Hilary Bricken, Attorney
Hilary is one of the premier cannabis business and regulatory attorneys in the United States, and is licensed to practice law in California, Washington, and Florida. As chair of Harris Bricken’s Regulated Substances practice group, she helps cannabis companies of all sizes with their cannabis related business and regulatory needs. Hilary is also lead editor of the Canna Law Blog. Hilary was in 2022 named by Chambers as one of only two “Band 1” California lawyers. Chambers described her as very prominent and at the cutting edge of cannabis. She also has been chosen for the fourth year in a row as a “top rated business and corporate attorney” by Thompson Reuters Superlawyers (2022).
Since joining Harris Bricken in 2010, Hilary has earned a reputation as an exceptional and fearless business law attorney. Hilary’s clients—start-ups, entrepreneurs, and companies in all stages of development—value her bold approach to business strategy.
Hilary’s clients reflect the diversity and ingenuity of the West Coast and she takes pride in her strong client relationships, which allow her to hone in on each company’s unique needs and goals. Nothing brings Hilary greater satisfaction than helping a business thrive in a cutting-edge industry.
In 2017, the American Bar Association (ABA) named Hilary one of the top 40 young lawyers nationwide and before that The Puget Sound Business Journal named her as one of only seven deal makers of the year. She was by far the youngest and the only private practice attorney to garner this honor. Hilary was also named one of “40 Under 40” leading businesspeople by the PS Business Journal. In every year since 2014, Hilary has been chosen as a “Rising Star” lawyer by Super Lawyers magazine.
Major media outlets including The New York Times, VICE, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Business Insider, CNN, Rolling Stone, Forbes, MSNBC, and Bloomberg all have turned to Hilary for her on-the-ground perspective on cannabis laws. Hilary’s Tedx talk on “big cannabis” (see below) has garnered more than 125,000 views, and she also was a columnist for Above the Law on marijuana policy and regulation.
In addition to her corporate, transactional, and regulatory work, Hilary has also been retained as an expert witness in several cannabis-related commercial and partnership disputes.
In her free time, Hilary, a former Division 1 college soccer player, still plays soccer on a Harris Bricken-sponsored coed soccer team in Los Angeles.
What clients have to say about Hilary
“Hilary is a BEAST of a lawyer….which is why “BEASTMODE” wanted her and her firm to represent us when we entered the Cannabis industry. Hilary and her team’s expansive knowledge, expertise, and efficiently have helped us navigate the complex universe of regulatory issues, and we’d recommend these guys for anyone trying to build a scalable business in this space”
– Mitch Grossbach, Representative | DODI, LLC
“I am impressed with this law firm! They answered all my questions regarding cannabis laws and regulations in California 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.”
– Ben Catt, CEO | Gardenhouse Brands
“Hilary Bricken has been one of my first calls in the psychedelics industry (with a focus on ketamine). Hilary is always able to answer questions and resolve issues and is a real expert in health care business and regulatory law. I would not hesitate to recommend Hilary to anyone with questions about health care business and regulatory law when it comes to ketamine clinics.”
– Peter Rizakos, GC | Braxia Scientific Corp.
“Hilary Bricken and her team have provided high quality and timely legal advice that has consistently exceeded our expectations since we started working with them in 2017. From the time we were starting the company with no market share, to now being one of the largest cannabis brands in California, the attention they have provided us has been consistently world class.”
– Nicholas Ortega, CEO | Claybourne Co.
“Hilary Bricken was a huge help as our company went through the process of commercial licensing in the California cannabis industry. She was there every step of the way and clearly explained what our next steps would be, which is not easy when you’re having regulatory and licensing issues. We will be sure to reach out to Hilary and her team if we ever have any more legal issues in the future.”
“This law firm was a huge help as our company went through the process of commercial licensing in the California cannabis industry. They have helped us with a variety of legal issues in a timely fashion, while clearly communicating with us throughout the process. Everyone we’ve worked with at Harris Bricken is an expert in their field and we have always felt that we were in good hands through our legal representation. I would not hesitate to recommend Hilary to anyone with questions about cannabis business and regulatory law.”
