I am a shareholder of the Denver-based cannabis law firm McAllister Garfield, P.C., and have been practicing corporate/transactional and regulatory law in the cannabis industry since 2013. I am licensed in Colorado (1995) and Oregon (2017).
Given the growing maturation of the industry, NCBA should continue industry advocacy, but should place more emphasis on the “meat and potatoes” of practicing law in the cannabis industry, be it regulatory law, transactional work, employment law, or all the other areas where cannabis is relevant. In my experience, most attorneys who practice in the industry (including me) need more assistance with the actual practice of law, including drafting and litigation tips, along with keeping up with the latest regulatory changes.
NCBA should continue to assist with pro bono matters where feasible. For example, in 2014, I handled the pro bono appeal of In re Arenas, the first appellate case to determine whether participants in the cannabis industry may seek federal bankruptcy protection. NCBA should file amicus briefs as much as possible.
I have extensive experience serving on the board of a professional organization. When I practiced bankruptcy law full time, I served on the board of the Turnaround Management Association, both at the local chapter (as president) for five years and at the global level (as a board member) for two years. I have also organized and served on CLE panels on cannabis issues in Colorado.
More specific to cannabis law, when the Colorado Supreme Court was considering changes to the rules of professional conduct, I submitted materials to the court stressing the importance of allowing attorneys to ethically represent the industry; I also drafted a public letter for non-attorney industry participants to sign urging the court to permit attorneys to represent cannabis clients. In 2016, I served on the working group for the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division that considered new rules that opened up capital sources for the industry, such as out of state ownership, private equity, and IP royalties.