Our attorneys have more than three decades of combined experience representing clients in the marijuana industry and working on marijuana policy reform. They do not just advise clients on the law; they help to shape the laws and regulations themselves. Keep reading for a more detailed introduction to the members of our team.
Brian Vicente, Esq., is a partner and founding member of Vicente Sederberg, LLC. He served as the co-director of the Amendment 64 campaign and was one of the primary authors of this historic measure, which resulted in Colorado becoming the first state in the nation – and the first geographic area in the world – to make the possession, use, and regulated distribution of marijuana legal for adults. Vicente also serves as executive director of Sensible Colorado, the state's leading non-profit working for medical marijuana patients and providers. He was given the Gideon award for his free speech advocacy during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In 2010, Vicente was elected the first-ever chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the only trade association in the U.S. that works to advance the interests of marijuana-related businesses on the national level. Brian was the chair of the Committee for Responsible Regulation, which coordinated the successful 2013 campaign to implement statewide excise and sales taxes on the sale of adult-use marijuana in Colorado and was awarded the Justice Gerald Le Dain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law that same year. Brian has conducted over 1000 interviews in local, state and national press regarding marijuana policy, and in 2014 The Guardian (UK) dubbed him "the industry's de facto spokesman." Vicente's expertise in marijuana policy is highly sought after, and has led to him serving as a formal advisor to local, state, and federal governments—most recently he assisted with Uruguay becoming the first country in the world to fully-regulate the adult marijuana market. Brian serves on the board of directors for a number of state and national non-profit organizations including the SAFER Voter Education Fund and the Harm Reduction Action Center. Vicente graduated from the University of Denver Law School on a full merit scholarship where he clerked for outspoken social critic, Senior Federal Judge John L. Kane.
Christian Sederberg, Esq.,is a partner and founding member of Vicente Sederberg LLC. After graduating from the University of Colorado School of Law, Christian focused his practice on representing businesses with a primary focus on real estate, private equity, commercial, and corporate transactions. Since the inception of Colorado's state regulated medical marijuana program, Christian and the firm have provided a wide range of real estate, transactional and regulatory assistance to the marijuana community. Christian was also an integral part of Colorado's Amendment 64 campaign, acting as core volunteer for the campaign, representing the campaign on Governor Hickenlooper's Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force, and leading the campaign's legislative implementation team in the Colorado legislature by coordinating the implementation of the Colorado legislative and regulatory structure related to adult-use marijuana. Christian sat on the executive committee of the Committee for Responsible Regulation, which coordinated the campaign to establish statewide excise and sales taxes on the sale of adult-use marijuana in Colorado.
Joshua Kappel, Esq., partner at Vicente Sederberg LLC, graduated in the top 10 percent of his class at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in May 2010. While in law school, Josh received both the Patton Boggs Public Policy Fellowship and the Public Interest Law Clerkship to work for Sensible Colorado. Josh also interned with the National ACLU's Drug Law Reform Project in Santa Cruz and the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar. At Vicente Sederberg, Josh routinely provides advice to patients, caregivers, and businesses about medical marijuana, licensing, regulatory compliance, general business and transactional law, and the intersection of state and federal law. In addition to his work with Vicente Sederberg, Josh is currently the Associate Director of Sensible Colorado, advocating for medical marijuana patient rights. Josh has testified at numerous public hearings on issues related to medical marijuana, sat on many panels at various conferences, and routinely writes articles about a myriad of medical marijuana issues. Josh's work has been highlighted in the Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette, Westword, Kush Magazine, West Coast Leaf, and Colorado Springs Independent.
