One of the founding members of Bennabis Health knows first hand, as a patient diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis in 2013, how vital medical cannabis can be for patients. When Anne was told of the MS drug regimen she would be required to use and the monitoring she would undergo to check whether that regimen was otherwise harming her physiology, she opted to forego that regimen and use cannabis instead. From then until now she continues to do very well medically and her physician, who opposed her decision initially, now tells her she made a good decision. But that decision came with a cost since Anne’s health insurance did not cover medical cannabis due to the federal government’s continued classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug. Bennabis Health is the solution to this problem for Anne and the many medical marijuana users like her. Bennabis Health is dedicated to filling the holes in the health insurance industry for medical cannabis patients and providing coverage for those patients left behind due to federal government restrictions.
Inspired by Anne’s story, Don Parisi, a long-time dispensary board member, former President of a health plan, and former New Jersey Deputy Attorney General for the Commissioner of Insurance, launched Bennabis Health to be the first program to provide medical marijuana users with coverage. Don and Anne have surrounded themselves with other professionals who share the same vision, including people with cannabis industry, health insurance, claims, legal and financial experience.
Pharmaceutical and healthcare executive for more than 30 years and former NJ dispensary Board member.
Founder of NJ Health Care Quality Institute, Cannabis Education & Research Institute, and former NJ dispensary Board Chair.
Kenneth P. Moritsugu MD, MPH, FACPM, RADM, USPHS (ret)
Physician, 37 year veteran of the US Public Health Service, and former Surgeon General of the United States.
Andre V. Duggin
Former AmeriChoice Director, experienced in risk, managed care, self-insurance and reinsurance.
Insurance executive for 25 years and a former Board member of a NJ dispensary.
Anne M. Davis, Esq.
Cannabis law industry expert with 20 years of litigation experience, most significantly in marijuana law and policy.
Cheryl Hannon Kriney, Esq.
Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel
Former Asst. General Counsel at Rider Insurance Company.
Lisa Gora, Esq.
VP Strategic Planning
Attorney specializing in Corporate, Healthcare, and Cannabis Law at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer.
Sharyn S. Lee, RN, MS
Chief Clinical Officer, VP Business Development
Leading healthcare expert, disruptive business strategist & healthcare entrepreneur.
Kelly Prol, CPA
Former Finance Director at Rider Insurance Company.
VP Network Relations
Former General Manager of a vertically-integrated New Jersey Alternative Treatment Center.
Chief Administrative Officer
30 years insurance industry operational experience.
Don Parisi has over 30 years experience in the insurance industry, 25 as an executive. Don has been President of a health plan and General Counsel to both property & casualty and health insurers, most recently at Rider Insurance Company. Everywhere he has been Don has created a culture of success that coworkers embrace. Don is a former member of the Board of Trustees of Compassionate Care Foundation (CCF), one of the original six Alternative Treatment Centers in New Jersey, providing medicinal cannabis for thousands of New Jerseyans. He formed Bennabis Health with colleagues from both Rider and CCF as well as other cannabis industry professionals and serves as its President.
Don was also a member of the Scotch Plains – Fanwood Board of Education for six years, past President of the Education Enrichment Foundation of Scotch Plains Fanwood and taught business law as an adjunct professor at Monmouth University.
Cheryl Hannon Kriney, Esq. has been working in the insurance sector in varying roles for 27 years. She has worked in insurance defense as both outside and inside counsel, most recently as Assistant General Counsel to Rider Insurance, a motorcycle insurance company, a role she grew into after establishing the company’s first in-house law firm to reduce litigation costs. Cheryl serves as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at Bennabis Health.
Cheryl started her career as a civil division judicial law clerk and has also taught research for Lexis-Nexis at New Jersey’s three law schools. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Administration of Justice and a B.A. in Sociology and earned her law degree at Pace University School of Law.
Outside of work, Cheryl is married with 3 children. The family has been Rutgers football season ticket holders for many years and can be found at home games cheering on their team. She also spends her time volunteering at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, NJ where she assists special needs children in an adaptive aquatics program.
Lauren Belfiore has over 30 years experience in the insurance industry with carriers, agencies and software vendors. Her background includes leadership roles in commercial lines, personal lines, product and program development. Lauren brings underwriting and risk management skills in addition to experience in managing information systems development and implementation to her position as VP of Underwriting and Systems Operations. Lauren holds a P&C license as well as the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation.
