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11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
LUNCH AND KEYNOTE

IT'S NOT EASY BEING FIRST!
The ups and downs of Colorado's path to legalization and how we're turning lessons into leadership.

As more and more states legalize both medical and recreational cannabis, many look at one of the leaders -- Colorado -- for examples of what worked, what didn't and all the pieces in-between. David Blake was Colorado's Deputy Attorney General from day one, a position which provided him with a front-row seat to the development and growing pains of a brand new industry. There are stories of the wins, the losses and what Colorado learned from the process.

During their keynote, David will share stories of what worked, what didn't and the lessons learned by being the first, and Melissa will provide a perspective of how state and local governments around the country are addressing legalized cannabis in their own way and what we're learning moving forward. 


David Blake
Former Colorado Deputy Attorney General

In legalizing retail marijuana for adults, Colorado forged a radical path in this country. As the Chief Deputy Attorney General for Colorado, David Blake was charged with developing -- from scratch -- one of the nations first frameworks for a statewide cannabis regulatory and enforcement regime allowing adults over 21 to purchase and possess cannabis while also striving to thoughtfully regulate use.  

David Blake is Deputy Attorney General for Legal Policy and Government Affairs in the Colorado Department of Law. Prior to joining the Colorado Department of Law in 2010, Mr. Blake served in a variety of roles with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office between 1996 and 2010. His assignments there included working for the Office of Legislative Affairs and in the National Security Division, serving as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia, acting as counsel to the Guantanamo Detainee Review Task Force, and working as a trial attorney in the Civil Division. Mr. Blake is a 2007 graduate of the George Mason University School of Law and a 1996 graduate of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. David Blake is currently partner at Squire Patton Boggs, chairing their State Attorneys General Practice. Learn more.


Melissa Kuipers-Blake
Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber & Schreck

Dubbed "The Negotiator" by ColoradoBiz Magazine and a "power lobbyist" by Colorado Politics, Melissa Kuipers Blake is chair of her firm’s Emerging Regulated Industries (ERI) practice group, which assists state and local governments and employers throughout the country as they navigate the complexities of medical and recreational marijuana legalization. Having worked on marijuana issues since day one of legalization in Colorado, Melissa has a foundational perspective on the growth of the industry and its players. Learn more.






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