The partner and co-founder of Vicente Sederberg LLC discusses the rapid expansion of his law firm and why Colorado will remain a pillar in the industry and where he would invest
Christian Sederberg thinks Colorado will see at least $1.3 billion in cannabis sales revenue this year, wants marijuana consumption to be on equal footing with alcohol in Denver and secretly wishes that his name was Vicente Sederberg to eliminate future confusion.
In truth, the Denver-based attorney doesn’t want to usurp his partner Brian Vicente, with whom he founded “the country’s first powerhouse marijuana law firm,” according to Rolling Stone magazine.
Vicente Sederberg LLC has played a significant role in forming the infrastructure of the recreational marijuana industry, with thanks in part to Governor John Hickenlooper for appointing Sederberg to the Amendment 64 Committee several years ago. The launch of the adult-use market earned Vicente Sederberg national acclaim and led the firm to expand to 50 lawyers with offices in Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
“Obviously, members of our firm worked on, wrote, drafted and ran the Amendment 64 campaign,” Sederberg says. “My role, following the campaign, was through the appointment by Governor Hickenlooper to the Amendment 64 committee as a representative of that campaign. A lot of the work that was done was building the initial framework and through that process came things that are now ubiquitous around the country.”
Following his appointment to the Amendment 64 committee, Sederberg helped establish the labeling and packaging rules, as well as the standards for childproof containers that are largely being adopted by every legal cannabis market in the U.S.
“Those were sort of the heavy lifts that happened initially,” Sederberg says. “The real challenge is obviously just making sure the success of the program, which is measured by the decrease in use by kids, the underground market activity — all those things that were a part of the reason for passing the law — actually happened.”
Chiseling away at minor tweaks to the regulations, Sederberg calls Amendment 64 “a work in progress.”
One major change took went into effect Jan. 1, 2017, as Colorado cannabis businesses can now start accepting out-of-state money directly. Sederberg says his firm spent the past year mapping out the finer points of the legislation and helping to ease the transition to “make the regulations run more efficiently and to make basically a better system, not a more complex system.”
With California and Massachusetts’ recreational programs on the horizon, the new regulations beg the question of how much out-of-state money will flow into Colorado. Sederberg points out that due to passing adult-use laws years ago, Colorado is already home to a large assortment of leaders in business, cultivation, regulatory policy and reform activism.
“I think Colorado, from a business perspective, will remain very much as one of the centers of adult-use marijuana business,” he says. “But obviously — and I’ve said this before — California is the heart of the movement and I am really excited for my friends and colleagues in California to start to take a real strong leadership position in the industry.”
When asked what region he would invest in personally, Sederberg’s reply came with little hesitation:
“Well, California, obviously.”