Bright, engaged, and committed to your success.
Meet our awesome team.
Come say hello next time you see us at one of these events where we happily speak to industry and investor audiences across the West Coast about timely and interesting topics.
Cannabis Cultivation Conference
BASF – Bar Association of San Francisco
California State Association of Counties
International Cannabis Business Association
National Cannabis Industry Association
California Cannabis Industry Association
Future Cannabis Project
Psychedelic Liberty Summit
CalNORML Legal Seminar
Microscopes & Machines
Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force Townhall
California Growers Association
“Meet the Buyers” Hosted by CDA and HCGA
Women of Sensi
Sproutways Growers Meetup
“The Cannabis Connection” Santa Cruz Radio Show
“The Monday Ag Update” San Francisco Bay Area Radio Show
Santa Barbara County Licensing Q&A
Green Trade Santa Cruz
Women Lawyers of Santa Cruz County
Cannabis Business Times Conference
Cannabis In California Law Seminars
Humboldt County Growers Association
Asian Commercial Professionals Association
Santa Clara Bar Association
Appraisal Institute Convention
Meadow Licensing Workshop
Los Angeles County Bar Association
Nevada County Cannabis Alliance
Business of Marijuana
Environmental Law Conference
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)
APA Planning & Law Division
We represent our clients in every corner, nook, cranny, and metropolis of the Golden State.
Our network of clients and experience working with local and state governments all over the State of California means we’ve got you covered.
In addition to meeting with you in greenhouses, loading docks, office buildings, and city council meetings all over the map, here are the places where we have actual offices where you can come see us in person just like the olden days.
2425 Olympic Blvd, Ste 4000W
Santa Monica, CA 90404
201 Spear Street, Ste 1100
San Francisco, CA 94105
980 9th Street, 16th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
303 Potrero Street, #45-102
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
310 N. Mount Shasta Blvd, Ste 7
Mt. Shasta, CA 96067
Pick up the phone.
Drop us a line.
Send us a message.
Ariel Clark is one of California’s best and most dedicated business attorneys advising clients in highly regulated, emerging markets.
For over a decade, Ariel has been in the trenches of cannabis law and drug policy reform, helping enact industry-defining regulations while building a client list of leading operators, entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and healers. When the idea of cannabis business law was considered an oxymoron, she committed her practice exclusively to this emerging industry — foresight that was recognized by Rolling Stone, which named her one of 18 “Women Shaping The Culture of Tomorrow.” Ariel’s hard work, intelligence, and tenacity have earned her a national reputation as one of the industry’s fiercest lawyers.
Ariel works closely with clients on a myriad regulatory and legal challenges in her role as outside general counsel. As the world embraces hemp, the derivative cannabinoids, and other emerging medicines Ariel’s extensive legal and political expertise provide valuable counsel to other trailblazers building successful companies, products, and services.
Ariel’s nationally-recognized leadership is reflected in her inclusion in Cannabis Business Executive’s “75 Most Important Women in Cannabis”; mg Magazine’s “30 Most Powerful Cannabis Lawyers”; Cannabis Law Report’s “Global Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers”; and Entrepreneur’s “Top 100 Cannabis Leaders.”
Ariel’s affiliations include the International Cannabis Bar Association, California Native American Cannabis Association, California and National Cannabis Industry Associations, and California Growers Association. She is vice chair of the Executive Committee and serves on the Social Equity Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Section. Additionally, she serves as co-general counsel to Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines; is a member of the Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants; and co-founded the Cannaboss Womxn’s Circle, an active community of professionals collectively advancing feminine leadership in the industry.
Ariel founded the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, which was instrumental in the passage of Measure M, authorizing the creation of a legal, regulated industry in LA. Over the last ten years, she has advised many other trade associations and drug policy reform organizations on regulatory and legal changes necessary for a thriving legal marketplace.
Prior to founding Clark Howell LLP (originally Clark Neubert LLP), Ariel captained her own firm and worked with California Indian Legal Services in Oakland, Santa Rosa, and Eureka. Her holistic, forward-thinking, and thorough approach to law – coupled with deep policy expertise and progressive vision – is of enormous benefit to clients, colleagues, and fellow paradigm-shifters.
Nicole Howell is one of California’s most effective and respected cannabis business and regulatory attorneys.
Industry executives, private investors, and public companies turn to Nicole for her perspective and proven track record in advising the industry’s most successful operators through California’s challenging and dynamic market.