Ted Trimpa, Esq., of counsel with Vicente Sederberg, LLC, is the Principal and CEO of Trimpa Group LLC, a national political consulting and government relations firm that specializes in progressive public policy advocacy and political strategy. With offices in Washington D.C. and Denver, Trimpa Group develops cutting-edge public policy strategies at the state and federal levels. Trimpa also serves as a board member for numerous organizations, including the Democracy Alliance, ProgressNow, Third Way, Citizen Engagement Laboratory, and Tectonic Theater Project. Trimpa is one of the country's most sought-after advocates resulting from his deep understanding of the national and multi-state public policy, political, and nonprofit landscape. Called "Colorado's answer to Karl Rove" by The Atlantic, Trimpa is a nationally recognized Democratic strategist and operative. He is considered a key architect of the political infrastructure that facilitated the Democratic Party's resurgence in Colorado after decades of Republican dominance—a turnaround so dramatic National Review dubbed it the "Colorado miracle." Campaigns & Elections recently named him one of the top five Democratic political players in the state. In addition to his work in Colorado, Trimpa is a nationally recognized thought leader and a leading advisor to progressive donors and foundations. He is also a visionary within the gay rights movement and considered an early pioneer in advocating for political strategies focused at the state level. He has been recognized in national publications, including The Weekly Standard, The Atlantic, National Review, and The Advocate, for his central role in designing cutting-edge public policy strategies. Trimpa was raised on a small family farm in southwestern Kansas and got his start in politics by working for U.S. Senator Nancy Kassebaum. Prior to forming Trimpa Group, Ted was a shareholder at both Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and Hogan Lovells where he was responsible for matters before the Colorado General Assembly and had a multi-state public policy practice.
Steve Fox, Esq., of counsel with Vicente Sederberg LLC, is also the director of VS Strategies, a government relations and strategic communications sister company of Vicente Sederberg. He is one of the leading figures in the movement to create a legal, regulated marijuana market in the United States. He is a co-founder of the National Cannabis Industry Association, which represents approximately 800 state-legal businesses, and serves as a strategic advisor to the organization. While at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) from 2002-2005 and 2009-2013, Steve lobbied Congress and guided numerous ballot initiative campaigns, including the Amendment 64 campaign in Colorado. He also guided a lobbying team through the Amendment 64 implementation process. In 2005, Steve conceptualized and co-founded Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) in Colorado for the express purpose of educating the public about the fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. The goal, eventually realized, was to change the mindset of voters in order to make marijuana legal through a ballot initiative. He is the co-author of Marijuana is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink? (Chelsea Green, 2009, 2013), which is based on the strategy that proved successful in Colorado. Steve is a member of the Bar in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Jordan Wellington, Esq., an associate at Vicente Sederberg LLC, graduated cum laude from Brooklyn Law School in May of 2009. His primary focus at Vicente Sederberg is on regulatory compliance and government affairs. In 2013, Jordan served as the sole legislative staffer assigned to shepherd the legislation relating to the implementation of Amendment 64 and the legalization of marijuana through the Colorado General Assembly. Jordan was then hired by the Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division to serve as the sole policy analyst during the development and drafting of the rules governing retail marijuana and the revised rules governing medical marijuana. During his time with the Marijuana Enforcement Division, Jordan drafted rules governing testing, cultivation, product manufacturing, concentrate production, retail distribution, production management, transportation, certification of laboratories, labeling, packaging, and storage. He also organized the Division's entire stakeholder engagement process and personally chaired several of the working groups. Jordan is honored to be selected to serve on Marijuana Research Advisory Group, which was convened by the Colorado School of Public Health at UCD, and Advisory Board on Good Marijuana Cultivation and Handling Practices, convened by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. In addition to his expertise in the regulation of the marijuana industry, Jordan has also worked for the New Jersey Legislature, New York Assemblyman Jonathan Bing, and the Epilepsy Foundation of NJ. Also, Jordan is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Prevent Child Abuse Colorado.
