The NORML Denver Legal Seminar has outstanding speakers from around the country presenting important topics such as: intellectual property, banking, litigation trends, taxation, and regulation.
Charlie Alovisetti is a partner and chair of the corporate department at leading national cannabis law firm Vicente LLP. Recognized by Chambers & Partners as one of the top cannabis lawyers in the United States, he is also co-author of The Business of Cannabis: Understanding Law, Finance, and Governance in America’s Newest Industry.
Charlie advises investors, companies, and other law firms on the nuances of executing corporate transactions involving licensed and ancillary cannabis companies. With experience working on licensed transactions in all major cannabis markets in the United States, he has a deep understanding of the state and local issues that commonly arise in stock and asset acquisitions and issues involved in management companies and other alternative structures. This experience and knowledge make him a vital resource for cannabis businesses and investors. Charlie also has experience counseling portfolio and emerging growth companies with respect to general corporate and commercial matters and compensation arrangements
Recognized as a thought leader and experienced practitioner in the areas of cannabis M&A and financings, Charlie is an author, a frequent speaker at conferences, webinars and podcasts, and has participated in a number of working groups in Colorado related to the cannabis industry.
Sahar Ayinehsazian is a partner in Vicente LLP’s Los Angeles office. As a leading member of the firm’s Corporate Department, she guides multi-state operators in the cannabis industry in their expansion into new markets across the U.S. and advises businesses, investors, and other law firms on the nuances of executing corporate transactions involving licensed and ancillary cannabis companies. In 2023, Sahar was recognized by her peers in the “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch” list for her work in corporate law.
Prior to joining VS, Sahar served as the director of regulatory and governmental affairs at a multi-state money transmitter servicing the cannabis industry, where she developed a comprehensive understanding of credit card flow, banking and cannabis compliance. Using her specialized knowledge, Sahar established and currently chairs VS’s Banking and Financial Services Access practice. In addition to helping cannabis and cannabis-related businesses establish traditional banking relationships, she assists third-party payment providers with compliance related to state and federal cannabis banking guidelines.
As a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Banking & Financial Services Committee, Sahar works on strategy and educational advocacy to enable state-licensed businesses to obtain accounts at depository institutions. She is a go-to source for businesses, industry groups, and reporters seeking opinions, analysis, and guidance on cannabis and hemp corporate, banking and financial services matters.
Sahar holds a Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from the University of California, San Diego, and a law degree from Loyola Law School, where she was a Loyola Scholar.
Jennifer brings sophisticated experience as a tax attorney and former CPA to counsel businesses and individuals on emerging and complex tax controversy and litigation issues.
Jennifer handles high dollar value, sensitive tax matters with significant legal issues at stake for businesses and individuals. Drawing on experience as a tax accountant and as a tax lawyer, she is respected by clients for her ability to navigate complex situations and provide front-line protection with the goal of alleviating the stress clients experience when facing scrutiny from tax authorities.
In disputes with the IRS and state and local tax authorities, she is a deft, respected negotiator in reaching out-of-court solutions; and an ardent advocate, litigating issues to ensure her clients receive even-handed treatment.
Clients appreciate Jennifer’s straightforward, no-nonsense approach to tax planning: keep it simple and don’t make things harder than they need to be. She helps clients plan and implement proactive tax strategies to protect their assets and achieve their business and financial goals.
Jennifer is also a sought-after expert witness on complex tax issues, providing opinions in federal and state court litigation as well as arbitrations.
Bringing clarity to the hazy area of federal and state taxation of cannabis businesses, Jennifer counsels cannabis industry clients and their business advisors on tax strategy and filings, and how to navigate income, excise, and state tax audits, including IRC Section 280E adjustments and challenges.
Before joining Holland & Hart, Jennifer practiced at two Am Law 100 firms and a mid-sized Denver firm.