Prior to joining Bennabis, Lauren spent 15 years at Rider Insurance, a specialty motorcycle carrier, serving as its President for the last 5 years.
Outside of work, Lauren is married with 2 daughters. She and her family love to travel and are big Giants fans.
Silvia Reskow curated a thirty-year career in insurance claims and operations with Rider Insurance Company, a carrier specializing in providing coverage exclusively to the underserved – and too often maligned – motorcycling community. Initially hired to assist with clerical duties in the Claims Department and working part-time to accommodate her studies at Douglass College, Rutgers University, Silvia discovered an affinity for claim handling, business operations and people management. Her career progressed in claims and she became involved in every facet of claim handling as her management and operations aptitudes progressively evolved. After managing the Claims Department for over a decade, Silvia ultimately was appointed Director of Operations. While the majority of her career centered on claims, as a director, Silvia was responsible for the oversight and management of five business-diverse departments and general operations. She views communication as a key to success in any business and her B.A. in English from Douglass has proven invaluable in Silvia’s insurance career. Silvia holds a Property & Casualty license and serves Bennabis Health as Chief Administrative Officer.
As a specialty health care company, Bennabis Health is a new and inspiring opportunity for Silvia to tap into her expertise and once again serve the insurance needs of an underserved – and all too often maligned – community.
Rob Moroni is the COO and Secretary/Treasurer of the Compassionate Care Foundation of New Jersey (CCF). CCF is one of the original six licensees of the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program. Rob has been involved in all operations of CCF with the goal of providing critical medicine to NJ residents.
Rob has over 20 years experience in human resources and is also a CPA and a licensed insurance producer. Additionally, Rob is the Senior Executive of Shared Services Human Resources for Greenberg Traurig, a large international law firm. His background includes running an employee benefits consulting firm which he founded and then successfully merged into a prominent HR consulting firm, leadership roles in risk management, and being a strong presence in federal legislative and regulatory affairs. His expertise is in understanding both the business and social aspects of an enterprise. Rob has the perfect background to serve Bennabis as its Chief Risk Officer.
Rob has testified before the United States Energy and Commerce/Health Subcommittee on prescription drugs efficacy and has served on the board of directors and executive committee of The Leapfrog Group, which initiates breakthroughs in health care safety, quality and affordability.
Rob is currently an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Southern California and a frequent lecturer at Rutgers University. He has a Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, an MBA from the University of Detroit and a BS in Accounting from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.
Kelly Prol started her career in public accounting, earning her CPA license and MBA, along with her teaching certification. She has spent the majority of her career working in insurance, and eventually earned the title of Director of Finance at Rider Insurance Company. Kelly oversaw the insurance company’s statutory reporting, financial preparation, planning, and analysis. Kelly serves Bennabis as its VP of Finance.
Kelly is excited to be back working with a few of her former colleagues, and meeting new colleagues as they undertake a new business venture.
Outside of work Kelly is keeping busy with her three kids, and enjoying time with her family.
Cady Riley has been working within the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program since 2016. She began her cannabis industry career as a counselor and bookkeeper with Compassionate Care Foundation (CCF), one of New Jersey’s original six licensees. As the Program and CCF expanded Cady took on additional management roles in Operations and Finance, becoming the General Manager of the vertically-integrated “seed-to-sale” facility in Egg Harbor Township and its satellite dispensary in Atlantic City, NJ.
Cady assisted CCF with the sale of its license to a multistate operator, Acreage Holdings, and continued to oversee the New Jersey operations before transitioning to cannabis operational consulting. Cady now works from her home in Egg Harbor Township where she lives with her husband, daughter, and grandmother. As a cannabis industry consultant Cady is afforded the opportunity to be close to her family while continuing to assist medical cannabis patients in gaining safe access and understanding its benefits and risks. Cady serves Bennabis as its VP of Network Relations.
Mr. Agos comes to Bennabis Health with over 35 years in pharmaceutical company executive roles and was the Chief Strategic Development Officer of the America Diabetes Association (ADA). Over his healthcare career, he held roles in healthcare policy, public affairs, global strategic planning and patient advocacy with significant experience in medical marijuana dispensary management, medical marijuana patient care and board leadership of a medical marijuana dispensary.
Prior to his role with the ADA, John served as the Head of the North America Diabetes and Cardiovascular Global Public Affairs division for the Sanofi Company. During his 16 years with Sanofi, John served in several senior-level positions with an emphasis on patient health, U.S. policy, new product launch business strategy and U.S. Managed Markets.