– Wil Crummer, CEO | PRO Farms
More About Hilary
IRS Enforcement of Cannabis Operators is Here – What do We Do Now?, Harris Bricken webinar, April 13, 2023.
Current Ketamine Regulations & The Future of Psychedelic Medicines, Harris Bricken webinar, April 11, 2023.
Distressed Cannabis Businesses, Harris Bricken webinar, February 28, 2023.
The Current State and Future of Cannabis and Psychedelics, State Bar of Michigan Cannabis Law Section Annual Conference, October 1, 2022.
Cannabis/Psilocybin: What’s Real, What’s Not, What You Must Know, Nutrition Industry Association (NIA), September 8, 2022.
Interview on international cannabis markets with The Lambert Center for Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University, August 25, 2022.
The Complex Universe of Cannabis – Helping Cannabis Operators Build a Scalable Business, NACAT Pros webinar, August 16, 2022.
Psychedelic Law & The Use of Ketamine, Healthcare Entrepreneur Academy Podcast, March 18, 2022.
Corporate Cannabis Q&A: Cannabis Loans and Investments, Harris Bricken webinar, March 3, 2022.
Solving the Cannabis Tax Puzzle: Approaches for an Emergent Industry, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, January 26, 2022.
Corporate Cannabis Q&A: Buying and Selling a Cannabis Business, Harris Bricken webinar, January 13, 2022.
Cannabis: A Global New High – U.S. Panel, Clifford Chance Webinar, December 8, 2021.
Starting a Ketamine Clinic– What You Need to Know, Harris Bricken webinar, September 9, 2021.
Panelist on Psychedelic M&A Trends, 2021 Psychedelic Opportunity Virtual Summit, June 22, 2021,
Owning and Operating a Winery: Legal Considerations, The Seminar Group, June 11, 2021.
Cannabis in New York: Intro to the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, Harris Bricken webinar, May 4, 2021.
Cross-Border Cannabis, Harris Bricken and Torkin Manes LLP Webinar, April 16th, 2021.
Competing bills seek to clarify California’s hazy cannabis billboard rules, Greater L.A. podcast, April 15, 2021.
Planning Cannabis in Our Communities, Inland Empire Section – American Planning Association webinar, April 15th, 2021.
How Businesses and Investors can Enter Mexico’s Cannabis Market, Cannabis Mexico Summit, March 25, 2021.
Changing Tides: Lobbying on Cannabis Issues in the Biden Administration, Harris Bricken webinar, March 24, 2021.
Cannabis in Mexico Part 2: The Q&A, Harris Bricken webinar, March 4, 2021.
Ketamine, Psilocybin and New Drug Therapies, Harris Bricken webinar, July 9, 2020.
California Cannabis Q&A, Harris Bricken webinar, May 28, 2020.
High Times: An Update on Doing Business with Cannabis Companies in the U.S., NACM Business Credit Services, May 5, 2020.
Multi-State Cannabis Operators, Harris Bricken webinar, April 2, 2020.
Take Me To Your Dealer: A KCRW Joint, KCRW, Santa Monica, CA, January 30, 2020.
Career Choices Series: Cannabis Law, American Bar Association, January 24, 2020.
The Seller’s Viewpoint, California Cannabis Mergers & Acquisitions Conference, November 4, 2019.
Cannabis Taxation and Regulation, Law and Economics Center’s Symposium on the Law and Economics of Marijuana Legalization, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, October 7, 2019.
Cannabis Investment Issues, California Society of CPAs Annual Cannabis Symposium, August 9, 2019.
Legal Trends in the Cannabis Industry, American Association for Justice, July 27, 2019.
Is the Cannabis Gold “Rush” More of a Gold “Trickle”?, Nutrition Industry Association (NIA), May 22, 2019.
Navigating California’s Regulations: What’s Wrong and How Do We Fix It?, Bright TALK, June 4, 2019.
Lawyering for the Cannabis Industry, UCLA School of Law, February 2019.
West Coast Hemp CBD After the Farm Bill, Harris Bricken webinar, February 21, 2019.
Marijuana in California: Navigating the Potential and Pitfall in a Newly Legalized Industry, Public Policy Exchange, February 14, 2019.