Named one of America’s Top 100 Attorneys and one of the Top 100 Criminal Trial Lawyers by the American College of Trial Lawyers, Joseph Bondy is an internationally-recognized expert in criminal litigation. With over 25 years of superlative trial and federal sentencing experience, Bondy has advised thousands of clients in complex criminal defense, cannabis business and advocacy, and crisis management matters. The New York Times has described him as “eloquent and armed with the serene demeanor of a surgeon,” saying that “his oratorical intensity hovers at the evangelical.” High Times dubbed Bondy “one of the nation’s preeminent cannabis attorneys,” and his outstanding talent for defense strategy has been hailed by such outlets as CNN, Politico, and New York Law Journal, as well as legal analysts from around the world. Bondy’s unique approach to criminal defense and public media strategies were particularly praised on a global level while he represented Lev Parnas, a Guiliani associate connected to the Ukraine scandal leading to Donald Trump’s first impeachment. Bondy and Parnas’ interview on The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC) was its highest audience-drawing episode of all time, earning an Emmy nomination; and a subsequent feature on Anderson Cooper 360 was one of that program’s most-viewed episodes of the year.
Bondy serves on the Board of Directors for NORML and is a Vice President and Board Member of the Cannabis Cultural Association (CCA). A graduate of Columbia University and Brooklyn Law School, Bondy was a leading member of a team of attorneys on the seminal case Washington v Barr (2019), originally Washington v Sessions (2017), which took action against the Department of Justice with the aim to legalize cannabis federally. He is the founder of In The Know 420, a well-known podcast on cannabis law, policy and industry. Bondy is also a lifetime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and serves on the faculty of Cardozo Law School’s Intensive Trial Advocacy Program (ITAP).
Hilary Bricken is a partner at Harris Bricken in its Los Angeles office. Licensed in California, Washington, and Florida, she is one of the premier cannabis business and regulatory attorneys in the United States. As chair of Harris Bricken’s Regulated Substances practice group, Hilary helps cannabis companies of all sizes with their legal issues.
Every year since 2014, Hilary has been named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine, and in 2022 Hilary was named as a Top 50 Up and Coming Woman Rising Star for Southern California. In 2015, the Puget Sound Business Journal selected Hilary for its Top 40 Under 40 list for business and leadership, and in 2017 the American Bar Association named her a Top 40 Under 40 “On the Rise” attorney in the United States. In 2018, Hilary was honored by National Law Journal as a “Cannabis Law Trailblazer.” In 2022, Hilary was named by Chambers as a Band 1 cannabis business attorney in California. In addition, Hilary was a columnist for Above the Law from 2015 until 2019 where she featured content on cannabis policy and regulation. Hilary is a regular contributor to and editor of her firm’s Canna Law Blog.
Barak Cohen is co-chair of Perkins Coie’s Cannabis industry group, which he established, a partner in the firm’s White Collar & Investigations practice, and the lead for commercial litigation in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Barak has significant experience representing companies in the cannabis, CBD, CBG, and hemp industries, including companies seeking to do business in the food and beverage industry, investment banks, financial payment processors, and dispensaries, among others. Barak identified the growth potential in the cannabis industry at an early stage and has been a go-to attorney for companies in the space. Barak is a former Army officer (West Point) and prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice. Barak is the editor of the American Bar Association’s forthcoming treatise on cannabis law, a first-of-its-kind publication. He is a current member of the Board of Directors of the US Cannabis Council, and is a former member of the policy council for the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA).
David is Canopy Growth’s Vice President of Global Government Relations. Prior to assuming the global role within Canopy, David led our U.S. Government and Stakeholder Relations, bringing over 20 years of experience from Capitol Hill to the Canopy team. David is integral to Canopy’s pursuit of ending prohibition and unleashing the full potential of cannabis globally.
Before beginning his tenure with Canopy Growth, David spent 16 years as Vice President of Government Affairs for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and has worked on a number of campaigns for Senators Robert C. Byrd, Tom Daschle, J. Robert Kerrey, and Ben Nelson.
David is also the host of Canopy Growth’s podcast, Under The Canopy, where he pulls back the curtains to give our audience an insider’s view as we march towards federal permissibility in the United States and takes on captivating current events from around the world.
David N. Feldman is the Managing Partner of Feldman Legal Advisors PLLC. He concentrates his law practice on corporate and securities law and mergers and acquisitions, as well as general representation of public and private companies, entrepreneurs, investors, and private equity and venture capital firms. David has represented a wide range of clients in the legal cannabis and psychedelics industries since 2013. He provides guidance on private placements, public offerings, loan structuring and fund formation for cannabis companies, as well as corporate structuring advice and applications for grow, processing and dispensary licenses. He also advises on risk assessment issues for large, multinational businesses seeking to enter the cannabis industry. The global guide Chambers & Partners ranked Mr. Feldman as a leading US attorney in cannabis law and one of only seven US lawyers in “band 1” for corporate and transactional work in the industry. In addition, the National Law Journal named him a “Cannabis Law Trailblazer” and Business Insider named him as a top lawyer in the cannabis industry. He has also been listed for the last three years in the Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers published by Cannabis Law Digest. David is the former team lead of an AmLaw 100 firm’s 60-attorney Cannabis Industry Group.