John served on several corporate advisory councils and held committee seats on the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and The Endocrine Society. His memberships have included the Grandon Society with the Thomas Jefferson University College of Population Health, Board Leadership Council of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and board trustee of the Compassionate Care Foundation of New Jersey.
David Knowlton is the Chair and CEO of the Cannabis Education & Research Institute (CERI) and has been a leader on health care issues in New Jersey for the better part of four decades.
He founded the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, and as its President and CEO he has advocated for improved health care quality and the reduction of medical errors. David also founded and served as Executive Director of the Health Care Payers Coalition of New Jersey, a non-profit corporation representing business and labor organizations who provide healthcare. He was Chairman of The Leapfrog Group, a national group devoted to reducing medical errors, and directs Leapfrog’s revolutionary Hospital Safety Grade program. He also is a Director and Vice Chair of the HealthWell Foundation, a national foundation that provides copayment relief to needy persons with chronic disease.
David has served as a member of the National Quality Forum where he currently co-chairs the Neurology Measures Standing Committee. He was also the Chair of Compassionate Care Foundation, one of the original six medical cannabis vertically integrated alternative treatment centers in New Jersey. David was also the Deputy Commissioner of Health for the State of New Jersey during the administration of Governor Tom Kean.
Anne M. Davis, Esq. has been practicing law for 20 years. For the past 12 years, she has been recognized as one of the state’s leading experts in marijuana law and policy. In that role, Davis has presented workshops and seminars nationally about marijuana law reform. Since her diagnosis with MS, she has dedicated her skills and experience to create programs and expand access for medical marijuana patients. As part of that mission, she is a Patient Advocate for Bennabis Health, the first health care company in the nation covering medical marijuana.
As a community leader, Anne serves as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) working with foster children; she teaches CCD at her local Church, and has served as a Girl Scout leader for 11 years. Anne was recognized as a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts at their annual Gala in 2020. Working with children, keeping them safe and giving them the best opportunities possible are some of her top priorities.
Lisa Gora is a healthcare attorney whose practice focuses on the representation of healthcare professionals as well as medical practices and other healthcare entities such as substance use treatment facility centers, mental health facilities, long term care facilities, and medicinal cannabis alternative treatment centers. Her healthcare background naturally intersects with the cannabis industry, another highly regulated industry which she regularly navigates and monitors from a legal perspective. Lisa’s experience ranges from reviewing and analyzing the ever evolving state laws in the cannabis legal landscape to navigating the complex federal hemp regulations of the FDA. She frequently provides lectures on issues of ownership in such entities and the related corporate considerations. Lisa is the in-coming Chair of the Cannabis Law Section and Health Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association.
Lisa was Editor in Chief of the first edition of “Health Care and the Business of Cannabis: Legal Questions and Answers,” a first-of-its-kind project published by the American Health Law Association, which offers insight on the interplay between medical marijuana and the health care industry, as well as related information on legal and practical considerations in connection with business opportunities surrounding medicinal marijuana and its by-products. She also co-authored “Medical Marijuana: State and Federal Law Thickets and Practical Implications” in the Health Law Handbook, published by Thomson Reuters, May 2020.
Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu is an internal medicine physician with specialties in public health and preventive medicine. A 37-year veteran of the US Public Health Service, he is a former Surgeon General of the United States. He was a Vice President of the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Solutions, and Worldwide Chairman of the J&J Diabetes Institutes, and most recently served as the Interim Chief Science and Medical Officer of the American Diabetes Association. The President and CEO of First Samurai Consulting, LLC, a firm focused on putting the patient at the center of everything we do, he is extensively involved in health policy and application, and medical device start-up companies, and has served on numerous commercial and non-profit boards.
Andre V. Duggin founded AV Consultants, Inc. (AVC) in 1982 and developed it into a leading commercial insurance consulting, risk management and brokerage firm.
Andre served as Director of AmeriChoice Corporation, one of the nation’s premiere healthcare organizations operating in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, specializing in managed care programs for Medicaid and Medicare programs, from 1995 until it was sold to United Health Group in 2002.
He created AVI Specialty Group in 2011, to serve as the nation’s premier minority controlled wholesale insurance broker in the placement of sophisticated commercial property and casualty products. He is currently the majority stockholder and Chairman of the Board of AVI.
Andre is a member of the Barnes Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts; serves on the National Constitution Center Board; serves on the Board of Trustees for the Jazz at the Lincoln Center; and a member of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress.