Griffen Thorne, Partner
California is a tough place to do business. Griffen makes it much easier. Businesses routinely look to Griffen to negotiate and close a variety of challenging corporate transactions. His goal is to find the simplest and most cost-effective solution to client problems in complex and often highly regulated transactions. His past experience as a high-stakes IP and commercial litigator allows him to easily diagnose potential cost and liability exposures while negotiating transactions.
Griffen is a broad-based corporate attorney. He negotiates and closes business, asset, and property purchases on behalf of both buyers and sellers. He represents borrowers, lenders, and investors in equity and debt finance transactions, and lessors and lessees in commercial leases. He serves as outside general counsel for corporate clients, assisting with entity formation, corporate governance, general commercial transactions, intellectual property licensing, and more.
Many of his clients operate in highly regulated industries, and include physicians, healthcare businesses, cannabis and hemp businesses, and emerging psychedelics businesses. Griffen has helped close to a hundred companies secure hard-fought licenses across the state of California. Griffen was one of the leading executive committee members of the first section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Cannabis Section, writes weekly for the Canna Law Blog and Psychedelics Law Blog, writes regularly for outside publications, speaks on and leads panels, and has been interviewed for cannabis legal analysis by Vice, ReasonTV, The Atlantic, MarketWatch, Bloomberg Law, and Law360.
Before beginning his legal career, Griffen studied music at the University of California, Berkeley, and still plays electric guitar in his spare time. He studied law at Loyola University of Chicago, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal and graduated third in his class of 250 students.
In his free time, Griffen enjoys spending time with his two daughters, his wife, and their dog, traveling, studying languages, and volunteering at his local synagogue.
What clients have to say about Griffen
“Griffen Thorne was invaluable in helping us navigate a real estate transaction that involved a tenant operating a cannabis business. Griffen was able to get up to speed quickly and efficiently on our matter, identifying the relevant regulatory considerations and distilling them down into practical implications for our business. Griffen was professional and left us feeling extremely confident in the representation.”
– Clayton Collett, Development Director | Orange Barrel Media
“Griffen Thorne at Harris Sliwoski was invaluable in helping us through a difficult time with our business. Griffen had the unique expertise to resolve the issues effectively and positively when we were dealing with our Tenants licensing and lease agreement issues. He walked us through the process, made it easy for us to understand our options, and answered all our questions, no matter how trivial (even on the weekend!). Now that our legal issues have been resolved, we can focus on growing our business again. Thank you Griffen for your help.”
– M. David Torosian, CPA, JD
“Griffen Thorne was invaluable in helping us through a difficult time with our business. When we were dealing with all licensing and compliance issues, he had the unique expertise to resolve all issues. He walked us through the process and made it easy for us to understand our options. Griffen answered our questions, no matter how trivial (even on the weekend!). Now that our legal issues have been resolved, we can get back to focusing on growing our business again.
Griffen held our hands through a two year journey that we would have never gotten over the goal line without him. We are fully licensed, operational and Griffen and his colleagues will be our intellectual partners forever.”
– Sandy and Josh Wax | JOSHWAX
“I am impressed with this law firm. They answered all my questions regarding cannabis businesses and the California framework 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 Sliwoski is an expert in their field, and I was in good hands throughout my legal representation.”
– Corey T., CEO | Thinc Cubed, LLC
“You won’t find a better partner than Harris Sliwoski when trying to navigate the complex world of healthcare regulations. They not only give sound and reliable legal advice, but are also very responsive and are able to guide you in a way that helps you reach your business objectives as well.”
– Joseph Axelrod, General Counsel | Irwin Naturals
“California’s passage of Prop 19 and the threat of losing our multigenerational livestock ranch to property taxes, I was looking for more income. I decided to go with leases to a cannabis company. I have a local law office to handle more routine matters but choose Harris Sliwoski to work with as I wanted someone who specialized in the rapidly changing rules of Cannabis contracts. I enjoyed working with Griffen Thorne. When documents needed to be completed rapidly before a county rules change Griffen Thorne gave it immediate attention and even worked into evening on contracts.”
More About Griffen
Intellectual Property Law 2023-2024: SCOTUS Updates, ChatGPT, and More, NBI Seminars, November 1, 2023.
Labeling and Marketing Vice Products, ABA-IPL Section of the American Bar Association, October 19, 2023.
Cannabis and Firearms: How federal law strips cannabis users of Constitutional Rights, myLawCLE, September 20, 2023
Unlocking the Secrets of Commercial Cannabis Leasing, National Association of Cannabis Accounting and Tax Professionals, August 8, 2023.
