Griffen Thorne, Attorney
Griffen is a corporate and transactional attorney in Harris Bricken’s Los Angeles office where he advises clients across a wide variety of domestic and international industries, including technology, real estate, healthcare, wellness and lifestyle, entertainment, and cannabis, hemp CBD, and other new drug therapies.
Griffen advises businesses at all stages from startup to sale. He regularly provides guidance to companies and founders on entity formation and corporate governance issues, and drafts and negotiates a wide array of commercial transactions, such as intellectual property license agreements, real estate leases, company and asset purchase, and sale and other supply chain agreements, and loan and finance agreements. Griffen also assists clients with specific regulatory issues, from applying for competitive and non-competitive local and state government licenses through day-to-day regulatory compliance. He also assists clients with mergers and acquisitions.
Griffen began his career litigating high-stakes intellectual property and commercial litigation cases at one of the largest law firms in the United States, where he argued motions before state and federal courts and the California Court of Appeals. As a former litigator, he is intimately familiar with common contract negotiation and drafting issues that can lead to business and contract disputes. Though Griffen no longer actively litigates, he still guides a number of clients through pre-litigation dispute resolution and mediation and still settles a significant number of business and contract disputes.
As part of Harris Bricken’s corporate cannabis team, Griffen is a leading business and transactional attorney in California’s cannabis industry. He advises state-licensed cannabis businesses in every part of the supply chain and of a variety of sizes—from international and multi-state operators to sole proprietors. Griffen was one of the leading Vice Chairs in the first panel of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Cannabis Section, and he writes weekly for the Canna Law Blog and has written a variety of cannabis-related articles for a number of legal publications. He is also a frequent public speaker and panel host, and has been interviewed for cannabis legal analysis by Vice, The Atlantic, MarketWatch, Bloomberg Law, and Law360.
Prior to beginning his legal career, Griffen studied music at the University of California, Berkeley, and still plays electric guitar in his spare time. After Berkeley, Griffen attended law school at Loyola University of Chicago, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, an oralist on the Giles Sutherland Rich patent moot court team, and graduated third in his class of 250 students. During law school, he also interned for city and county agencies, as well as for a federal magistrate judge in Chicago.
In his free time, Griffen enjoys spending time with his family and his dog, traveling, studying languages, cooking, and serving on the board of his local synagogue.
What clients have to say about Griffen
“Griffen Thorne was invaluable in helping us navigate a real estate transaction that involved a tenant operating a cannabis business. Griffen was able to get up to speed quickly and efficiently on our matter, identifying the relevant regulatory considerations and distilling them down into practical implications for our business. Griffen was professional and left us feeling extremely confident in the representation.”
– Clayton Collett, Development Director | Orange Barrel Media
“Griffen Thorne at Harris Bricken was invaluable in helping us through a difficult time with our business. Griffen had the unique expertise to resolve the issues effectively and positively when we were dealing with our Tenants licensing and lease agreement issues. He walked us through the process, made it easy for us to understand our options, and answered all our questions, no matter how trivial (even on the weekend!). Now that our legal issues have been resolved, we can focus on growing our business again. Thank you Griffen for your help.”
– M. David Torosian, CPA, JD
“Griffen Thorne was invaluable in helping us through a difficult time with our business. When we were dealing with all licensing and compliance issues, he had the unique expertise to resolve all issues. He walked us through the process and made it easy for us to understand our options. Griffen answered our questions, no matter how trivial (even on the weekend!). Now that our legal issues have been resolved, we can get back to focusing on growing our business again.
Griffen held our hands through a two year journey that we would have never gotten over the goal line without him. We are fully licensed, operational and Griffen and his colleagues will be our intellectual partners forever.”
– Sandy and Josh Wax | JOSHWAX
“I am impressed with this law firm. They answered all my questions regarding cannabis businesses and the California framework and they have helped me with a variety of legal issues in a timely fashion, while always clearly communicating with us throughout the process. They also redirected me to other quality people for my business needs. Everyone I worked with at Harris Bricken is an expert in their field, and I was in good hands throughout my legal representation.”
– Corey T., CEO | Thinc Cubed, LLC
“You won’t find a better partner than Harris Bricken when trying to navigate the complex world of healthcare regulations. They not only give sound and reliable legal advice, but are also very responsive and are able to guide you in a way that helps you reach your business objectives as well.”
– Joseph Axelrod, General Counsel | Irwin Naturals
“California’s passage of Prop 19 and the threat of losing our multigenerational livestock ranch to property taxes, I was looking for more income. I decided to go with leases to a cannabis company. I have a local law office to handle more routine matters but choose Harris Bricken to work with as I wanted someone who specialized in the rapidly changing rules of Cannabis contracts. I enjoyed working with Griffen Thorne. When documents needed to be completed rapidly before a county rules change Griffen Thorne gave it immediate attention and even worked into evening on contracts.”