Phil Cherner, Esq., focuses on criminal defense and attorney grievance defense at Vicente Sederberg LLC in Denver. Driven by a commitment to justice and civil rights, Phil has had a long career steeped in law and advocacy, dating back to when he was the head of a local NORML chapter during law school in the early 1970's. After a few years in private practice, he began, in 1979, an eight-year stint with the Colorado Public Defender's Office where he conducted numerous trials in both Arapahoe and Denver counties. Overall, he has spent close to 40 years defending thousands of clients charged with crimes, trying cases in state and federal courts across Colorado. For the last two decades, he has also performed attorney grievance defense and bar admissions, representing attorneys and law students. He has litigated appeals in the Colorado Court of Appeals, the Colorado Supreme Court, and the Seventh and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Having practiced law in Denver for four decades, Phil is on a first name basis with most of the key players in the justice system. Phil is a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School and currently enjoys Martindale-Hubbell's highest rating, AV. He is the 2006 Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Jonathan Olom Award winner and the 2013 Sam Carey Bar Association Warrior for Justice Award Winner. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Denver Law School and an internationally recognized semi-professional photographer.
Alicia Ashcraft, Esq., is of counsel to Vicente Sederberg LLC and represents the firm's growing base of Nevada medical marijuana clients, with a particular emphasis on regulatory and compliance matters. Alicia is the managing partner at the law firm of Ashcraft & Barr LLP, and has earned a reputation as one of the top regulatory compliance and licensure attorneys in Southern Nevada. Alicia graduated cum laude from the Seattle University School of Law. Alicia represents clients before agencies as diverse as the Nevada Athletic Commission, Nevada Transportation Authority, Nevada Gaming Commission, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Clark County and the City of Las Vegas.
Jeffrey Barr, Esq., is of counsel to Vicente Sederberg LLC and represents the firm's growing base of Nevada medical marijuana clients, with a particular emphasis on regulatory and compliance matters. Jeff is a partner at the law firm of Ashcraft & Barr LLP, concentrating his practice on litigation, government affairs and business dispute resolution. Jeff served as the city attorney for the City of North Las Vegas from 2006-2011, offering innovative legal strategies to assist Nevada's third largest municipality in staving off imminent insolvency. Jeff graduated magna cum laude from the Seattle University School of Law and is a member of the bar in Washington, Nevada, U.S. District Court District of Nevada, the U.S. Tax Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Shawn Hauser, Esq., an associate in the Vicente Sederberg Denver office, is a graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where she chaired the school's chapter of NORML. Prior to joining Vicente Sederberg LLC, Shawn worked at a small law firm specializing in criminal defense and family law. Shawn is the director of the "Local Implementation Project" for the non-profit Sensible Colorado Action, where she works with local governments across the state to pass marijuana laws that foster responsible businesses. Shawn came to Denver from Austin, Texas, where she fostered her love for live music, while studying psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.
Adam D. Fine
Adam D. Fine, Esq., joined Vicente Sederberg LLC in 2013. As managing partner of the Massachusetts office, Adam represents the firm's growing base of Massachusetts medical marijuana clients, with a particular emphasis on criminal and business compliance matters. Adam spent a number of years as an associate attorney at a downtown Boston law firm where his practice focused on complex civil and criminal litigation. He is licensed to practice in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Before entering private practice, Adam was a trial attorney for the Defender Association of Philadelphia where he litigated over 200 criminal trials. Adam received his B.A. from the University of Rochester, and his J.D. cum laude from the American University Law School in 2004. He presently resides with his wife and two children in Duxbury, MA.
Sally M.M. Kent, Esq. is an associate in Vicente Sederberg LLC's Denver office and is licensed to practice in both Colorado and Florida. She currently focuses her practice on corporate, commercial real estate and regulatory matters. Prior to joining the firm, Sally practiced at a Denver law firm that focused on natural resources and energy, where she drafted oil and gas title opinions and performed due diligence for acquisition and divestiture transactions. Outside of the firm, Sally spearheaded the development of the North Florida Medical Cannabis Coalition, a fundraising and advocacy group created to help get out the vote for the November 2014 Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative. During law school, Sally interned at Jacksonville Legal Aid, where she represented clients in domestic violence and family law matters. Prior to attending law school, Sally was a publicist and booking agent for music entertainment artists in Los Angeles, CA and Boulder, CO. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a law degree from Florida State University College of Law.