David also advises emerging growth companies in a range of industries with regard to alternatives to traditional financing through initial public offerings, and is considered an authority on public offerings through SEC Regulation A+. He published a book on that subject, called Regulation A+ and Other Alternatives to a Traditional IPO (John Wiley & Sons), in 2018. David has also published The Entrepreneur’s Growth Startup Handbook: 7 Secrets to Venture Funding and Growth Success (2013) and the award-winning Reverse Mergers and Other Alternatives to a Traditional IPO (First Edition 2006, Second Edition 2009).
Morgan Fox is the Political Director at NORML, focusing on congressional lobbying and changing federal cannabis laws. As a professional cannabis policy reform advocate since 2008, Morgan has been directly involved in dozens of successful state ballot initiative campaigns to establish medical and adult use cannabis programs, as well as legislative victories at the local, state, and federal levels. He has been featured in hundreds of print, radio, television, and online publications. Morgan was most recently the Media Relations Director and chief spokesperson for the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) before joining NORML, and spent nearly a decade at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) prior to that. He lives in Washington, DC, and when he’s not working to end prohibition and repair the damage it has caused, he can usually be found exploring the numerous parks and playgrounds of our nation’s capital with his children.
Rachel Gillette is a leading cannabis-focused lawyer who helps clients nationwide proactively plan and implement strategies to capitalize on strategic business opportunities.
At the vanguard of the marijuana industry, Rachel leverages more than a decade of experience guiding clients to establish, expand, and protect profitable businesses in a rapidly-evolving legal, regulatory, and financial environment.
From years of interacting with regulators and taxing authorities Rachel knows how state and local provisions will be applied in practice and what clients can anticipate at every step of the licensing process and beyond. She vigorously protects clients’ interests in tax audits and deficiency assessments at the state and local level, as well as IRC §280E adjustments.
Clients value Rachel’s ability to distill complex, often overwhelming information, into a prioritized plan of action. As a strategic advisor, she helps clients prepare and get positioned to seize opportunities, like starting operations in newly legalized states, scale businesses into multiple jurisdictions, or launch new brands and products.
Rachel’s clients range from individual entrepreneurs and investors, to start-ups to publicly traded companies with operations in one or multiple states in cannabis and cannabis-adjacent businesses. Domestic and international entities exploring cannabis business opportunities turn to Rachel for pragmatic, industry-savvy counsel as they evaluate potential options. Rachel also serves as an expert witness on legal and regulatory issues involving hemp, marijuana, CBD, and other cannabinoids.
Before she joined Holland & Hart, Rachel was a partner at Greenspoon Marder, serving as Chair of the firm’s Cannabis Law practice and as a member of the Management Committee.
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.
Mike leads Armanino’s Cannabis Tax group. A tax professional since 1989, he has significant experience in federal, state and local tax from both an accounting and legal perspective. He spent time with multiple Big 4 firms, including serving in KPMG’s Washington National Tax Office, and has worked with cannabis companies both large and small in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Colorado.
He advises cannabis clients on a broad range of issues that affect the space, including mergers and acquisitions, loan structuring, and funding mechanisms from venture capital, private equity and investment banking. Mike provides guidance on cannabis technology, manufacturing, transportation and retail issues, and literally wrote the book on Cannabis Taxation for Thomson Reuters.
Mike is the contributing editor of Cannabis Taxation, a 250-page treatise for Thomson Reuters, discussing the 33 states that tax cannabis sales. He is a member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, the National Cannabis Industry Association and the California Cannabis Association, which nominated him for their CPA of the Year award for 2019. He holds a B.S. in mathematics and psychology from the University of Alabama, a J.D. from Cumberland Law, and a Masters of Tax Law from Emory Law School.
