Learn about California rules, conflicts of interest, going into business with a client, and more.
Jessica C. McElfresh, Esq., of McElfresh Law, Inc. has worked in cannabis law and policy since 2010. She focuses on local and state applications, land use, regulatory compliance, and business law. She represents cannabis retailers, distributors, cultivators, manufacturers, and testing labs, as well as landlords and ancillary businesses. Jessica has guided clients through successful applications in jurisdictions such as the City of San Diego, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, La Mesa, and the County of San Diego.
Jessica has authored and advised on numerous local ordinances and ballot measures to regulate cannabis businesses, including Measure U in La Mesa and Measure V in Lemon Grove. She has won writs of mandate at the local and appellate level to compel local governments and registrars of voters to accept petitions and count voter signatures.
Jessica represents people facing discipline or loss of state and local licenses, particularly in the cannabis industry. She began her career in criminal defense and continues to take select cases. Jessica has unique experience with the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege and the duties of an attorney under investigation or facing criminal charges. She gained this experience after she faced criminal charges alongside cannabis clients in 2017 in a case that garnered national attention. Jessica also lectures on the ethical considerations in a cannabis practice, including conflicts of interest, business partnerships with clients, and withdrawal from representation.
Outside of her law practice, Jessica is an advocate for cannabis and broader drug policy reform. She is an advisory board member for A New PATH, an organization dedicated to promoting therapeutic rather than punitive drug policies. Jessica has also served as a consultant for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California about how Proposition 64 affects criminal justice reform and individual rights. She is a proud member of the International Cannabis Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee.
Jessica grew up in San Diego and graduated summa cum laude from Scripps College before attending the University of San Diego School of Law on a Dean’s Honor Scholarship. She has spoken at conferences and taught continuing legal education classes for organizations and law schools including the National Cannabis Industry Association Business Summit & Expo, International Cannabis Bar Association, State of Cannabis, California NORML, San Diego County Bar Association, and University of San Diego School of Law.
This activity is approved for one (1) hour of CLE credit in the special subject of Ethics.