Jessica Scardina, an associate at Vicente Sederberg LLC, is a graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where she served as a staff editor for the University of Denver Law Review. Prior to joining Vicente Sederberg, Jessica worked as an associate attorney in a small Denver law firm, where she focused her practice on corporate law, business planning, and taxation. Jessica has extensive experience assisting clients with corporate formation, merger, and compliance issues, and a strong background in drafting and reviewing various corporate documents. Prior to moving to Denver, Jessica lived in Santa Cruz, California, where she received her Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Colin Fletcher, Esq. is an associate with Vicente Sederberg LLC’s Denver office. Colin is a graduate of University of Denver Sturm College of law and is licensed to practice law in Colorado. Prior to joining Vicente Sederberg LLC, Colin worked as a Legal Fellow at the City and County of Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. This experience prepared Colin to assist clients with the state and local business licensing process, which constitutes a large part of his practice. Colin also focuses his practice on business formation and transactions, corporate governance and drafting and revising related documents. Colin is a Denver native and has spent his entire life in Colorado. Prior to attending law school, Colin worked for Janus Capital Group as a Senior Investor Specialist after completing his undergraduate studies at University of Colorado, Boulder in 2007.
Andrew Livingston serves as a policy analyst for Vicente Sederberg LLC. Andrew first worked alongside the Vicente Sederberg team in 2012 during the historic Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol campaign, which legalized marijuana for adults in Colorado. Andrew started his work in drug policy while at Colgate University and founded a chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy in 2009. During this time he focused his academic studies on the economics of illegal markets and the harms they create for societies around the world. After graduation Andrew worked at the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation as an Institute for Humane Studies Koch Summer Fellow. At Vicente Sederberg, Andrew provides analysis on legal and regulatory policy matters for adult-use and medical marijuana laws in Colorado and other states around the country. In October 2013, Andrew was appointed by the Colorado Department of Revenue to represent the law firm on a regulatory panel determining interim production caps for the new retail marijuana industry.
Nicola Giudice is a regulatory affairs liaison at Vicente Sederberg. Nicola has worked with clients on multiple licensing applications in Massachusetts, Nevada, Illinois and Minnesota. Prior to joining the office, she was the Director of Outreach for the Question 3 campaign, which legalized medical marijuana in the state of Massachusetts. Nicola got her bachelor's degree in political science and master's degree from the Women in Politics and Public Policy Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She interned at the Massachusetts State House for State Representative Ruth Balser. She recently moved from Boston to Denver, Colorado.
Cassidy West, policy analyst at Vicente Sederberg LLC, received a Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science from Berry College in 2011. Cassidy graduated from George Washington University in Washington, DC as a Master of Public Administration, specializing in policy analysis and evaluation. Prior to joining the team at Vicente Sederberg, Cassidy worked as a program analyst at the Regulatory Studies Center in Washington, DC, a research center within George Washington University, where she focused primarily on federal regulatory policy.
Rachelle Yeung, government affairs manager for Vicente Sederberg LLC, is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law, where she served as President of the Student Bar Association. Rachelle currently works with the firm's clients on licensing applications, with a particular focus on regulatory and compliance matters. She also engages in government affairs activity through Vicente Sederberg's affiliated entity, VS Strategies. Prior to joining Vicente Sederberg,Rachelle was a legislative analyst and Maryland Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, where she oversaw legislative activity in more than a dozen states. Her experience includes playing a key role in the decriminalization of marijuana in Maryland, assisting in the passage of medical marijuana laws in Maryland and New York, and guiding a lobbying team through the implementation of legalization in Alaska. While in law school, Rachelle had the honor of working with the historic Amendment 64 campaign, and then clerking for Vicente Sederberg. She also served as the founding President of the Colorado Law chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, where she remains active as President of the Alumni Association Mid-Atlantic Region.