Scottie Gordon is Vice President of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs at Curaleaf, Inc., a leading vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operator with a mission to improve lives by providing clarity around cannabis and confidence around consumption. Previously, she was Chief Operating Officer of a medical marijuana facility in Massachusetts. A graduate of Michigan State University and New England School of Law, Scottie worked at a Boston law firm where she primarily advised clients on corporate, licensing, regulatory and compliance matters.
Shawn Hauser is a partner at Vicente LLP and co-chair of the firm’s Hemp and Cannabinoids Department as well as a leader in the firm’s psychedelics and emerging therapies practice. Shawn helps cannabis, hemp, and psychedelics businesses navigate the intersections between state and federal law including cannabis and psychedelics laws and food and drug laws as they evolve. Her practice includes regulatory compliance, licensing, general business representation, investment, policy reform and strategic guidance to best position businesses for success at the at state, national, and international levels.
With more than a decade of experience in cannabis law and policy, Shawn is a go-to source for businesses, industry groups, governments, and reporters seeking opinions, analysis, and guidance. Shawn has presented cannabis law and policy to many local, federal, and international agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and UK Parliament. She is on the Board of Directors of the International Cannabis Bar Association, and was on the steering committee for the American Hemp Campaign, a project of Vote Hemp which was instrumental in legalizing hemp in Texas in 2019. In 2023, Shawn was recognized by her peers in the “Best Lawyers” list for her work in cannabis law. In 2021 and 2022, Shawn was recognized by Chambers and Partners as one of the top cannabis lawyers in the United States. She has been named one of “Denver’s Top Lawyers” by 5280 magazine since 2015 and was listed in Denver Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2021.
Since directing Sensible Colorado’s local government implementation team following the passage of Amendment 64, Shawn remains active in policy work with local and state governments in Colorado and Texas and is passionate in supporting the development and implementation of cannabis, hemp, and psychedelics regulations that advance the cannabis industry in a dynamic and responsible manner. After attending law school at the University of Denver, Shawn was an associate attorney at McAllister, Darnell & Gottlieb PC, one of the first marijuana-focused law firms in Colorado.
Jan L. Jacobowitz is a legal ethics, social media, and technology expert who is the founder and owner of Legal Ethics Advisor. Jan provides legal ethics consulting, expert testimony, opinion letters, and CLE training to law firms and legal organizations. Recently, she has been involved in cases involving issues such as attorney fees, conflicts of interest, the unauthorized practice of law, and consulting on innovative collaborations to provide legal services.
For over a decade, she was the Director of the Professional Responsibility and Ethics Program (PREP) at the University of Miami’s School of Law. Under Jan’s direction, PREP was a 2012 recipient of the ABA’s E Smythe Gambrell Award—the leading national award for a professionalism program. She continues to teach professional responsibility as an Adjunct Professor at Miami Law.
Jan is a Past President of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) and the co-chair of its Future of Lawyering Committee (FOL). As a co-chair of FOL, Jan participates in the ongoing national conversation concerning rethinking attorney regulation to address issues of access to legal services, the unauthorized practice of law, and lawyers partnering with nonlawyers. She is one of the co-authors of APRL’s recent report and recommendation to amend ABA Rule 5.5 Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law.
Jan is currently the APRL liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Client Protection. Jan has previously served APRL’s liaison to the ABA’s Standing Committee on Professionalism and the ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility; She was APRL’s 2019-2020 liaison to the ABA’s Center for Professional Responsibility Coordinating Counsel.
Jan is the co-author of the book, Legal Ethics and Social Media, A Practitioner’s Handbook, the second edition of which was published in October 2022. She is among the first law school faculty throughout the country to teach Social Media and the Law.
Jan also co-developed and teaches Mindful Ethics: Professional Responsibility for Lawyers in the Digital Age, which served as the catalyst for the book that she co-authored, Mindfulness & Professional Responsibility—Incorporating Mindfulness into the Law School Curriculum.
Jan served as one of five members of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and the Public Trust from 2018-2020. She was the Vice Chairman of Broward County’s Committee on Oversight of the Inspector General from 2011 until May 2018.In 2018, Jan was nominated and then invited to become an American Bar Foundation Fellow, which is “a global honorary society of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession and to the welfare of their communities. Membership in the Fellows is limited to one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. Fellows are recommended by their peers and elected by the Board of the American Bar Foundation.”