In serving as general counsel to the state’s movers and shakers, Nicole has guided her clients over the major (and novel) corporate and regulatory hurdles unique to a market in its first decade of existence. Her role as lead regulatory counsel in successfully closing one of 2019’s largest and highest profile Canadian public company acquisitions of a beloved California enterprise demonstrates her skill in navigating bet-the-deal matters of first impression. Her work in structuring the legal framework for the state’s most innovative and fastest growing delivery provider illustrates her dedication to rolling up her sleeves to craft creative legal solutions that fuel business growth. Bold businesses and brands rely on Nicole’s counsel to be rooted in a rich understanding of the nuances, rules, and relationships that go into winning a successful outcome.
Nicole works actively with local and state legislative and regulatory efforts, having served as a member of State Treasurer John Chiang’s Cannabis Banking Working Group, as Chief Policy Advisor to the California Growers Association, on the Board of California NORML, and currently is involved in other industry and business related organizations, including the National and California Cannabis Industry Associations, International Cannabis Bar Association, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and the Executive Committee of the Cannabis Section for the San Francisco Bar Association.
Nicole has been recognized as one of the top 75 “Most Important Women in Cannabis” by Cannabis Business Executive, of the “30 Most Powerful Cannabis Lawyers” by MG Magazine, annually ranked by Super Lawyers magazine since 2012, and recognized for several years running as an “Attorney to Watch” by Chambers and Partners USA. In 2018, the firm was recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine in the nation’s top five cannabis firms. Nicole regularly speaks, teaches, and writes on the topics of cannabis and hemp business and regulatory law, and the decriminalization of plant medicines and other emerging therapeutics.
Prior to founding Clark Howell LLP (originally Clark Neubert LLP) Nicole practiced law at the San Francisco firms Clarence Dyer & Cohen LLP and Farella Braun + Martel LLP, where she earned a reputation as a tenacious, solution-oriented advocate in high stakes, parallel civil, criminal, and regulatory matters.
Jay Purcell is a senior corporate and securities lawyer who represents California’s cultivators, manufacturers, distributors and retailers, and the investors who back them. Between the strength of his training in Silicon Valley and the deal volume of Clark Howell’s practice, Jay offers extensive experience and sophistication advising cannabis businesses. In a rapidly changing environment, Jay delivers savvy advice to cannabis companies and investors, regularly advising collectives/cooperatives and non-profit mutual/public benefit corporations on conversion and acquisition strategies. Most of his practice is dedicated to structuring transactions between licensees and investors in the context of evolving and aggressive regulations.
Prior to working in cannabis, Jay worked as a corporate attorney for tech companies. Beginning at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, he was trained to represent businesses from idea to exit, concentrating on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate matters. Representative clients included Google Ventures, Founders Fund, DIA Styling, FireEye, Curse, SurfAir and companies that were sold to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. In 2016, Jay transitioned to a full-time cannabis practice, where the goal remains the same: helping little companies become big companies.
While at Berkeley, Jay won a fellowship from the Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases, helped organize a global IP collaboration for access to essential medicines, was an extern at Berkeley’s Office of Intellectual Property & Industrial Research Alliances and received an American Jurisprudence Prize. He is an active member and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Berkeley Law Alumni Association and serves on the Ethics Committee of the National Cannabis Bar Association.
Jay regularly writes and speaks on corporate-related cannabis law and has presented to audiences at Berkeley Law, Stanford Law School, Humboldt County Grower’s Alliance, the Cannabis World Expo, the Skirball Cultural Center, and the Future Cannabis Project among others.
Heather Kirlin brings to the firm over 15 years of experience representing companies in all stages of their life cycles, from formation to exit. She advises clients on a broad range of business transactions, including entity formation, mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financings, redemptions and cross-purchases, joint ventures, executive employment agreements, and negotiating and drafting a wide range of commercial agreements.
Heather has particular expertise in the area of business acquisitions, having acted as lead M&A counsel representing both buyers and sellers in numerous stock purchase, asset purchase and merger transactions for clients in a variety of industries. Heather also has extensive experience in helping co-owners negotiate and define the terms of their internal business relationship in partnership agreements, operating agreements and shareholders’ agreements. At Clark Howell, Heather applies her years of experience as a corporate attorney to helping clients in the cannabis industry find practical solutions to complex matters.
Heather is a native of California, and grew up in Napa, where her family owned a vineyard and a winery. Heather also previously owned a business representing small, family-owned wineries in Sonoma in a collective tasting room. This background in the wine industry has instilled in Heather a deep appreciation of plants, nature and all things that grow, while also giving her a deep understanding of the unique challenges of operating a business in a highly regulated landscape. Applying her legal skills to the cannabis industry is a natural extension of this background, allowing Heather to draw on her experience to tailor pragmatic solutions to the legal issues cannabis businesses face.