Cannabis In 2023: Corporate & Regulatory Concerns, GGI North American Regional Conference, June 23, 2023.
History and Regulation of Psychedelics: An In-Depth Look at Legal Issues Surrounding Ketamine, Psilocybin, MDMA, and More, LACBA webinar, June 15th, 2023.
Current Ketamine Regulations & The Future of Psychedelic Medicines, Harris Sliwoski webinar, April 11, 2023.
Distressed Cannabis Businesses, Harris Sliwoski webinar, February 28, 2023.
Key Real Estate Issues for Cannabis Businesses, LexVid, February 9, 2023.
Legal and Regulatory Landscape for Psychedelics, The Seminar Group, January 12, 2023.
Psychedelics Law for Lawyers, CEB, Feb. 6, 2023.
Cannabis and Psychedelics Election Updates and Q&A, Harris Sliwoski webinar, November 15, 2022.
Panelist, Cannabis Business Virtual Symposium, CalCPA, November 9, 2022.
How To Protect Your Psychedelics Business, Harris Sliwoski Webinar, October 25, 2022.
Entheogens, the Law, and Religious Freedom with Griffen Thorne, The Entheogenic Evolution, June 14, 2022.
Corporate Cannabis Q&A: Cannabis Loans and Investments, Harris Sliwoski webinar, March 3, 2022.
Program Chair, Legal and Regulatory Landscape for Psychedelics, The Seminar Group, January 26, 2022.
Cannabis Intellectual Property: Patents and Trademarks, NBI CLE Webinar, January 18, 2022.
Corporate Cannabis Q&A: Buying and Selling a Cannabis Business, Harris Sliwoski webinar, January 13, 2022.
Panelist, The Dos and Don’ts of Marketing in the Cannabis Industry, American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law Advertising and Marketing Law Committee webinar, October 7, 2021.
Psychedelic Law Presentation, UCLA CannaClub, April 21, 2021.
Program Chair, Cannabis and Hemp Business Considerations, Seminar Group, April 7, 2021.
CBD Considerations in the Pacific Northwest, Case Studies Panel, Seminar Group, March 30, 2021.
Talking 2021/2020 in Review, MMLG Webinar, December 10, 2020.
Guest Lecturer, California Medical Cannabis Law 101, University of San Francisco Pharmacy Course, An Overview of Medical Cannabis, December 8, 2020.
Ketamine, Psilcobyin and New Drug Therapies (Part 2), Harris Sliwoski webinar, November 19, 2020.
Cannabis E-Commerce: Legal and Regulatory Problems and Solutions for Online Marketing and Sales, Lawline, November 10, 2020.
Seeds of Change: How the Election Results Will Shape the Future of Cannabis, International Jewish Cannabis Association, November 9, 2020.
Cannabis and CBD Business Basics, UCLA CannaClub Webinar, October 28, 2020.
Guest Lecturer, Santa Clara University School of Law, Cannabis Law and Policy Class, October 21, 2020.
Guest Lecturer, California Medical Cannabis Law 101, University of San Francisco Pharmacy Course, An Overview of Medical Cannabis, October 20, 2020.
Trends in Enforcement and Violations, MMLG Webinar, October 8, 2020.
Cannabis Law For Attorneys, ABA GPSolo Roundtable, October 8, 2020.
Hemp CBD Q&A, Harris Sliwoski webinar, September 17, 2020.
Panel Moderator Cannabis Industry Virtual Symposium, CalCPA , August 7, 2020.
Ketamine, Psilocybin and New Drug Therapies, Harris Sliwoski webinar, July 9, 2020.
California Cannabis Q&A, Harris Sliwoski webinar, May 28, 2020.
Cannabis Quarterly Salon, LACBA webinar, May 26, 2020.
Beyond CBD: New Cannabinoids and the 2018 Farm Bill, Harris Sliwoski webinar, April 29, 2020.
COVID-19, Companies Making Culture Podcast, April 7, 2020.
Industrial Hemp and Cultivation Laws, The Seminar Group, April 2, 2020.
Cannabis Law for Attorneys, Presentation at Lewitt Hackman, March 9, 2020.
The International Cannabis Trade, Harris Sliwoski webinar, March 4, 2020.
Business & Environmental Issues in Cannabis & Industrial Hemp, The Seminar Group, Oakland, CA, February 28, 2020.
Legal Trends and the Expected Role of Cannabis Lawyers, USA CBD Expo, Las Vegas, NV, February 14, 2020.
Compliant Cannabis Framework & Strategies, Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, Denver, CO, January 29-30, 2020.
Hemp & CBD Law: The Future of a Booming But Largely Unregulated Industry, HB Litigation Conferences, July 25, 2019.