Jan has presented at hundreds of Ethics CLE Seminars and has been a featured speaker or panelist on topics such as Legal Ethics in Social Media and Advertising, Lawyer’s First Amendment Rights, Cultural Awareness in the Practice of Law, Cybersecurity, Mindful Ethics, Litigation Funding, eDiscovery, Conflicts of Interest, the Unauthorize Practice of Law, Attorney Fees, Lawyer Well-Being, and Cannabis Law. She has also authored law review and journal articles in many of these areas.
Prior to devoting herself to legal education and legal ethics consulting, Jan practiced law for over twenty years. She began her career as a Legal Aid attorney in the District of Columbia; prosecuted Nazi war criminals at the Office of Special Investigations of the U.S. Department of Justice; and was in private practice with general practice and commercial litigation firms in Washington and Miami.
Jan has a J.D. from George Washington University and a B.S. in Speech from Northwestern University. She is an active member of the Florida Bar, the D.C. Bar and the California Bar. She is also a certified civil court mediator. Jan and her family have made South Florida their home for the past 35 years.
A regulatory and transactional lawyer by background, Zack Kobrin is a nationally recognized leader in cannabis law. Having previously served as the Vice President and General Counsel for one of the largest cannabis companies in the U.S. and as the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for a publicly traded, multi-state cannabis company, Zack’s practice focuses on cannabis, marijuana, and hemp law. In his prior capacity, Zack was responsible for all corporate and regulatory legal matters, including transactional, banking, and insurance matters; as well as ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local government regulations. Zack was also a key member of the team that helped take his former company public on the Canadian Securities Exchange.
Zack’s practice involves advising clients on the evolving, complex legal and business issues impacting companies with interests in this heavily regulated industry, including all manner of corporate, real estate, and regulatory legal issues. He speaks frequently at business, legal, and industry events and advises a number of entities on areas such as business development and formation, as well as legal and regulatory and compliance issues in the emerging growth cannabis, marijuana, and hemp industries throughout the United States and international markets. Zack also advises clients on developing federal and state public policy matters and banking and insurance issues impacting clients in the cannabis, marijuana, and hemp industries.
Dominique Mendiola serves as the Senior Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division. Mendiola began her work in marijuana policy and regulation with MED in 2014. She previously served as the Division’s Deputy Director of Policy, Licensing and Communications. In this role, she managed rule-making, licensing and communications for the Division. She also conducted legal and policy analyses, monitored and advised on policy matters, facilitated stakeholder engagement, and served as the primary liaison between the Division and Governor’s Office and other state agencies. She also served as the on-camera spokesperson for the Division.
On July 5, 2018, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Mendiola as the state’s Director of Marijuana Coordination, where she provided cross-agency coordination and advised the Governor and regulators on Colorado’s adult-use and medical marijuana industries. She served in this role for the remainder of his term.
Mendiola received her political science degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2009, and her law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2012. Prior to joining the Marijuana Enforcement Division, she practiced law in Texas and Colorado with a focus in civil litigation.
Jesse Mondry is a key member of Harris Bricken’s litigation team. He has an extensive domestic and international litigation background and has represented clients from a wide range of industries in high stakes disputes. Jesse represents numerous clients in the cannabis industry and in August 2022 he won a complete defense verdict in an $8 million 10-day jury trial on behalf of a adult use cannabis client in complex dispute arising out of a failed multi-state cannabis business merger. Jesse came to Harris Bricken after practicing in Minnesota for a large law firm and clerking for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Dan Pabon is a longtime attorney and former Colorado state representative (2011-2019) with a proven history of working with stakeholders in diverse industries to navigate regulations and governance. As chief legal expert for Schwazze, Mr. Pabon handles matters concerning compliance, intellectual property, public policy and corporate citizenship, among others. He previously held the role of Vice President at Sewald Hanfling Public Affairs, where he worked with clients on lobbying, government affairs, business development and community engagement. Mr. Pabon earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado Law School.
Ed Perlmutter is a government relations attorney and general practitioner in Holland & Knight’s Denver and Washington, D.C., offices and a member of the Public Policy & Regulation Group.
Mr. Perlmutter is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, having served eight terms representing the Seventh Congressional District of Colorado. Before serving in the U.S. House, Mr. Perlmutter served in the Colorado State Senate for two terms, including two years as president pro tempore. There, he earned a reputation as a bipartisan bridge-builder and a champion of renewable energy and smart growth policies. Over the course of his political career, Mr. Perlmutter has developed many relationships at the federal, state and local levels across a broad range of subjects.
