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Message from the Chair


Cannabis Section Newsletter


Cannabis Section Board:

Joshua R. Mandell

Griffen Jacob Thorne
Vice Chair Membership

Ariel Donthnier Clark
Second Vice Chair Programming

Nicole Susan Phillis
Vice Chair of Communications

Taylor C. Wagniere

Alexander Joseph Freedman

LACBA Cannabis Section Logo-200w

Message from the Chair

Joshua Mandell

Welcome to the inaugural issue of LACBA’s Cannabis Section’s newsletter. As our section turns one, we are happy to add a newsletter, with a mix of thoughtful articles, to our achievements during a difficult time. Before we look ahead, here’s a quick recap of how we were able to Raise the Bar Higher our first year.

Highlights During Our First Year:

  • Jan. - Launched the section with a well-attended networking mixer
  • Feb. – Panel: Demystifying LA City's Cannabis Licensing & Regulatory Program: How did we get here & where are we going? with Cat Packer (Executive Director, L.A. City Dep’t Cannabis Regulation) Robert Ahn (President, L.A. City Cannabis Commission), Alex Freedman (Freedman Strategic Consulting)
  • Mar. – Brown Bag luncheon at Akerman LLP, featuring a conversation about IRS Code 280E with Jeffrey Cohen (President, Cohen Tax & Consulting)
  • April – Webinar: Covid-19 Advice & Counsel for the Cannabis Industry co-hosted and co-sponsored with Bar Association of San Francisco
  • May – Webinar: Getting In The Weeds With Cannabis Litigation: Claims, Strategies, Challenges, Finding Resolution
  • June – Launched Social Equity Committee of the Cannabis Section
  • July – Webinar: Perspectives on Social Equity
  • Aug. – Webinar: Trailblazing in Cannabis and Hemp Trademarks
  • Sept. – Announced formation of LACBA Pro Bono panel in coordination with City of L.A. to assist verified social equity applicants in L.A.
  • Sept. – Webinar: In the Deal Trenches
  • Oct. – Webinar: All Cannabis Is Local: Understanding the Complex Intersection of Cannabis and Real Estate
  • Nov. – Webinar: It’s Legal, Is It Ethical?—Navigating Ethical Concerns While Representing Cannabis Businesses
  • Nov. – Webinar: Cooking with Cannabis, featuring live cooking demonstration by Chef Mike Magliano of Pantry Food Co.
  • Jan. 26, 2021 – Conversation with Cat Packer, Executive Director, L.A. City Department of Cannabis Regulation

The Cannabis Section will continue to provide value to our members in 2021. Please mark your calendars and join us for the following upcoming program:

  • February 19, 2021, 12-1:30 p.m. – Webinar: Financing Without a License: Raising Capital in the Cannabis Industry with Unregistered Broker-Dealers, co-sponsored with Sacramento County Bar Association Cannabis Section and California Cannabis Industry Association

Two of the best ways you can get involved in the Cannabis Section are to join our Pro Bono panel and let us know if you want to be a speaker on any particular topic.

Joshua R. Mandell
Chair of the Cannabis Section

Upcoming Events

February 19, 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Financing Without a License: Raising Capital in the Cannabis Industry with Unregistered Broker-Dealers

This program will cover a range of topics that are important for companies and finders in the cannabis sector and their counsel, including: the federal regulatory scheme for broker-dealers; the current legal status of finders as developed through SEC staff no-action letters, enforcement proceedings, and court decisions; the myriad risks associated with using and being an unlicensed intermediary; finder related issues unique to the cannabis sector; and the SEC's recent proposal to create a safe harbor exemption for finders.

Click here for more information >

Join the 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.



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