school, he became a staff attorney at the Snohomish County Public Defenders Association where he practiced for five years before co-founding the law firm of Phillips and Mazzone, Lawyers in Everett, WA in 2001. Since then the firm has evolved to become the Mazzone Law Firm, PLLC. In the last two decades Peter Mazzone has become a distinguished criminal defense lawyer and is one of only a select group of lawyers who are qualified to handle death penalty cases. He has lectured on various topics of criminal defense strategies to other practicing attorneys and has earned a reputation of being a well-respected and highly skilled litigator in both State and Federal Courts.

Kyndra S. Miller

Kyndra S. Miller

Kyndra Miller obtained her undergraduate degree from UC San Diego in 1994 and her law degree from the Lincoln School of Law in 2002. She worked as a volunteer lawyer for Americorps before opening her own law firm specializing in entertainment law in Los Angeles. Today she is part of the Pier 5 group of lawyers in San Francisco, providing business, corporate and civil litigation services to medical marijuana patients in CA. She is dedicating her time, energy and spiritual resources to educating the public about the dangers of prohibition and the benefits of marijuana and industrial hemp. Miller is the West Coast coordinator of the NORML Women's Alliance.

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.

David Sloane

David Sloane is the premier marijuana defense attorney defending Felony cultivation, delivery and hash/concentrate and THC cases statewide; and Misdemeanor possession cases throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Currently, a great deal of his practice is focused of defending "Highway Drug Interdiction Cases" throughout the Texas Plains and Panhandle. He is an aggressive Criminal Trial Lawyer handling both State and Federal criminal cases with principal offices located in Fort Worth, Texas. David Sloane has a 90% sucess rate in cased tried to verdict in Jury Trials. He aggressively asserts medical necessity and challenges unlawful police detentions and searches. He has been recognized as a "Freedom Fighter" in an article by High Times Magazine. He is an active member of American Trial Lawyer's Top 100 Trial Lawyers with a declared specialty in Criminal Law. He is a member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyer's Association, National Criminal Defense Lawyer's Association and the State Bar College. He has been a member of the National NORML Legislative Committee since 1997 and a sitting board member of DFW NORML since 2010.

Dan Viets

Dan Viets

Dan Viets is an attorney in private practice in Columbia, MO, concentrating on the defense of marijuana cases. He has served for many years as the Missouri State Coordinator for NORML. He is a former president of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, former chair of the board of the Mid-Missouri ACLU, former president of the University of Missouri student body and former chair of the City of Columbia Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Viets was the recipient of the 1993 Martin Luther King Association's "Keeping the Dream Alive" award and the 1995 Mid-Missouri "Civil Libertarian of the Year." Dan was named High Times Freedom Fighter of the Month in March, 2005 for his work helping to pass both a marijuana decriminalization initiative and a medical marijuana initiative in the November, 2004 election in Columbia. He received the 2005 Atticus Finch Outstanding Criminal Defense Lawyer award from the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In January, 2006 he received the Trailblazer award from the Mid-Missouri NAACP. He received the "Audiencey Award" from Conan O'Brien on the Tonight Show for looking most like the college professor who could always get you weed.

Dan hosts a weekly radio program, called "Sex, Drugs and Civil Liberties", on a community station affiliated with National Public Radio. He is Chair of the Board of Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, the group which intends to place an initiative taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol on the November 2016 ballot in Missouri.

Jeffrey S. Weiner

Jeffrey S. Weiner

Jeffrey Weiner has been practicing criminal defense since 1974. Jeff's law firm, Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., is based in Miami, Florida. Jeff is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He has argued trials and appeals throughout the nation in over 25 states, and before the United States Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court, and numerous state and federal courts of appeal.

Jeff is a former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Bar Criminal Courts Committee and of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers' Criminal Law Section. He is a Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers and a former Regent and Faculty member of the National Criminal Defense College. Jeff is a recipient of NACDL's highest honor, the Robert C. Heeney Award, awarded "to the one criminal defense attorney who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association, and the legal profession".

Jeff has authored peer-reviewed articles for The Champion and is a co-author of the Federal Criminal Rules & Codes plus, now in its eighth edition. He also wrote the preface to the best-selling book by Massad Ayoob, "Deadly Force – Understanding Your Rights to Self Defense." Jeff lectures regularly on criminal law related topics and legal ethics at law schools and legal seminars around the country.

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