Angela Alwell is the office manager at Vicente Sederberg LLC. She received her Bachelor's in Public Administration at National University in Vista, CA in 1989, while managing Aladdin Aviation Flight School in Carlsbad, CA and being a single mother of two. Just one year later, she received her Paralegal Certificate from the University of California at San Diego and earned her pilot's license during that same time frame. Angela began her paralegal career in Aviation law due to her background in aviation. In 1993, she moved into state criminal defense with the Law Office of Suzanne Rogers, PC, eventually working with Ms. Rogers for nearly two decades. In 2011, she began working for Philip Cherner (now with Vicente Sederberg), assisting him on high-end state and federal criminal defense cases, post conviction matters and appellate work. Angela was the office manager as well as paralegal for both firms. She has extensive experience in jury selection, jury interviewing post-verdict and has sat at counsel table in approximately 40 felony trials.
Kat Humphries is an executive coordinator for Vicente Sederberg LLC. She joined the Vicente Sederberg team in 2013 after spending the preceding year working as a legal clerk for an intellectual property law firm focusing on patent and trademark law. Kat initiated her involvement in drug policy in 2010 when she founded a chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at the College of Charleston. In college, she changed marijuana policies at a collegiate level, expanded the College's Good Samaritan Policy, lobbied at a national level for drug policy reform, interned with the 9th Circuit Solicitor's Office's Juvenile Arbitration program, and served as the chairwoman of the College's judicial board for two years. Currently, Kat sits on the Colorado Juvenile Defender Center Board of Directors and previously served on the International Students for Sensible Drug Policy Board of Directors.
Lisa Cisneros, the former Executive Director of Coloradans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Foundation, is a seasoned paralegal experienced in all aspects of legal support to criminal defense -- with particular emphasis on legal support to death penalty litigators. Lisa worked as the Lead Paralegal to one of the region's most well-known death penalty litigation experts for 10 years and for the last 5 years also has worked to organize state wide opposition to the death penalty and efforts for death penalty abolition in Colorado and throughout the country. She led two legislative efforts to repeal Colorado's death penalty policy before the State Legislature and brought together victim family members, faith leaders, former law enforcement personnel and people of color to speak for repeal before Colorado's state elected officials. Lisa studied Psychology & Criminal Justice at Metro State University in Denver and has attended numerous specialized legal courses and seminars.
Oren worked for the Marijuana Policy Project on multiple legalization campaigns in Nevada as a campaign staffer in supervisory position, including the 2006 "Yes on 7" effort. In 2012 Oren met the Vicente Sederberg team while volunteering full-time on the Amendment 64 campaign, and joined the firm in June of 2014. Oren earned a bachelors degree in Finance & Economics from the University of Miami in 2004, and brings over three years of corporate experience to the firm as a Labor Relations analyst for GES Exposition Service, a Las Vegas based production company.
Dawn Van Vleet
Dawn Van Vleet had a previous relationship with Vicente Consulting dating back to 2010, when she serviced their telecommunications systems. She worked in that industry for over 15 years and received numerous certificates in cabling, phone installations and business development. In addition to her telecommunications experience, Dawn has been the bookkeeper for her husband’s construction company for over 20 years. Dawn joined Vicente Sederberg in 2014, and is responsible for the accounts receivable department.
Phillip DeCaro is a paralegal at Vicente Sederberg, LLC. Phillip earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado in 2002, and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 2006. Since graduation, Phil has gained experience as a legal assistant and office administrator. Instead of practicing law, Phillip prefers the organizational, problem solving, and logistical management side of the law. Prior to joining Vicente Sederberg, Phillip worked for the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office as a paralegal assisting with matters of zoning violations and civil litigation. Phillip has been responsible for a wide range of tasks in his career, such as: planning continuing legal education events; analyzing research from mock trials and focus groups; assisting with complicated compliance issues; and assisting with litigation in civil lawsuits.