Prior to joining the firm, Heather was a partner at the well-respected San Francisco firm Greene Radovsky Maloney Share & Hennigh LLP, where she specialized in business transactions for a diverse client base, including real estate companies, retail businesses, professional service providers, agribusinesses, and technology companies.
Dan Dersham’s practice centers on commercial real estate transactions, regulatory compliance, and commercial litigation. His success in federal and state trials, arbitrations, and mediations has made him a sought-after legal adviser not only for corporate clients, but also for individual owners, investors, developers, and landlords seeking representation on a variety of real estate issues and disputes, such as leasing, land use, and regulatory compliance in highly regulated industries.
Dan regularly represents commercial landlords and tenants in negotiating and structuring leases, tenant buildouts, and new construction. He also regularly represents investors, developers, corporate clients, and individuals in purchasing, selling, financing, and developing commercial properties, including the acquisition of entitlements. Dan’s clients are among the industry’s fastest growing and well-positioned property and business owners, strategically leveraging assets to diversify clients and portfolios.
Prior to joining Clark Howell, Daniel was a partner at a San Francisco boutique business and litigation firm and an associate at a prominent west coast firm specializing in highly regulated industries.
Elizabeth Kremser is a skilled regulatory attorney advising cannabis companies, ancillary businesses in the cannabis industry, and cannabis entrepreneurs throughout the state of California. Building on her extensive experience in heavily regulated industries, Elizabeth guides clients as they navigate state and local cannabis and land use regulations, develop compliance strategies, and establish contractual relationships. As the industry increasingly moves into the digital space, Elizabeth’s cannabis clients benefit from her experience advising on privacy compliance, intellectual property, and SaaS issues.
Elizabeth brings to her cannabis industry practice her experience in the fast-moving and closely-regulated telecommunications sector. In that role, Elizabeth was a member of Best, Best & Krieger’s telecommunications group, advising California municipalities on various regulatory and land use matters. Elizabeth also served as in-house counsel to a nationwide wireless industry trade group in Washington, DC. There, she handled contracts for the group’s business development programs, and represented the trade group in rule-making proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission on Net Neutrality, privacy, and wireless infrastructure. As an associate attorney in San Luis Obispo, CA, Elizabeth advised on land use and water issues, as well as commercial contracts for wine and beer clients.
Prior to joining Clark Howell, Elizabeth expanded from her extensive regulatory and contractual experience into representing cannabis industry clients through her own solo practice based in Los Angeles. Immersing herself in the cannabis community, Elizabeth quickly became an ally and advisor to legacy cultivators seeking to gain footing in the emerging regulated market, as well as small licensed operators and consultants in the cannabis ecosystem. Elizabeth is currently the Director of Legal Affairs for LA NORML.
Molly is the captain of the helm for Clark Howell operations. With over a decade of experience as an executive level administrator, Molly expertly manages all integral administrative and operational matters for the firm while providing project and scheduling support to our attorney team.
Molly draws from her extensive work in educational giving foundations, her counseling experience and academic research, and her work with diverse adult student populations to cater to our clients. Molly is a passionate advocate for legal access to cannabis for medical and adult use.
Nicole Laggner is a highly effective and client focused attorney focusing her practice on supply chain transactions, regulatory compliance, corporate and intellectual property transactions, and local and state permitting and licensing matters. She successfully assists clients with business formation and transactional matters, including B2B contracts, equity and loan instruments, and intellectual property licensing agreements. In addition, Nicole appears before city councils, community forums, and other local regulatory bodies to advocate for the firm’s clients.
Nicole has extensive experience with all aspects of cannabis business formation and compliant operations, including license applications, zoning and land use issues, lobbying with local government, real estate and leasing matters, and corporate formation. Additionally, she has successfully settled license denials, breach of contract, and employment discrimination suits in the cannabis field. Nicole advises cannabis businesses on all aspects of regulatory compliance, including internal operations, packaging and labeling requirements, workplace protocols, and vendor contracts.
Before joining Clark Howell, Nicole practiced in the environmental and business litigation groups at international law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton where she handled complex business litigation, representing clients such as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Hanes Brands, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation, and the class of plaintiff beneficiaries of Individual Indian Money trust accounts, known as Elouise Pepion Cobell, et al.
Nicole enjoys working with a diverse range of clients and values the strong relationships she builds with them. She has extensive experience advising and representing cannabis clients at every stage of their businesses. Nicole thrives on and excels at assisting clients achieve their goals and become leaders in this emerging industry.