Cannabis Lawyer Tells All, The David Pakman Show, October 21, 2018.
Wineries & Cannabis: What You Can & Can’t Do, Central Coast Wine and Weed Symposium, San Louis Obispo, CA, May 10, 2018.
What You Need to Know Now to Get Your California Cannabis License on January 1, Harris Bricken webinar, December 18, 2017.
Rights, Opportunities, and Responsibilities of Municipalities Regulating Cannabis, Harris Bricken webinar, December 14, 2017.
Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act: What You Need to Know, Harris Bricken webinar, August 8, 2017.
California Medical Cannabis Licensing: What You Need to Know Now, Harris Bricken webinar, June 1, 2017.
Cross-Border Cannabis Markets: A Primer for Marijuana Businesses and Investors in the U.S. and Canada, Harris Bricken webinar, May 9, 2017.
Co-chair, Cannabis as a Business in California, Law Seminars International, Sacramento, CA, February 3, 2017.
Medical and Recreational Marijuana in Southern California, The Seminar Group, Santa Monica, CA, October 27, 2016.
Marijuana is Legal: Now What?, NACM Western Region Credit Conference, Seattle, WA, October 14, 2016.
Marijuana Legalization in California, American Inns of Court, Long Beach, CA October 11, 2016.
Cutting Through the Haze: Marijuana and the Environment, ABA Environmental Conference, Denver, CO, October 6, 2016.
Oregon Marijuana for Investors, Harris Bricken webinar, May 25, 2016.
Program Co-Chair, Medical and Recreational Marijuana in Northern California, The Seminar Group, San Fransisco, CA, May 13, 2016.
Program Chair, Marijuana in Alaska, The Seminar Group, Anchorage, AK, April 28, 2016.
The Cannabis Science and Policy Summit, Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University, April 17-18, 2016.
Marijuana, Twenty-Three States and Counting…, American Bar Association, The JW Marriott and National Press Club-Washington D.C., April 6, 2016.
Best of Both Worlds – the Potential in Polarity, TEDx Talk, Orcas Island, March 5, 2016.
Pennsylvania’s Proposed Medical Cannabis Act, The Pennsylvania Bar Institute, November 23, 2015.
AICPA Forensic & Valuation Services Conference, AICPA, The Venetian & Palazzo Resort – Las Vegas, November 8, 2015 @3:10-4:25pm.
Medical Marijuana in Seattle, Lawline, September 3, 2015.
Legal Considerations for State-Legal Marijuana Businesses, Thomson Reuters, August 11, 2015.
Medical and Recreational Marijuana in Washington, The Seminar Group, July 30, 2015.
Medical and Recreational Marijuana in Oregon, The Seminar Group, July 8, 2015.
Spotting Product Liability Issues for Marijuana, NBI, June 26, 2015.
Medical Marijuana in Illinois, The Seminar Group, Chicago, IL, June 5, 2015.
This California Bill Would Mandate Punishment of Marijuana Debtors Without a Hearing, Reason, April 4th, 2023.
How the marijuana ‘green rush’ fell apart, The Washington Post, December 30, 2022.
California pot companies sued for not getting smokers high enough, SFGATE, November 10, 2022.
Telehealth startups prescribing ketamine at home are stirring concern, Stat, November 3, 2022.
What Biden’s weed move means for cannabis industry and states, Pluribus News, October 8, 2022.
Licensed Marijuana Dispensaries in Santa Ana and Los Angeles Raided for Unpaid Taxes, New University, April 27, 2022.
Licensed cannabis businesses in Santa Ana, Los Angeles raided over unpaid taxes, Orange County Register, April 1, 2022.
Bill seeks to expand access to medical marijuana — but some worry it could backfire, San Francisco Chronicle, March 24, 2022.
California Cannabis Department Proposes New Regulatory Changes, High Times, March 8, 2022.
With taxes going up, cannabis operators threaten ‘Weed Party’, The Orange County Register, December 3, 2021.
As ketamine clinics emerge in Seattle to treat mental illness, so does debate about safety and regulations, Seattle Times, November 28, 2021.
5 years of legal weed in CA: Barriers to entry, social equity challenges, booming illicit market, KCRW, November 4, 2021.
Former MedMen execs Bierman, Modlin file multiple lawsuits against new marijuana partners, MJBizDaily, October 4, 2021.
The Parent Co. agrees to buy marijuana firm Coastal for up to $56.2M, MJBizDaily, October 4, 2021.
Cannabis Practice Creates Ethical Traps, Conflicts for Lawyers, Bloomberg Law, July 27, 2021.
Calif. Centralizes Cannabis Regulation Within New Dept., Law360, July 15, 2021.
Marijuana social equity: Seeds planted but will they grow? The Associated Press, April 30, 2021.
Two Pot Execs Want To Take Ketamine Mainstream. Not Everybody is Vibing., Phoenix New Times, April 21, 2021.
Black-Owned Pot Businesses Remain Rare Despite Diversity Efforts, The Pew Charitable Trusts (PEW), January 15, 2021.
Judge nixes lawsuit challenging California home pot delivery, The Hour, November 20, 2020.
Federal Government Sues California Bureau of Cannabis Control for Business Records, Cannabis Business Times, August 12, 2020.
Is the Green Rush Over in California?, dot.LA webinar, August 11, 2020.
Beware and aware: review of cannabis law, Daily Journal Podcast, March 23, 2020.
‘Uncharted territory’ of marijuana recalls, National Underwriter Property Casualty 360, October 22, 2019.
Marijuana Vape Sales Lag as Lung Illnesses Rise in US, U.S. News, September 26, 2019.
California might triple number of marijuana shops across state, Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2019.
Budding Los Angeles: Growing industry attracts young attorneys to cannabis law, Daily Bruin, January 28, 2019.
Meet the bigshot lawyers who are turning weed into a $194 billion industry, Business Insider, January 11, 2019.
State’s new pot market sees a slow first year, Los Angeles Times, December 27, 2018.
One year of legal pot sales and California doesn’t have the bustling industry it expected. Here’s why, Los Angeles Times, December 27, 2018.
Marijuana startups trading equity stakes for legal help, real estate Experts see such deals as risky on several fronts, The Orange County Register, December 17, 2018.
Cannabis Capitalism: who is making money in the marijuana industry? The Guardian, October 3, 2018.
2018 Trailblazers Cannabis Law, The National Law Journal, October 2018.
Trying to Increase Social Equity in the Cannabis Industry, LA Weekly, July 23, 2018.
Don’t Bet On Federal Marijuana Legalization Just Yet, Forbes Magazine, June 19, 2018.
Oregon’s high hopes for legalization now a cautionary tale, Portland Press Herald, June 6, 2018.
Oversupply of marijuana creating problems in Oregon, Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 2, 2018.
Glut of marijuana in Oregon is cautionary tale, experts say, Financial Post, May 31, 2018.
Cultivating Clout: Marijuana Money Flows into California Politics, Times of San Diego, May 5, 2018.
California May Drop Cannabis Taxes To Give Legal Sellers A Boost, Forbes Magazine, March 15, 2018.
A Top Cannabis Lawyer on What Losing the Cole Memo Means, Leafly, January 5, 2018.
Trump administration targets recreational pot, placing thousands of marijuana businesses in California at risk, Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2018.
With clock ticking down to legalization, marijuana becomes a suburban affair, Los Angeles Times, December 29, 2017.
One year later: The politics of pot, KCRW 89.9FM, December 21, 2017.
Render unto Caeser before getting a seller’s permit, California tells cannabis businesses, San Francisco Business Times, November 30, 2017.
Canada’s Legal Weed: What You Need to Know. Rolling Stone, April 17, 2017.
Canada announces legislation to legalize marijuana, KCRW, April 13, 2017.
Marijuana businesses pay taxes, but many don’t have bank accounts, The Desert Sun, January 23, 2017.
Election results give pot smokers a high, Fox News, November 9, 2016.
Smokin’, rollin’, eatin’ … regulatin,’ Fox News, October 6, 2016.
Presidential candidates and marijuana, MSNBC, April 9, 2016.
How to Invest in Marijuana Legalization, U.S. News & World Report, March 17, 2016.
Here’s the only pot stock worth owning, CNN Money, April 17, 2015.
With Marijuana Legalized, a City in Washington Says, ‘Not So Fast,’ The New York Times, June 11, 2014.
Pot Growers Can’t Use Federal Irrigation Water, King 5 News, May 20, 2014.
Cannabis Concerns, interview, Seattle Channel, April 4, 2014.
Medical marijuana outlets prepare as Washington lawmakers ponder their fate, Puget Sound Business Journal, March 12, 2014.
Providers of Medical Marijuana Face New Fears, The New York Times, March 6, 2014.
National Marijuana Legalization interview, MSNBC Disrupt, February 2, 2014.
Weed Startups In Washington Face Huge Challenges, Business Insider, January 14, 2014.
I-502 and city of Seattle Cannabis zoning, Seattle Channel, May 3, 2013.
Confusion still crowds legal pot in Washington, BC CTV, June 12, 2013.
Joint venture: With 1-502 now in effect, Seattle has become ground zero for the state’s recreational pot market, Seattle Magazine, September 2013.
A legal high: Practicing marijuana business law, Puget Sound Business Journal, August 22, 2013.
Regular contributor to the award-winning Canna Law Blog.
Could State Ownership Solve US Cannabis Policy Issues?, Law360, December 1, 2022.
Reefer Sadness? SAFE Banking Act is Back, Cannabis Business Executive, February 3, 2022.
Acquiring a Cannabis Business, Thomson Reuters Westlaw, 2021.
Colorado marijuana laws explained, GreenState, November 28, 2017.
Washington marijuana laws explained, GreenState, November 28, 2017.
Marijuana Law and Policy, Above The Law, Featured Columnist, 2015 – 2019.
Federal-State Conflicts on Cannabis, Washington Wire, January 10, 2013.
Top 200 Global Psychedelic Lawyers and Policy & Regulatory Experts (2022-2023)
Global Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers (2022-2023)
Named one of the “Top California Cannabis Lawyers” Daily Journal (2022)
Top 200 Global Psychedelic Lawyers and Policy & Regulatory Experts (2021-2022)
Global Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers (2021-2022)
Recognized in Chambers USA 2021 Guide
“Rising Star” lawyer, Super Lawyers (Southern California) 2019-2022
“Rising Star” lawyer, Super Lawyers (Washington) 2014-2022
Named one of the “Top Marijuana Industry Deal Attorneys” Business Insider (2019)
Named one of the “Top 40 Young Lawyers,” American Bar Association (2017)
Named one of “8 Influential Women Leading the Cannabis Industry in 2017,” Leafly (2017).
2015 “40 Under 40,” Puget Sound Business Journal (2015)
2013 “Deal Maker,” Puget Sound Business Journal (2013)
Industry Attorney of the Year, Dope Magazine (2013)
Acted and admitted as expert witness on cannabis regulatory matters in victory for plaintiff regarding a cannabis landlord and tenant dispute in the City of Los Angeles.
Representation of hundreds of California and Washington cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, distributors and retailers on licensing and regulatory compliance matters.
Representation of hundreds of cannabis companies regarding corporate organization and structuring with a focus on the impact of IRC 280E.
Representation of hundreds of buyers and sellers of cannabis businesses and assets in Washington and California.
Representation of foreign investors for investment into various cannabis companies in the State of California.
Representation of multiple publicly traded Canadian cannabis companies regarding corporate governance and cannabis company acquisitions in California.
Representation of various financial institutions regarding compliance with the 2014 FinCEN cannabis banking guidance.
Representation of numerous cannabis and CBD companies in capital raising transactions.
Representation of domestic and international cannabis hardware and equipment manufacturers for cannabis businesses.
Representation of hundreds of cannabis companies in the negotiation and drafting of purchase order, supply, slotting fee, white label, intellectual property, and distribution agreements.
Representation of hundreds of cannabis companies in Washington and California before various local and state regulatory bodies regarding cannabis rule violations and interpretations of various rules.
Washington State Bar Association
State Bar of California
Florida State Bar Association
- Jacksonville University (B.A.)
- University of Miami School of Law (J.D.)
Bar & Court Admissions
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
- U.S. District Court, Central District of California
- Spanish (Conversational)