Interstate Cannabis Commerce Update February 2023
California’s Department of Cannabis Control asked the state’s Attorney General to opine that allowing regulated, interstate cannabis sales presents no legal risk to the state. A day later, Oregon told a federal court that the Constitution does not prevent it from continuing to discriminate against such sales in favor of sales within its borders. Within the next week, a Washington federal court agreed with Oregon, holding that the dormant Commerce Clause does not apply to the cannabis industry, declining to endorse the reasoning of a 2022 decision by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals examining the same Constitutional questions.
Our panel of experts from across the country will explain what just happened, and what it is likely to mean for efforts to bring about interstate cannabis commerce through federal action… or even, perhaps, without it.
Introduction of Panel: Amber (3 min)
Brief overview of where things stood in the world of interstate commerce a month ago, before any of this happened: Adam (5 min)
California DCC’s Letter to AG Bonta and why it is so interesting: Jason (10 min)
Oregon’s Motion to Dismiss the Jefferson Packing House case: Randal (10 min)
District Court’s decision in Brinkmeyer: Jason (10 min)
Predictions on where the 9th Circuit and other courts may come down: Randal/Jason/Adam (5 min)
How will these events impact the political landscape around interstate cannabis commerce? Adam/Randal (10 min)
Questions: All (7 min)
Jason Horst is the Managing Partner of Horst Legal Counsel. Jason represents businesses, public entities, professional and nonprofit organizations, and individuals in complex civil litigation and appellate cases involving a wide variety of cannabis, real estate, contract, insurance coverage, and technology disputes. He has a proven record of success representing both plaintiffs and defendants at trial, on appeal, and in alternative dispute resolution proceedings. He prides himself in the ability to deliver creative, efficient solutions to thorny legal problems. Before opening Horst Legal Counsel, Jason worked with some of the top international and regional law firms serving clients in California. His clients receive the deep knowledge and ability of large firm counsel, combined with the affordability of a boutique law firm.Jason serves on the INCBA’s Executive Committee as Vice President of Strategic Planning. He has also been an active member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, where he serves as a member of the Policy Committee and past Chair of the Risk Management and Insurance Committee, as well as the California Cannabis Industry Association’s Risk Management Committee. Jason has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers® Magazine and been named as one of MG Magazine’s 30 Powerful Cannabis Attorneys You Should Know.
Amber Littlejohn has served as a lawyer, strategist, and advocate for businesses in emerging markets for more than 15 years, providing government and business affairs services to businesses, nonprofit organizations, and lawmakers in regulated industries. She creates innovative legislative, regulatory, and public engagement strategies to access and grow markets, stabilize supply chains, and reduce crisis frequency and reach.
Named a Top Cannabis Lobbyist by Business Insider, Amber is a nationally recognized voice for the cannabis industry and related policy initiatives appearing regularly in national media outlets. She has testified before Congress on issues including small business capital access and cannabis legalization. She engages regularly with lawmakers and regulators at all levels of government. Prior to her work in cannabis, she was a business owner, strategist, and advocate for specialty consumer packaged goods and consumer health products including dietary supplements and sports nutrition products.
Prior to joining Ice Miller, Amber was president and chief strategic officer for a public affairs firm that served to provide solutions in the areas of legislative and regulatory policy development, as well as government and regulatory affairs. She has also served as policy counsel and a consultant for several organizations in Washington, D.C.
In a career spanning more than two decades, Adam has been sole or collaborative founder of a series of successful non-profits and public policy campaigns, has served on the boards of directors for statewide and national civic engagement organizations, led teams of nurses in collective bargaining negotiations across Oregon, lobbied members of Congress and state legislatures, advised non-profit and for- profit clients on a range of issues, and was a founding partner in a company bringing Pacific Northwest craft beer and artisan wine to Hawaii. In 1996, Adam launched the nation’s first online newsmagazine and syndicated radio news show focused entirely on domestic and international drug policy reform. In 1998, he conceptualized and launched the Higher Education Act Reform Campaign, which won back the right to federal financial aid for students with drug convictions. As part of the HEA campaign, he shepherded the founding of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the world’s largest student-led drug policy reform organization, now active in more than forty states and 25 countries, and recognized as an NGO at the United Nations. In 2002, Adam joined the founding board of directors of the Oregon Bus Project, and in 2004, helped launch the League of Young Voters, a national civic engagement organization working with young people of color. In 2006, Adam launched the Vote By Mail Project, which successfully expanded access to mail-in voting in multiple states, most notably moving Colorado to full vote by mail elections. Adam received his B.A. in Urban Studies from the City University of New York, and his J.D. from the Boston University School of Law. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Adam’s writing on drug policy and civic engagement has appeared in more than 40 print and online publications, including REASON Magazine, The Guardian UK, Mother Jones Online, Alternet, and The Razorwire. He has also produced chapters for the books Busted; Stone Cowboys, Narco Lords, and America’s War on Drugs, (Mike Gray, Ed.), Drug Trafficking (Auriana Ojeda, Ed.) and How To Get Stupid White Men Out of Office (Billy Wimsatt and Adrienne Maree Brown, Eds.).
Randal John Meyer is the Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce. Mr. Meyer is widely recognized as one of the foremost legal and government affairs experts in cannabis, honored by the National Law Journal as a 2022 Cannabis Law Trailblazer and Business Insider as a 2021 Top Cannabis Lobbyist. Previously, Mr. Meyer served as legislative counsel to a U.S. Senator and a legal associate in the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies before entering private practice as an appellate litigator and a lobbyist in international law firms. His work on the topics of cannabis and criminal justice reform have been published widely in such outlets as The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, National Law Journal, National Review Online, New York Post, and Newsweek, and has been featured in publications such as the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.