It Could Happen to You: Cannabis Agency Litigation and Enforcement, Harris Sliwoski Webinar, April 23, 2019.
The Business of Marijuana in Southern California, The Seminar Group, March 28, 2019.
It Could Happen to You: Cannabis Agency Litigation, Harris Sliwoski webinar, April 23, 2019.
West Coast Hemp CBD After the Farm Bill, Harris Sliwoski Webinar, February 21, 2019.
Federal health agency recommends easing marijuana restrictions, The Washington Post, August 30, 2023.
CA Sends Notices to 90 Cannabis Licensees After Pro-Tech Union Declared Not Bona Fide, CRB Monitor, July 27, 2023.
States give marijuana data to Biden administration for rescheduling review, MJBizDaily, July 13, 2023.
Psychedelic Access Pathways: Differentiating Medical, Wellness, and Religious Access to Psychedelics, BrainFutures, July 11, 2023.
Could Cookies THCa gambit pay off?, Weed Week, July 8, 2023.
Herbl collapse signals wider fallout in California marijuana industry, MJ Biz Daily, July 6, 2023.
As a Business, Psilocybin Will Be a Bust, Law Firm Says, Willamette Week, July 1, 2023.
Desperate California Cannabis Vendors Seek Credit Protection, Cannabis Industry Journal, June 5, 2023.
California Coalition Seeking Safeguards Around Cannabis Bought on Credit, Cannabis Science and Technology, June 8, 2023.
This California Bill Would Mandate Punishment of Marijuana Debtors Without a Hearing, Reason, April 4th, 2023.
The Wild West of Cannabis Marketing, Medical Marketing & Media, April 24, 2023.
CBG Is Legal For Now, But The FDA Is Watching, CBD Oracle, April 3, 2023.
Expert: More CA cannabis licensing requirements a step in the wrong direction, Opportunity Now, February 22, 2023.
FDA Sidesteps Regulatory Guidance For CBD In Food, Beverages, MediaPost, January 26, 2023.
How do U.S. marijuana policies compare globally after Biden’s pardon?, Washington Post, October 7, 2022.
I denne kirken er sopp blant det helligste, Vårt Land, August 25, 2022.
US 0.3% THC limit challenge dismissed: what could it mean for hemp producers?, CBD-Intel, July 15, 2022.
Mushroom rabbi grows ceremonial psilocybin for Denver congregation — but is that legal?, Denver Post, February 11, 2022.
How to sell your marijuana retail store without selling yourself short, MJBizDaily, November 1, 2021.
Shroom Boom: Moves to decriminalize some hallucinogens have spurred investment, but even those are tiny steps, East Bay Express, September 22, 2021.
Calif. Releases New Unified Rules Governing Pot Industry, Law360, September 8, 2021.
Labeling Laments: Packaging and label regulations are a major challenge to the expanding cannabis industry, East Bay Express, July 14, 2021.
The Hemp Boom is Over. What Now?, The Pew Trusts, July 9, 2021.
CBD: Industry Or Ingredient?, Media Post, May 28, 2021.
Business of cannabis front and center in April 7 seminar, North Bay Business Journal, March 15, 2021.
Psychedelics Decriminalization and Regulation with Griffen Thorne, Emerging Litigation Podcast, February 8, 2021.
Oregon legalizes hard drugs and the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. Will California follow suit?, KCRW Greater L.A., December 2, 2020.
Flying with vapes, Asia Times, December 1, 2020.
Will mushrooms go the way of cannabis? Legalization efforts are growing, The Orange County Register, November 29, 2020.
A Look Inside This Year’s Adult-Use Legalization Campaigns, Cannabis Business Times, October 28, 2020.
“Expensive Awakenings:” States Step Up Cannabis Compliance and Enforcement, WeedWeek, October 27, 2020.
California’s Pot Delivery Wars Go to Court, WeedWeek, August 7, 2020.
Does Federal Law Apply To Cannabiz? Labor Case Appeals to Supreme Court, WeedWeek, May 29, 2020.
California Pot Firms Aim to Deliver Privacy Weed Users Want, Bloomberg Law, February 28, 2020.
Is CBD Safe to Carry on a Plane, WebMD, November 26, 2019.
The Unique Cyber Risks Facing the Cannabis Industry, The Recorder, November 21, 2019.
County snuffs out farmers’ plans for roadside hemp sales, Bakersfield.com, October 14, 2019.
What Travelers Need to Know About Flying with CBD, Weedmaps, August 2, 2019.
At Cannabis Shops, Face Recognition Is Already a Thing, Vice, August 2, 2019.
