NCET Special Event – Cannabis Commerce: The Business of Marijuana – Feb 28

Wednesday, February 28:  11:00 am – 1:30 pm

Atlantis Casino Resort Hotel

In this special panel luncheon, NCET takes you behind-scenes to look at the business of Northern Nevada’s cannabis industry.  Our panel includes a grower, distributor and retailer, along with an experienced attorney, who explore the economics of marijuana, and how sometimes conflicting local, state and Federal laws affect how and where they conduct business.

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Our panelists include:

Tray Abney, Managing Partner at The Abney Tauchen Group
Karena Dunn, Attorney at Larry K. Dunn & Associates
Steve Duque, Co-owner and VP of Greenleaf Wellness
Mark Pitchford, CEO at KYND Cannabis
Chad Strand, COO and Co-owner at Blackbird Logistics Corporation

Read speaker bios

NCET members may bring an unlimited number of guests at member prices. Join before you RSVP for this event and your savings will pay for some or all of your membership!  Join NCET now and save.

Wednesday, February 28
Networking:  11:00 am – Noon
Lunch and Program:  Noon  –  1:30 pm

•  Prices:  $40 – NCET members  /  $50 – General admission

NEW! Tables for 8 – includes premium location at front of room, table signage and recognition from the podium during the luncheon.

•  $320 – NCET members  /  $400 – General admission

NCET events have been selling out! RSVP early so you don’t miss this great event.

The Fine Print:

  • Advance reservations required. RSVP by 5 pm on Tuesday, February 27.  (Walk-in registration is not available.)
  • You are encouraged to pay in advance – there is a $10 service charge for payment at the door.
  • No-shows will be charged the full amount of the reservation unless cancelled at least 48 hours prior to the event.


Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
3800 S. Virginia Street
Reno NV 89502 (Map)

For more information about NCET or any of its events, please call (775) 453-0130 or


Tray Abney

Tray Abney is a partner in Abney Tauchen Group, a government and community affairs consulting firm.  He served as the Director of Government Relations for The Reno+Sparks Chamber of Commerce for over ten years.  He is still responsible for ensuring that the largest broad-based business organization in Northern Nevada has a voice at all levels of government, including city, county, state, and federal.  Tray has experienced six Nevada State Legislative Sessions (so far) and has been a key voice on business and taxation/government spending and efficiency issues in Carson City.  He has successfully helped steer critical bills to signature (and veto) and maintains great relationships with elected officials from throughout Nevada and on both sides of the political aisle.

Prior to joining the Chamber, Tray served as Legislative Director for Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons and spent four years working for Gibbons, including as a senior staff member in his Washington, DC congressional office.  During the 2007 Nevada Legislative Session, Tray was responsible for ensuring that the Governor’s agenda was approved by the Legislature and served as the Governor’s lobbyist in the legislative building.

Tray graduated summa cum laude from Missouri State University in 2003, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and Public Administration.  Tray received his Master of Arts Degree in Political Management from the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University in Washington, DC in 2005.

Tray currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Reno Civil Service Commission and the Truckee River Flood Control Project Needs Committee.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of Jobs for America’s Graduates-Nevada and Bristlecone Family Resources.

Tray currently resides with his wife, Dawn, and their son, Noah, in Reno.  His daughter, Katelyn, is attending the University of Arkansas.

Karena Dunn

Karena is a Nevada native, having lived in here since she was 9 months old and having graduated from both McQueen High School and University of Nevada, Reno, where she was a member of the National Debate Team and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications and minor in English.

She graduated from Thomas Cooley Law School in Grand Rapids Michigan, where she worked with the Ionia County Prosecutor’s Office and served as a peer tutor in areas of contracts, criminal law and constitutional law.

Beginning her professional legal career long before law school, Karena worked for Larry K. Dunn & Associates as a Law Clerk for seven years.  Additionally, she worked as the administrative Legal Assistant for Richard A. Gammick in the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office for six years, as well as serving as the Washoe County Community Outreach Coordinator.

As an attorney, she has taught Continuing Legal Education for the Washoe County Bar Association in DUI law, and she proudly practices law with her father, primarily practicing criminal defense, at Larry K. Dunn & Associates.

Karena has been happily married for twenty-four years to her husband, Randy, and they have two children, Anna Karena & Daniel.

Steve Duque

Steve DuqueSteve is co-owner and vice president of Greenleaf Wellness, Northern Nevada’s only family-owned and operated cannabis dispensary. In addition to the 3,200 square foot dispensary located in Sparks, Nev., Greenleaf operates its own 33,000 square foot grow house in close proximity.

 Greenleaf is the heartfelt endeavor of the Duque family—two generations of native Nevadans—who witnessed the lengthy suffering of a family member whose pain wasn’t being relieved by traditional medicine and pharmaceuticals. When the family member was introduced to cannabis, they found life-changing relief almost instantly.

From there, this entrepreneurial father, son and daughter team opened a fully integrated cannabis operation, now serving both medical and recreational clientele.

Mark E. Pitchford

Since 1996, Mark has been an industry man – the driving force behind the creation, design and operation over a dozen marijuana cultivation, dispensary, processing and management companies in both California and Nevada.

