Anne van Leynseele – The Life Of A Powerful Cannabis Lawyer

Back in 2008 when Anne graduated from law school, she was excited to conquer the domain of law. Her ability to notice things and desire to change the status quo inspired  her to contribute a practical resource called “The Layperson’s Guide to Breast Cancer.” Fortunately, her impressive work contributed to her landing a position to work as a federal attorney-advisor under then President Obama’s Administration. While in Washington D.C., Anne spent four years conducting an in-depth review of individual cases, examining a wide variety of medical and legal evidence to identify pertinent legal, procedural, and substantive issues so that she could draft final action documents, including Appeals Council decisions, orders, notices, advisory opinions, and memoranda while providing additional consultation if needed.

After her four-year experience with Obama One, she encountered another disparity in the system: the Federal Bureau of Reclamation was denying water rights to legally licensed cannabis growers in Washington State and Colorado, the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana. Infuriated with the struggle of these entrepreneurs in the burgeoning cannabis industry, Anne decided to help them against this unfair treatment and to help these start-up businesses to understand and comply with the complex matrix of laws, rules, policies, and reporting required to remain legal.

From here her life took a turn for the better, she was in her element.

In May 2014, Anne founded 7 Point Law, formerly known as Northwest Marijuana Law, and started practicing cannabis regulatory and corporate law. The firm began with just Anne and soon reached 118 clients all across Washington state. By 2017, it was representing a quarter of Washington State’s legal cannabis industry. Despite the amount of time that has passed, cannabis law has been and will continue to be a high risk area of law. However, as it matures and evolves so quickly lawyers like Anne need to continuously manage, process, analyze, and present a lot of information to stay informed with the field. Whenever she encounters a new cannabis lawyer, she spends time teaching them the nuance of the issues and questioning them about pitfalls that they may have overlooked. This is because, as Anne quotes, “One of the biggest problems that many lawyers and those big law firms overlook is that cannabis law touches on some 23 different areas of law. Cannabis start-up companies must be extra vigilant in establishing a strong foundation to ensure that their precious license is never in danger.”

When it comes to cannabis law, Anne believes that foresight and comprehensive legal counsel is where she excelled and her clients benefited from her experience in multiple cutting-edge industries and her vigilance to adherence to the ethical practice of law over the years in this evolving industry. The firm offered multiple services including, providing strategic legal planning for cannabis businesses in anticipation of cross-state expansion, service start-up companies with formation, investor agreements, and wealth creation, counsel on regulatory and license compliance, tax issues, operational legalities, and negotiate mergers and acquisitions in a highly regulated industry, mediate partner disputes, investor separations, company dissolutions, and full service of administrative violation appeals and general business Arbitration and Anne managed all aspects of an eight-person law firm and new client development.

After a contentious dissolution with her law partner, in 2019, Anne joined a well established Los Angeles, California firm to learn the more global approach to cannabis and hemp law. Now, post COVID19 lockdown, she is working in a deeper and more intrinsic way as fractional general counsel and business advisor with a select few, multi-state and international clients through her new company, Gemba Growth. Her goal is to share with her clients what few other attorneys have, that is, nearly seven years of frontline exposure to the myriad problems cannabis companies and the industry itself face. Today, Anne is an internationally known cannabis and hemp expert while having owned several companies in diverse industries. She is currently writing a much anticipated memoir on the early days of legal cannabis, which will be published before the end of 2021.