California may soon join other states in legalizing CBD foods, bypassing FDA, Hemp Industry Daily, June 5, 2019.
You Probably Shouldn’t Bring CBD Oil to an Airport, The Atlantic, May 3, 2019.
CBD Is Still Banned in States With Legal Weed, Reason TV, April 20, 2019.
While cannabis industry booms locally, state licensing system is way behind, Monterey County Weekly, April 18, 2019.
How the unsteady rise of the pot industry has made dime bags a billion-dollar business, MarketWatch, March 1, 2019.
The CBD Crackdown Has Begun, The Atlantic, February 6, 2019.
Getting pot delivered to your door just got easier in California, KRON4, February 5, 2019.
The Sad News About CBD Cupcakes, The Atlantic, January 15, 2019.
Law Firms Growing Cannabis Practices With Privacy Cases in Mind, Bloomberg Law, December 28, 2018.
Unarmed or Unwell:
How Federal Law Infringes Medical Marijuana Users’ Second Amendment Rights, HB Litigation, June 14, 2023.
Distressed Cannabis Cos. Have A Few Options, With Caveats, Law360, April 6, 2023.
Navigating State CBD Food and Dietary Supplement Product Labeling, Practical Law Commercial Transactions Practice Note, November 1, 2022.
Mike Tyson Edible Ban Shows Cannabis Ad Rules Go Too Far, Law360, Oct. 7, 2022.
Large Cannabis Licenses Will Bring Relief To Calif. Operators, Law360, July 27, 2022.
Is the Hemp Industry High and Dry? The Cannabis Scientist, June 28, 2021.
Hemp Extracts: The Dry Weight Problem, LACBA Cannabis Section Newsletter, January 2021.
Empowering Consumers, California Privacy Laws Could Spell Trouble for Cannabis Companies, Journal of Emerging Issues in Litigation, 2021.
Cannabis Track-and-Trace & Data Breaches: A Disaster Waiting to Happen, Cannabis & Tech Today, October 15, 2020.
How the DEA is Interfering with Religious Use of Psychedelics, JURIST, October 12, 2020.
From Handshakes to Written Contracts: The Pot Industry Matures, Los Angeles Lawyer, July/August 2020.
Cannabis Companies are Overlooking Data Security Laws and Regulations, JURIST, March 17, 2020.
The Feds Aren’t Done With Cannabis, Legalines, San Diego Legal Secretaries Association, March 2019.
Admitting Prior Convictions for Ten Years After Incarceration: Federal Rule of Evidence 609 Implies Prison Does Not Rehabilitate, 13 PRAXIS: WHERE REFLECTION AND PRACTICE MEET (2014)
Timing is Everything: Martinez v. Illinois (Re)Specifies When Jeopardy Attaches, JURIST DATELINE, June 19, 2014.
Severance agreements do not create new debt and are valid under the Park District Code, 59 TRIAL BRIEFS (ISBA, Chicago, Ill.), May 2014, at 1 (co-written with The Honorable Russell W. Hartigan)
Illinois court finds default judgment proper only after notice and repeated failure to comply, 59 TRIAL BRIEFS (ISBA, Chicago, Ill.), May 2014, at 6 (co-written with The Honorable Russell W. Hartigan)
The Illinois Supreme Court expands the reach of the Code of Civil Procedure’s six-year statute of repose, 59 TRIAL BRIEFS (ISBA, Chicago, Ill.), March 2014, at 1 (co-written with The Honorable Russell W. Hartigan)
Top 200 Global Psychedelic Lawyers and Policy & Regulatory Experts (2023 – 2nd edition)
“Rising Star” lawyer, Super Lawyers, 2023.
“Rising Star” lawyer, Super Lawyers (2022)
“Rising Star” lawyer, Super Lawyers (2021)
Loyola University Chicago School of Law:
- Graduated magna cum laude
- CALI Awards for Highest Grades in Administrative Law, Advanced
- Torts, Advocacy, Criminal Procedure II, Environmental Law, and Evidence
- Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society
- Dean’s List All Semesters
Los Angeles County Bar Association – Cannabis Law and Healthcare Law Sections
Former Professional Member (2018-2020), International Association of Privacy Professionals
Vice-Chair of Membership, Los Angeles County Bar Association (2019-2021)
Associate Attorney, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP (2015–2018)
Certified Information Privacy Professional, United States and Europe (inactive)
Member of Board of Directors and Committee Co-Chair, Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock (2020-2021)
Mergers and Acquisitions
Represented individuals in acquisition of cannabis cultivation facility in Orange County, California.
