Cannabis Section
"Raising the Bar Higher"

Cannabis Section Logo

Welcome to LACBA’s New Cannabis Section


We are “Raising the Bar Higher” and invite you to become a member and join us at a variety of events throughout the year.

Join The Cannabis Pro Bono Panel

LACBA’s Cannabis Section is pleased to announce the development of a Cannabis Pro Bono panel, administrated by LACBA’s Lawyer Referral Service, SmartLaw.

This is a social equity project sponsored by LACBA and the LACBA Cannabis Section in concert with the City of Los Angeles, the social equity community of Los Angeles, and SmartLaw. Our objective here is to provide socially conscious limited pro bono legal resources to cannabis business communities that are underserved and unrepresented.

We need your help to facilitate legal services for this limited pro bono panel. Here, you can be a member of the pro bono panel, provide limited pro bono services to clients, charge fees for additional legal services, and develop future legal service relationships with cannabis business stakeholders.

SmartLaw is waiving dues for attorneys who wish to participate in this panel. Interested candidates will need to meet qualifications standards (see below), must have requisite E&O insurance, must agree to the SmartLaw Rules of Operation, and must be members of the State Bar of California.

You can begin the application process here. If you have any questions about the application process, please feel free to contact SmartLaw:, (213) 896-6476.

Cannabis Pro Bono Panel Requirements

Cannabis Pro Bono Panel Application

Cannabis Section

SmartLaw Rules of Operation

We are thrilled about this innovative opportunity to advance justice, including social justice, within the cannabis community. It is also a great opportunity to develop business as practitioners within the area of Cannabis law.

LACBA Leadership and the Cannabis Section


Words Matter - Attorneys Should Stop Using 2 Common Cannabis Industry Terms


Click here to read why the words we use to talk about the cannabis industry matter in an article written by three members of LACBA’s Cannabis Section.


Click here to read the Cannabis Section’s letter of support for ABA resolutions regarding cannabis attorneys.


LACBA Cannabis Section Letter to ABA re Resolutions 103B and 103D-1-small-image


It’s Legal, Is It Ethical?

Monday, November 2, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
CLE: 1.0 hr General MCLE Credit 

Navigating Ethical Concerns While Representing Cannabis Businesses

Join LACBA’s Cannabis Section as we ‘Raise the Bar Higher’ with a lively and engaging panel discussion about ethics and competency in the legal cannabis industry. The panel, composed of attorneys with years of experience representing owners and operators of legal cannabis business will discuss ethical issues for attorneys representing cannabis businesses in light of the fact that cannabis remains a federally illegal substance and in light of recent guidance from the State Bar of California that allows attorneys to practice in the field if they follow established criteria. The panel will also discuss ethical issues unique to representing hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) businesses given the continuing murky legal status of CBD and certain states’ prohibitions on some CBD products. The panel will finally address various competence issues for cannabis attorneys, ethical pitfalls that may arise during representation, and other practical guidance on responding to unique client issues for cannabis businesses.


Brian Ross, Ross Legal Corporation
Ian Stewart, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Lesa Slaughter, Slaughter Law Group PC

Meital Manzuri, Manzuri Law



OCTOBER 7, 2020

All Cannabis Is Local:  Understanding the Complex Intersection of Cannabis and Real Estate

Join LACBA’s Cannabis Section as we “Raise the Bar Higher” with a lively and engaging panel discussion about complicated real estate issues facing the state-legal cannabis industry, such as how landlords can protect themselves due to the federally illegal nature of tenants’ businesses; regulatory disclosure and compliance requirements for landlords and tenants; and zoning, permitting, and licensing concerns for cannabis tenants that should be considered prior to entering into a lease.  The panel will also discuss the impact of COVID-19 on cannabis leases, specifically the impact of force majeure provisions in leases and how tenants are modifying operations to comply with new COVID-19 requirements.

Click here to register.