Prior to his political experience, Mr. Perlmutter was with a Denver-based law firm for more than 20 years, where he practiced business law with an emphasis in commercial litigation and Chapter 11 bankruptcies.
Aaron Poledna focuses his practice on patent procurement, intellectual property counseling, freedom to operate analysis, and portfolio development and strategy. Aaron has performed patent preparation and prosecution in a wide variety of technology areas including: semiconductor processing and fabrication, medical devices, aerospace, financial services and systems, and software systems. Aaron has represented both emerging companies and investors in the medical device industry from incubation through acquisition or IPO. He has experience with both domestic and foreign patent prosecution, as well as experience with strategic analysis and counseling for domestic and international portfolio development, management, enforcement and licensing.
Nabil helps clients navigate the ever-evolving patchwork of state, local, and federal requirements to start, maintain, and expand business operations across the nation. A passionate advocate for cannabis, Nabil has established connections and relationships with a range of industry stakeholders that he uses to assist clients in identifying, preparing for, and capitalizing on strategic business opportunities.
Nabil works with growers, operators, and distributors of marijuana as well as companies developing CBD-infused food and beverage and natural products.
Before joining Holland & Hart, Nabil practiced cannabis law as an associate at Greenspoon Marder LLP. He founded the first student National Cannabis Bar Association.
Aaron Smith is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the largest trade association representing legal cannabis businesses in the U.S. and the only one working to advance the industry on a national level.
Prior to launching NCIA, Aaron distinguished himself as a public advocate for marijuana policy reform — first under the auspices of a California-based medical cannabis advocacy group, Safe Access Now in 2005, and then as the California state policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project until founding NCIA in 2010. Aaron has successfully built coalitions with elected officials on both sides of the aisle in order to advance marijuana law reform legislation. Aaron’s opinion pieces have appeared in major newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, and he has been a frequent commentator on national television news networks. Originally from California, Aaron is currently based in Denver.
Dan Stanford is the senior member of Stanford And Associates with over 4 decades of jury trial experience. Dan is a nationally recognized expert in the prosecution of legal malpractice and malicious prosecution claims, and his practice is strictly limited to the representation of clients (plaintiffs) in such cases. He was one of the original California Certified Specialists in legal malpractice law, and Dan previously served as a Commissioner on the CA State Bar Board of legal Specialization.
However, he was trained during the first 16 years of his career on the defense side, first as a partner at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, and then as a partner at Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro. Dan graduated from law school in 1975 from the USC Law Center, and, prior to joining Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, served for two years as the law clerk to the Hon. Malcolm M. Lucas (Former Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court).
Dan has been consistently profiled in Southern California Super Lawyers, selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America, named by California Lawyer as one of the leading plaintiff’s legal malpractice attorneys in California, recognized in San Diego Magazine as the top legal malpractice firm in San Diego, and honored as one of the Top 25 Lawyers in San Diego. For three decades he has received the highest possible ranking of “AV Preeminent” from Martindale Hubbell. He regularly lectures and publishes on the subject of legal malpractice, has appeared on radio and television programs, and has been profiled or quoted in numerous newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, San Diego Magazine and the California Lawyer.
Keith Stroup is a Washington, DC public-interest attorney who founded NORML in 1970. Stroup obtained his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Illinois in 1965, and in 1968 he graduated from Georgetown Law School in Washington, DC. Following two years as staff counsel for the National Commission on Product Safety, Mr. Stroup founded NORML and ran the organization through 1979, during which 11 states decriminalized minor marijuana offenses.
Stroup has also practiced criminal law, lobbied on Capitol Hill for family farmers and artists, and for several years served as executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). In 1994 Stroup resumed his work with NORML, rejoining the board of directors and serving again as Executive Director through 2004. He is currently serving as Legal Counsel with NORML.
In 1992 Stroup was the recipient of the Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform presented by the Drug Policy Foundation, Washington, DC. In 2010 he received the Al Horn Award for Advancing the Cause of Justice from the NORML Legal Committee. And in 2012 Stroup received the High Times Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2013 Stroup published the history of NORML entitled It’s NORML To Smoke Pot: the 40 Year Fight for Marijuana Smokers’ Rights.
