Image of a gavel and marijuana to represent cannabis law
The newly launched National Cannabis Bar Association will officially launch with an NCIA event in Denver on June 30
If a prominent American law school has a “professorship for marijuana law and policy” sponsored by a successful law firm focusing primarily on cannabis law, why shouldn’t there be a weed-only bar association for said practicing attorneys?
It was only a matter of time, of course.
The National Cannabis Bar Association launches today with the goal of becoming “a specialty bar association dedicated to providing attorneys in the cannabis industry with educational and networking opportunities to help them better serve cannabis businesses,” according to a press release.
“As more and more states decriminalize or legalize cannabis — and set up their own regulatory structures — the legal conditions cannabis industry clients and their attorneys face are likely to get even more complex before they get simpler,” Shabnam Malek, founding president and executive director of the NCBA, said in a statement. “The NCBA will offer support and advocacy for attorneys working with businesses in this rapidly changing, swiftly emerging industry.”
The NCBA’s founding board members hail from six states including California, Colorado, Washington and New York. Josh Kappel, a partner at Colorado-based Vicente Sederberg, will host the organization’s inaugural event for members during the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Cannabis Business Summit and Expo in Denver on June 30.
NCBA membership, starting at $150 annually for individuals, is open to practicing attorneys, paralegals, law students and retired attorneys, according to the organization.
“Attorneys have long been at the forefront of the fight for cannabis legalization,” said Malek. “Now that 23 states and Washington D.C. have some form of legalized cannabis, there is a clear need for an organization focused on the business aspects of law and cannabis.
“Today cannabis industry attorneys are already busy helping their clients form new companies, negotiate agreements, complete license applications, comply with local and state laws, protect assets and more. Our members represent clients who are involved in a wide array of activities in the cannabis industry along with various ancillary products and services. The NCBA’s role is to help ensure that attorneys in the field are empowered to do their jobs well.”

Founding board members of the NCBA include:

Shabnam Malek – president and executive director, NCBA
partner, Brand & Branch LLP, California
Lara Leslie DeCaro – secretary, NCBA
partner, Leland, Parchini, Steinberg, Matzger & Melnick, LLP, California
Amanda Conley – treasurer, NCBA
partner, Brand & Branch LLP, California
Leland Berger
solo practitioner, Oregon
Josh Kappel
partner, Vicente Sederberg LLC, Colorado
David Kochman
solo practitioner, New York
Robert Raich
solo practitioner, California
Jonathan Robbins
partner, Akerman, LLP, Florida
Mary Shapiro
Mary L. Shapiro Law, PC, California
Mitzi Vaughn
managing attorney, Greenbridge, Washington

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