AUGUST 25, 2020
Trailblazing in Cannabis and Hemp Trademarks

A LACBA live webinar event

CLE: 1.0 hr General MCLE Credit 
Price: Free

The Cannabis Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association will be discussing developing state, federal, and international trademark protection strategies; enforcement; litigation; and licensing. This presentation is appropriate for attorneys advising cannabis and hemp clients looking to stay up-to-date on the latest trademark developments, as well as trademark practitioners interested in expanding into the cannabis and hemp space.
more information >

Sponsorship opportunities available, contact:

In the Deal Trenches

A LACBA live webinar event

CLE: 1.5 hr General MCLE Credit
Price: Free

The Cannabis Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association is running a series of panels about the social, policy, business, and regulatory sides of this evolving space. Business topics include mergers, acquisitions, financings, incentives, public offerings, and compensation. There will be an opportunity for you to question colleagues about the problems you encounter and challenges your clients face.
more information >

Sponsorship opportunities available, contact:

MAY 26, 2020
Quarterly Salon: Getting In The Weeds With Cannabis Litigation: Claims, Strategies, Challenges, Finding Resolution

A LACBA live webinar event

CLE: 1.0 hr General MCLE Credit 
Price: Free

The Cannabis Section will “Raise the Bar Higher” with a lively discussion focused on cannabis litigation.  We will discuss trends in litigation, including CBD class actions, contract/partnership disputes, IP, policy litigation with state/cities. We will also discuss how to avoid litigation through best drafting practices, lessons from the trenches unique to cannabis, and a discussion about different litigation forums: arbitration, state court, and federal court.

Sponsorship opportunities available, contact:

We’d like to thank the sponsor of this event:

JAMS Banner

February 11, 2020
Photos from LACBA’s Quarterly Cannabis Salon

Demystifying LA City's Cannabis Licensing & Regulatory Program: How did we get here &  where are we going?


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Photos from the January 15, 2020 Cannabis Section Mixer

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Are there cannabis-related topics you'd like to learn more about?  Do you have comments or questions about our section?   Please contact us via this form.


California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 and recently adopted a comprehensive and complex regulatory scheme covering the cultivation, manufacture, testing, transportation, and sale of cannabis for both medicinal and adult recreational use.  In addition, communities throughout California independently regulate commercial cannabis according to their own priorities.  At the same time, possession and commercial production, distribution, and sale of cannabis remain unlawful under federal law.  LACBA’s Cannabis Section will provide top-tier continuing legal education concerning the legal cannabis industry and its many complex issues, including: state and local regulatory compliance, corporate and tax structuring, banking, real estate, labor and employment, intellectual property, insurance, litigation, and ethics.  The Cannabis Section will also serve as a source of expertise for other attorneys, government bodies, and the news media on issues regarding cannabis laws, regulations and developments, and serve as a forum for the consideration of public policies dealing with or regarding cannabis generally.  The Cannabis Section will provide regular networking opportunities for legal professionals and industry leaders and will assist and promote the activities of LACBA.

A summary of our regularly planned events is below:

Social Mixers
Join the Cannabis Section at seasonal networking mixers that will rotate around Los Angeles.  The Section will host seasonal mixers at locations where attendees can have fun while getting to know each other.  Locations will include rooftop bars and restaurant patios/event spaces.  Section members will receive special member admission pricing.  [Note: Please let us know if you have connections with locations that you think will be ideal for such gatherings.]

Brown-Bag Gatherings
Join the Cannabis Section at seasonal gatherings that rotate around Los Angeles.  Members of the Executive Committee will host informal gatherings where members of the Cannabis Section can bring a brown-bag lunch and get to know each other while having open conversations on topics of interest to them. These no-charge gatherings will provide members with the opportunity to casually discuss topics of interest while socializing. 

Seasonal Heady Salons
Inspired by high-society salons of the past where participants increased their knowledge through conversations and presentations, the Cannabis Section will host seasonal participatory conversations on specific topics of interest to the legal cannabis industry.  Because developments in the legal cannabis industry happen so fast, the Salons will be up-to-the-moment conversations on one or more timely topics announced shortly before the event.  Some Salons will include special guests and presentations.  Dinner and dessert will be available to all attendees.  Section members will receive special member admission pricing.