Represented buyer in negotiation and closing of acquisitions of licenses and other operating assets of cannabis wholesaler and three cannabis retailers in various jurisdictions in Oregon.
Represented Los Angeles cannabis retailer in Los Angeles in negotiation of acquisition by third party.
Represented purchaser of cannabis cultivator in Lake County, California.
Represented seller in drafting, negotiating, and closing the sale of affiliated cannabis distributor and manufacturer in Riverside County, CA.
Represented buyer in negotiation and execution of purchase agreement for cannabis cultivator in Riverside County, CA.
Represented buyer in drafting purchase agreement for healthcare facility in Florida.
Represented buyer in drafting and negotiation of purchase agreement for cannabis cultivator in Santa Cruz County, California.
Represented transferee of interest in cannabis Orange County, California to former owners.
Represented developer in partnership for acquisition and development of apartments in Brooklyn, New York.
Represented lessor in drafting and negotiating lease for high-end chocolate retailer in Los Angeles County, California.
Represented tenant in drafting and negotiating lease of commercial property for cannabis distribution and manufacturing in Riverside County, California.
Represented buyer of commercial property for office use in Marin County, California.
Represented client in acquisition of real property for lease to cannabis retailer in San Diego County, California.
Represented lessor of commercial property for lease to cannabis producer and processor in Jackson County, OR.
Represented lessor in negotiation of lease of large commercial property for multi-use cannabis operations in Los Angeles County, California.
Represented lessor in negotiating and drafting options to lease and lease agreements for eight parcels of unimproved property in Sonoma County, California.
Represented affiliates of lessor of commercial property for cannabis consumption lounge in Los Angeles County, California.
Represented tenant in negotiation of commercial lease for office space in Portland, OR.
Represented buyer in sale-lease-back to cannabis facility in Imperial County, CA.
Represented client in drafting lease for outdoor event area for hosting concerts and other events in Portland, OR.
Represented client in drafting and negotiating commercial lease for multi-use cannabis facility in Riverside County, California.
Represented client in drafting and negotiating lease of unimproved property for development of cannabis cultivation facilities in Richmond County, California.
Finance and Investments
Represented healthcare management services organization in drafting management services and deficit funding loan agreement for healthcare provider in Los Angeles County, California.
Represented lenders in negotiation and drafting convertible promissory notes to California cannabis holding company.
Represented cannabis cultivator in negotiation and execution of secured equipment finance lease in Riverside County, California.
Represented lender in secured loan for construction of tenant improvements on cannabis cultivator in north Los Angeles County, California
Represented lender in secured loan for acquisition and improvement of real property for cannabis business in Maine.
Represented lender in drafting and executing loan for borrower to secure real property in Monterey County, California.
Represented client on investment in Asian cannabis startup, analysis of investment materials, and negotiation of investment agreements.
Represented client in coordination with independent corporate counsel with formation of fund for loaning money cannabis cultivator, including drafting parts of fund partnership agreement, PPM, loan agreements with cannabis business, and real property lease in Los Angeles County, California.
Represented affiliated cannabis businesses in capital raise through convertible note to fund construction of tenant improvements in Los Angeles County, California.
Performed diligence review of potential investment transaction into statewide cannabis operator in California for foreign clients.
Commercial and Technology Transactions
Represented technology company in drafting agreements for advertising pilot program.
Represented athlete in negotiation and drafting of NFT development agreement.
Represented cannabis business in intellectual property license from rapper to develop brand and marketing efforts.
Represented cannabis cultivator and negotiated a cannabis supply agreement for more than 100,000 pounds of raw cannabis plant material in California.
Represented cannabis business in drafting and negotiating series of distribution, manufacture, and cannabis inventory purchase agreements in California.
Regulatory and Licensing
Represented healthcare provider in drafting practice policies and procedures and provider agreements.
Represented clients in negotiating tax payment plans with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and City of Los Angeles.
Represented client in drafting cannabis application in highly competitive Northern California application process, securing 100% score on written application.
Represented public company in formulating regulatory and M&A strategy for acquisitions of or partnerships with healthcare facilities in multiple U.S. states.
Represented client in securing suite of retail and non-retail cannabis licenses in San Diego County, California.
Represented client in securing new state cannabis distribution license for company after non-renewal by cannabis agency of original license due to purported regulatory deficiencies in Los Angeles County, California.
Represented client in obtaining state and local licenses after acquiring partially licensed business and addressing undisclosed liabilities following acquisition in Los Angeles County, California.
- Loyola University Chicago School of Law (J.D. magna cum laude)
- University of California, Berkeley (B.A.)
Bar & Court Admissions
- Washington State Bar Association
- Central District of Illinois
- Hebrew (Basic)