More About Griffen
Program Chair, Legal and Regulatory Landscape for Psychedelics, The Seminar Group, January 26, 2022.
Cannabis Intellectual Property: Patents and Trademarks, NBI CLE Webinar, January 18, 2022.
Corporate Cannabis Q&A: Buying and Selling a Cannabis Business, Harris Bricken webinar, January 13, 2022.
Panelist, The Dos and Don’ts of Marketing in the Cannabis Industry, American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law Advertising and Marketing Law Committee webinar, October 7, 2021.
Psychedelic Law Presentation, UCLA CannaClub, April 21, 2021.
Program Chair, Cannabis and Hemp Business Considerations, Seminar Group, April 7, 2021.
CBD Considerations in the Pacific Northwest, Case Studies Panel, Seminar Group, March 30, 2021.
Talking 2021/2020 in Review, MMLG Webinar, December 10, 2020.
Guest Lecturer, California Medical Cannabis Law 101, University of San Francisco Pharmacy Course, An Overview of Medical Cannabis, December 8, 2020.
Ketamine, Psilcobyin and New Drug Therapies (Part 2), Harris Bricken webinar, November 19, 2020.
Cannabis E-Commerce: Legal and Regulatory Problems and Solutions for Online Marketing and Sales, Lawline, November 10, 2020.
Seeds of Change: How the Election Results Will Shape the Future of Cannabis, International Jewish Cannabis Association, November 9, 2020.
Cannabis and CBD Business Basics, UCLA CannaClub Webinar, October 28, 2020.
Guest Lecturer, Santa Clara University School of Law, Cannabis Law and Policy Class, October 21, 2020.
Guest Lecturer, California Medical Cannabis Law 101, University of San Francisco Pharmacy Course, An Overview of Medical Cannabis, October 20, 2020.
Trends in Enforcement and Violations, MMLG Webinar, October 8, 2020.
Cannabis Law For Attorneys, ABA GPSolo Roundtable, October 8, 2020.
Hemp CBD Q&A, Harris Bricken webinar, September 17, 2020.
Panel Moderator Cannabis Industry Virtual Symposium, CalCPA , August 7, 2020.
Cannabis Litigation Trends and Q&A, Harris Bricken webinar, August 5, 2020.
Ketamine, Psilocybin and New Drug Therapies, Harris Bricken webinar, July 9, 2020.
The Future of CBD Retail & Other Cannabinoids, ASD Market Week, June 23, 2020.
California Cannabis Q&A, Harris Bricken webinar, May 28, 2020.
Cannabis Quarterly Salon, LACBA webinar, May 26, 2020.
Beyond CBD: New Cannabinoids and the 2018 Farm Bill, Harris Bricken webinar, April 29, 2020.
COVID-19, Companies Making Culture Podcast, April 7, 2020.
Industrial Hemp and Cultivation Laws, The Seminar Group, April 2, 2020.
Cannabis Law for Attorneys, Presentation at Lewitt Hackman, March 9, 2020.
The International Cannabis Trade, Harris Bricken webinar, March 4, 2020.
Business & Environmental Issues in Cannabis & Industrial Hemp, The Seminar Group, Oakland, CA, February 28, 2020.
Legal Trends and the Expected Role of Cannabis Lawyers, USA CBD Expo, Las Vegas, NV, February 14, 2020.
Compliant Cannabis Framework & Strategies, Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, Denver, CO, January 29-30, 2020.
Hemp & CBD Law: The Future of a Booming But Largely Unregulated Industry, HB Litigation Conferences, July 25, 2019.
It Could Happen to You: Cannabis Agency Litigation and Enforcement, Harris Bricken Webinar, April 23, 2019.
The Business of Marijuana in Southern California, The Seminar Group, March 28, 2019.
It Could Happen to You: Cannabis Agency Litigation, Harris Bricken webinar, April 23, 2019.
West Coast Hemp CBD After the Farm Bill, Harris Bricken Webinar, February 21, 2019.
How to sell your marijuana retail store without selling yourself short, MJBizDaily, November 1, 2021.
Shroom Boom: Moves to decriminalize some hallucinogens have spurred investment, but even those are tiny steps, East Bay Express, September 22, 2021.
Calif. Releases New Unified Rules Governing Pot Industry, Law360, September 8, 2021.
Labeling Laments: Packaging and label regulations are a major challenge to the expanding cannabis industry, East Bay Express, July 14, 2021.
The Hemp Boom is Over. What Now?, The Pew Trusts, July 9, 2021.
CBD: Industry Or Ingredient?, Media Post, May 28, 2021.
Business of cannabis front and center in April 7 seminar, North Bay Business Journal, March 15, 2021.
Psychedelics Decriminalization and Regulation with Griffen Thorne, Emerging Litigation Podcast, February 8, 2021.
Oregon legalizes hard drugs and the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. Will California follow suit?, KCRW Greater L.A., December 2, 2020.
Flying with vapes, Asia Times, December 1, 2020.