In 2014, Mark led a small leadership group in the assembly of a team of industry professionals with the goal of securing medical marijuana cultivation and production licenses in the heavily-regulated State of Nevada. In short order, the team developed and launched KYND Cannabis Company and today, KYND’s flower, concentrates, vape pens, CBD formulas, strong test results and edibles are one of the most recognizable marijuana brands in Nevada and are sold in over 30 dispensaries across the State.  Kynd Cannabis Company is also synonymous with compliance and often serves as a “touring and training” facility for multiple media outlets and government agencies including the Reno Gazette Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, the Nevada Department of Taxation, Washoe County Department Heads, City of Sparks, City of Sacramento, and Town of Truckee.

In addition to serving as the owner and CEO of Kynd, Mr. Pitchford is also one of the founding members and the driving force behind Mynt Cannabis Dispensary, the only dispensary located in the downtown Reno, Nevada entertainment district.  Mynt Cannabis Dispensary is a leader in compliance and one of two companies to have multiple dispensaries in the Reno/Tahoe area. Mark was an integral part of the company’s rapid development, progressing from concept to full fruition in just 12 months.  Mark is currently developing the second Mynt location in the burgeoning North Valley’s area of Reno and this location is set to open in 1st Quarter 2018.

Mr. Pitchford is also the president of KLYMB Project Management Inc., and has consulted on multiple industry-related operations and medical marijuana application processes across the country.  Additionally, Mark is an industry-partner in the non-profit organization Mainstream Marijuana Association.

Beyond his role as owner and CEO of both KYND Cannabis Company and Mynt Cannabis Dispensaries, Mr. Pitchford is a family man that is happily married and with two children and lives close to his parents. His experience and track record in the seed-to-sale marijuana business and life speak for themselves, and his expertise is evident in the continued success of his many business ventures:

– Kynd Cannabis Company, owner + CEO
– Mynt Cannabis Dispensary, owner + CEO
– Klymb Project Management Inc, founder
– Washoe Wellness, founder
– Tahoe-Reno Botanicals, founder
– Tahoe-Reno Extraction, founder

Chad Strand

Mr. Strand is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Blackbird Logistics Corporation. Mr. Strand has also been the Co-owner of Bootleg Courier Company in Reno, Nevada since its inception in the fall of 2008.

Bootleg Courier Company is a legal and medical delivery service operating in Northern Nevada. Bootleg services over 100 clients on a daily basis. The majority of Bootleg’s work includes legal filings and time sensitive document delivery. Bootleg is also licensed with the Private Investigators Licensing Board in the State of Nevada as a Server of Process. Bootleg has been licensed and in good standing with this government agency since 2012. Mr. Strand is also a licensed notary in the State of Nevada.

Bootleg Courier completes the majority of its deliveries via bicycle. After working as bicycle messengers in San Francisco and Seattle, Mr. Strand and his business partner (both Nevada natives) decided to open their own courier business in Reno. By watching the decline of the industry in major cities due to email and other electronic forms of communication, the two felt like they could pinpoint markets that would always need tangible goods delivered.  They also believed that a third tier market, like Reno, had many positive attributes for a company of this nature. With this knowledge, Bootleg Courier was born amidst the largest economic downturn in recent history.

Through perseverance and commitment to their business model and clients, Bootleg Courier has prevailed and come out on the other side of the recession with a dozen employees and a million dollars a year in revenue. It has also provided the launching pad for Mr. Conder’s new venture – Blackbird Logistics.

Bootleg Courier was approached with a purchase offer in 2014. Although the deal didn’t come to fruition at that time, Mr. Strand and his business partner formed a relationship with the two owners from the competing courier company. In 2015, when medical marijuana licenses were issued, the four decided to form a partnership to tackle delivery and transportation in this evolving new space. That partnership took the form of Blackbird Logistics Corporation.

As the first Medical Marijuana Establishments opened their doors at the end of 2015, Blackbird was there to facilitate product delivery across the state. With a combined 40 years of logistics experience in the legal and medical fields – the transition to marijuana and marijuana products was not immediate. The industry was slow to get its footing, and the differences between legal work/medical equipment and marijuana were greater than the four had originally suspected.  But as the industry began to gain steam, Blackbird got on solid ground. As a company, Blackbird developed proprietary software to facilitate delivery tracking and store required compliance documentation. Blackbird constantly and consistently revised its standard operating procedures, best practices and employee training to service the industry efficiently and protect the community in which it operates.

Mr. Strand and his team implemented the use of tracking devices in their vehicles and with product. They custom built coolers that not only keep products at their required temperatures but at a desired humidity as well. They refined their systems so that they could maintain the most cost effective service possible. And, they created processes to handle, transport, store and deliver large amounts of cash – the most dangerous and unanticipated byproduct of being a marijuana distributor.

To date, Blackbird Logistics has transported over 52 million dollars (20,000 deliveries) worth of marijuana and marijuana products without incident across the State of Nevada.  Blackbird has never lost a product due to a change in climate. Blackbird services over 75 cultivators and producers and all dispensaries in the State of Nevada. Mr. Strand is responsible for overseeing all of the daily operations – including staff management and client relations. Ultimately, he is responsible for the safe completion of each delivery.