Vicente LLP Founding Partner Brian Vicente has been helping marijuana businesses obtain state and local licenses since the inception of the regulated cannabis industry — an industry he has played a significant role in shaping. He has also advised national, state, and local government officials in the development of regulated cannabis markets across the country and around the world, including in Uruguay, the first country in the world to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. In late 2018, newly elected Colorado Gov. Jared Polis selected Brian to serve as a member of his gubernatorial transition team, where he sat on the Economic Development and Labor Committee.
Brian was a lead drafter of Colorado’s historic legalization initiative, Amendment 64, and he co-directed the successful campaign in support of it. He also served as chair of the Committee for Responsible Regulation, which coordinated the successful campaign to implement statewide excise and sales taxes on adult-use marijuana in Colorado. Previously, Brian served as executive director of Sensible Colorado, a leading nonprofit organization advocating for medical marijuana patients and providers in Colorado. During this time, he played an integral role in litigation that opened the door for medical cannabis dispensaries to open in the state, as well as the legislative process that resulted in Colorado becoming the first state to establish a regulated system of medical cannabis production and distribution.
Since 2020, Chambers and Partners USA has ranked Brian as one of the top cannabis attorneys in the nation. Additionally, he was recognized by Best Lawyers© from 2021-2023, named a “Cannabis Law Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal in 2018, and has been included in 5280 magazine’s list of “Denver’s Top Lawyers” every year since 2015. Adding to his impressive list of recognitions, in 2022 he was listed as one of High Times’ “Top 100 Influential People in Cannabis” and was recognized as one of Law360’s Cannabis MVPs of 2022. Brian has conducted more than 1,000 interviews regarding marijuana policy for national, state, and local media outlets, and he was recognized by The Guardian as “the (cannabis) industry’s de facto spokesman.”
Brian currently serves as president of the National Hispanic Cannabis Council, a purpose-driven nonprofit organization he helped found in 2021. In 2010, Brian was elected as the first board chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association, which now represents nearly 2,000 member businesses and tens of thousands of cannabis professionals. He is also a member of the DanceSafe Advisory Council, and previously served on the boards of Sensible Colorado, the Harm Reduction Action Center, and the SAFER Voter Education Fund.
Brian received a full merit scholarship to attend the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, during which time he clerked for outspoken social critic, Senior U.S. District Judge John L. Kane.
Tremaine S. Wright is a former member of the New York State Assembly, who thereafter served as the first Director of the DFS Statewide Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment. Ms. Wright is an attorney, entrepreneur, and activist who as a second-generation Bedford Stuyvesant resident invested in preserving the rich legacy of her community and building a strong foundation for the future. She has dedicated her career to empowering and creating opportunities for her neighbors and her community.
Luke Zimmerman Esq. LL.Mx2 is the president of The Law Office of Luke S. Zimmerman APC. The focus of his legal practice is assisting entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry with protecting their intellectual property rights. He has lectured extensively, both domestically and internationally, about emerging issues relating to the protection of cannabis intellectual property.
Luke obtained his undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Oregon at Eugene and then graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in San Diego California. After law school, Luke attended classes at Oaksterdam University in Oakland. Luke’s interest in international trade and investment law led him to the Netherlands where he obtained a Master of Laws from the University of Amsterdam. Luke considers himself to be a lifelong student, which is why in 2020 he obtained a second Master of Laws from the Turin School of Development, as a WIPO Academy Member, in intellectual property. The focus of his final project was exploring harmonization issues with trademark classes as related to cannabis, marijuana, and hemp in the Nice Classification System.
In 2019 Luke was identified Luke as a specialist in his field by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and invited to participate in a working group to establish standards for the California Appellations Program for cannabis. Luke currently co-chairs the International Cannabis Bar Associations Appellations Committee.
Luke believes education is essential to shifting the paradigm around cannabis which is why he worked with Oaksterdam University to found its intellectual property section. Six years later he teaches there today he estimates he has taught at least 500 students about intellectual property rights.
A core mission of the Law Office of Luke S. Zimmerman is drug policy reform, which is why Luke volunteered on the Clemency Project 2014, where he successfully assisted a client in receiving a commutation of a life sentence from President Obama.
Luke currently splits his time assisting clients in California, and around the world, with trademark and other intellectual property matters.