Will mushrooms go the way of cannabis? Legalization efforts are growing, The Orange County Register, November 29, 2020.
A Look Inside This Year’s Adult-Use Legalization Campaigns, Cannabis Business Times, October 28, 2020.
“Expensive Awakenings:” States Step Up Cannabis Compliance and Enforcement, WeedWeek, October 27, 2020.
California’s Pot Delivery Wars Go to Court, WeedWeek, August 7, 2020.
Does Federal Law Apply To Cannabiz? Labor Case Appeals to Supreme Court, WeedWeek, May 29, 2020.
California Pot Firms Aim to Deliver Privacy Weed Users Want, Bloomberg Law, February 28, 2020.
Is CBD Safe to Carry on a Plane, WebMD, November 26, 2019.
The Unique Cyber Risks Facing the Cannabis Industry, The Recorder, November 21, 2019.
County snuffs out farmers’ plans for roadside hemp sales, Bakersfield.com, October 14, 2019.
What Travelers Need to Know About Flying with CBD, Weedmaps, August 2, 2019.
At Cannabis Shops, Face Recognition Is Already a Thing, Vice, August 2, 2019.
California may soon join other states in legalizing CBD foods, bypassing FDA, Hemp Industry Daily, June 5, 2019.
You Probably Shouldn’t Bring CBD Oil to an Airport, The Atlantic, May 3, 2019.
CBD Is Still Banned in States With Legal Weed, Reason TV, April 20, 2019.
While cannabis industry booms locally, state licensing system is way behind, Monterey County Weekly, April 18, 2019.
How the unsteady rise of the pot industry has made dime bags a billion-dollar business, MarketWatch, March 1, 2019.
The CBD Crackdown Has Begun, The Atlantic, February 6, 2019.
Getting pot delivered to your door just got easier in California, KRON4, February 5, 2019.
The Sad News About CBD Cupcakes, The Atlantic, January 15, 2019.
Law Firms Growing Cannabis Practices With Privacy Cases in Mind, Bloomberg Law, December 28, 2018.
Is the Hemp Industry High and Dry? The Cannabis Scientist, June 28, 2021.
Hemp Extracts: The Dry Weight Problem, LACBA Cannabis Section Newsletter, January 2021.
Empowering Consumers, California Privacy Laws Could Spell Trouble for Cannabis Companies, Journal of Emerging Issues in Litigation, 2021.
Cannabis Track-and-Trace & Data Breaches: A Disaster Waiting to Happen, Cannabis & Tech Today, October 15, 2020.
How the DEA is Interfering with Religious Use of Psychedelics, JURIST, October 12, 2020.
From Handshakes to Written Contracts: The Pot Industry Matures, Los Angeles Lawyer, July/August 2020.
Cannabis Companies are Overlooking Data Security Laws and Regulations, JURIST, March 17, 2020.
The Feds Aren’t Done With Cannabis, Legalines, San Diego Legal Secretaries Association, March 2019.
Admitting Prior Convictions for Ten Years After Incarceration: Federal Rule of Evidence 609 Implies Prison Does Not Rehabilitate, 13 PRAXIS: WHERE REFLECTION AND PRACTICE MEET (2014)
Timing is Everything: Martinez v. Illinois (Re)Specifies When Jeopardy Attaches, JURIST DATELINE, June 19, 2014.
Severance agreements do not create new debt and are valid under the Park District Code, 59 TRIAL BRIEFS (ISBA, Chicago, Ill.), May 2014, at 1 (co-written with The Honorable Russell W. Hartigan)
Illinois court finds default judgment proper only after notice and repeated failure to comply, 59 TRIAL BRIEFS (ISBA, Chicago, Ill.), May 2014, at 6 (co-written with The Honorable Russell W. Hartigan)
The Illinois Supreme Court expands the reach of the Code of Civil Procedure’s six-year statute of repose, 59 TRIAL BRIEFS (ISBA, Chicago, Ill.), March 2014, at 1 (co-written with The Honorable Russell W. Hartigan)
“Rising Star” lawyer, Super Lawyers (2021)
Loyola University Chicago School of Law:
- Graduated magna cum laude
- CALI Awards for Highest Grades in Administrative Law, Advanced
- Torts, Advocacy, Criminal Procedure II, Environmental Law, and Evidence
- Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society
- Dean’s List All Semesters
Los Angeles County Bar Association, Privacy and Cybersecurity, and Cannabis Sections
Former Professional Member (2018-2020), International Association of Privacy Professionals
Vice-Chair of Membership, Los Angeles County Bar Association
Associate Attorney, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP (2015–2018)
Certified Information Privacy Professional, United States and Europe
Member of Board of Directors and Committee Co-Chair, Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock
- Loyola University Chicago School of Law (J.D. magna cum laude)
- University of California, Berkeley (B.A.)
Bar & Court Admissions
- State Bar of California
- Central District of California
- Central District of Illinois
- Hebrew (Basic)