Annual Symposium
Join the Cannabis Section at our annual educational symposium.  The Cannabis Section will host a multi-panel, half-day event with top-tier panelists.   The Annual Symposium will provide attendees with a higher education in legal cannabis.  Panelists will be chosen for their knowledge and expertise.  The Annual Symposium will include great opportunities to meet and network with others in attendance and earn CLE hours.  Section members will receive special member admission pricing.


For more information:

Chair - Joshua Mandell:

Vice Chair, Programming - Ariel Clark:

Vice Chair, Communications - Nicole Phillis:

Vice Chair, Membership – Griffen Thorne:


Industry Update from Clark Howell

July 2021 Agency Consolidation & “Regs 3.0”: It’s Time To Bring Sustainability To The Forefront In Cannabis Rulemaking

In early 2020, Governor Newsom announced plans to consolidate the three state cannabis licensing agencies into a single Department of Cannabis Control in order “to improve access to licensing and simplify regulatory oversight of commercial cannabis activity.” The merger is scheduled to take place by July 2021. Details have not yet been made available; once they are, we will send out a bulletin with more information. Today’s bulletin is about the regulatory process that will accompany agency consolidation, and what we can begin thinking about now.  

Reorganizing the licensing authorities into a single Department of Cannabis Control means the current 3 sets of rules (which went into effect in January 2019 and refer to CDFA, CDPH/MCSB, and the BCC as the licensing and regulatory authorities) must be updated. In other words, start mentally preparing for another rulemaking process (let’s call it “Regs 3.0”). 

Regs 3.0 will reorient the three separate sets of regulations to reflect a single licensing and enforcement authority for all commercial cannabis activities, as well as a new point of collection for taxes. The experience of the last round of regulations was stressful and turbulent. However, we are looking at this next round as an opportunity to fix issues that have become increasingly apparent to regulators and operators alike since Regs 2.0 went into effect over 18 months ago.

One area that clearly needs fixing: waste and excessive packaging. We share your concern that the current regulations mandate the creation and disposal of more waste than is necessary for public safety reasons. The requirements challenge rationality, especially as we suffer daily the impacts of environmental degradation. 

As we prepare for Regs 3.0, here are some ways California cannabis and ancillary operators can set the stage for sustainability before the Regs 3.0 process begins: 

  • Draft a post on your company’s blog and/or social media about Regs 3.0 and the opportunity and importance of aligning cannabis regulations with California’s reputation for environmental policy leadership. 
  • Discuss and workshop things like alternative packaging material options (i.e., hemp-based packaging, bio-plastics) and insist that California provide green incentives to reward operators using sustainable practices and materials, etc. 
  • Form a working group to collaborate with peers in formulating policy recommendations. Organized communication during the rulemaking process with other stakeholders and to the rule-makers will have a big impact on Regs 3.0.
  • Begin gathering data regarding present waste production levels. This data will come in handy when drafting public comments next year.   
  • Follow the rulemaking process as it unfolds in Colorado to gather ideas and arguments that could be useful to us in California. Cannabis operators and activists in Colorado are presently contemplating new rules around waste and packaging in an effort to reduce the cannabis industry’s negative impacts on the environment. Final proposed rules will be discussed in a public hearing on September 22
  • Consider radical changes to the regulations. This could be a second bite at the apple to discuss if cannabis flower should be subject to C-R packaging requirements, or if that requirement should be removed from future regulations. Compile data on hospitalizations in California due to cannabis consumption. 
  • Advocate for glass jar reuse programs. The regulations could carve out an allowance for reusing glass jars after cleaning and sterilization. Too many glass jars are ending up in landfills. 
  • Review regulations pertaining to exit packaging with a goal to reduce waste. Potential considerations are providing incentives to use non-plastic material, or to change the regulations to allow exit bags to be used multiple times, similar to the “bring your own bag” policies at grocery stores. 

Agency consolidation and Regs 3.0 are fast approaching. Let’s bring sustainability into the foreground.

Press release announcing the new Cannabis Section.