Company: JDW LLC
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Position: Attorney and Principal Owner
When Alaska legalized recreational cannabis in 2014, Jana Weltzin felt the call to return home.
Born and raised in Fairbanks, Weltzin moved to Arizona at age 18 to get her law degree at Arizona State University. She remained in the Southwest and joined Rose Law Group, the largest women-owned law firm in the country, where she focused on land use law and cannabis compliance.
“There are a lot of vague concepts in the law, like how do you define a community center, what’s a social services center, what are these things really when you’re looking at zoning a cannabis business,” she says.
As soon as Alaska legalized, Weltzin immediately started looking for ways to expand Rose Law into the state to help newly forming cannabis businesses. But when she realized that starting her own firm would keep more money in her home state, she founded JDW LLC, instead.
“I wanted to invest in Alaska, not send fees back to Arizona,” Weltzin says. “And I also wanted to know that I had what it takes to create and be a business owner myself. And I did. It’s the best choice I ever made.”
The young firm now has two paralegals and has worked to secure about 70 business licenses for cannabis growers and retailers in Alaska. One of its bigger upcoming projects is working with the state to allow on-site consumption at cannabis clubs.
“We’ve advocated really, really hard, but it hasn’t come to fruition yet,” Weltzin says. “But we’re going to keep working on that, and working on getting Alaska’s industry to be as strong as it can be.”