Courtney Barnes

Associate Attorney



455 Sherman St.
Suite 390
Denver, CO 80203


J.D., University of Denver Sturm College of Law
B.A., summa cum laude, University of South Florida


Courtney Barnes is an associate attorney at Vicente Sederberg's Denver office, where she is a member of the firm's Hemp & Cannabinoids Practice Group and its Emerging Therapies & Entheogens Practice Group. In a constantly-evolving legal landscape, clients look to Courtney to help them navigate the complex regulations governing the production, manufacture, and distribution of hemp and other plant-based products in the United States. Ms. Barnes specializes in complex legal analysis relating to the production, marketing, and sale of a variety of natural compounds and has extensive experience drafting and helping to implement state and local decriminalization and cannabis regulatory regimes (inclusive of hemp and marijuana) relating to various aspects of the industry. Most notably, she assisted with the drafting and implementation of Denver’s social use ordinance, the Neighborhood Approved Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program Initiative (I-300) in 2016, as well as with the drafting of Denver’s Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative (I-301) in 2018.

In 2019, Ms. Barnes participated in the drafting of Part I of the American Hemp Campaign’s 2018 Farm Bill Policy Guide and Model Hemp Production Plan, a publication supported by Vote Hemp, VS Strategies, Agricultural Hemp Solutions, the American Herbal Products Association, and the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. The Model Hemp Production Plan provides an outline of federal requirements and policy considerations applicable to State and Tribal regulation of hemp production and a model regulatory plan designed to assist policymakers in the development of regulatory regimes governing hemp production across the U.S. Courtney was also selected to participate as a stakeholder for the hemp transportation rulemaking working group with the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Since joining the firm as a law clerk in 2015, Courtney has assisted with merit licensing applications in California, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, and West Virginia. She previously interned with the National Cannabis Industry Association and has also worked for the Trichome Institute, a cannabis education company. While in law school, Courtney served as a board member for the University of Denver's Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter. Courtney received her Juris Doctor from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Florida, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications with a concentration in journalism.


Leadership & Community Involvement

  • Advisory Board Member, Society for Psychedelic Outreach Reform and Education (SPORE), 2020
  • Advisory Board Member, Heroic Hearts Project, 2020

  • Advisor, Decriminalize Nature, Oakland Community Healing Initiative, 2020

  • Member, Hemp Transportation Working Group, Colorado Department of Agriculture CHAMP Initiative, 2019

  • Member, Cannabis Committee, American Herbal Products Association

  • Member, International Committee, American Herbal Products Association

  • Volunteer Attorney, Denver's Turn Over a New Leaf Program, 2019

  • Co-author, Denver Initiated Ordinance 301, Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative, 2019

  • Co-author, Denver Initiated Ordinance 300, Social Consumption Pilot Program, 2016



  • Databird, "Top 250 Cannabis Law Experts", 2018


VS Insights

External Publications


  • Speaker, Global Hemp Day, ",” Online, August 26, 2020
  • Speaker, Oregon Hemp Convention, "Legal Review: An Hour of Live Q&A,” Webinar, June 17, 2020
  • Speaker, HempTruth Webinar Series, "Separating Fact from Fiction in Hemp Genetics,” Webinar, May 15, 2020
  • Speaker, SXSW Last Prisoner Project & Vertosa Webinar Series, "Exploring Policy in the Legal Cannabis Industry,” Webinar, April 09, 2020
  • Speaker, HempTalks Webinar Series , "The Past Present and Future of Hemp ,” Webinar , March 18, 2020
  • Speaker, Colorado State University Guest Lecturer, "The Hemp Revolution: Science and History of Cannabis Sativa Production and Regulation," Topic: “Federal and State Regulation of Hemp and Hemp Products,” Fort Collins, February 14, 2020
  • Speaker, Texas Hemp Convention , "Myth-Busting Legal & Practical Misconceptions About Hemp ,” Dallas, January 30, 2020
  • Speaker, DU Sturm College of Law Guest Lecturer, "Marijuana Law & Policy," Topic: "Regulatory Landscape of Hemp and CBD,” Denver, January 21, 2020
  • Speaker, MJBizConINT'L, "American Market Outlook: Land of Opportunity for Hemp and Cannabis Ancillary Businesses,” Toronto, September 06, 2019
  • Speaker, Texas Marijuana Policy Conference, "Hemp in Texas: Issues in Implementation,” Austin, August 30, 2019
  • Speaker, Trailblazers Presents II, "Magic Mushrooms and other Psychedelics: The Next Great Legalization Debate,” Utah, August 18, 2019
  • Speaker, DU Sturm College of Law Guest Lecturer, "Marijuana Law & Policy," Topic: "Hemp Regulatory Environment,” Denver, January 14, 2019
  • Speaker, Cannabis Legal Group, "Social Use Webcast,” Denver, October 26, 2018
  • Speaker, Southern Hemp Expo, "Legal & Labeling,” Nashville, September 29, 2018
  • Speaker, DU Sturm College of Law Guest Lecturer, "Marijuana Law & Policy," Topic: "Social Use Policy Issues,” Denver, January 30, 2018
  • Speaker, INDO EXPO, "Future of Cannabis in Colorado,” Denver, February 01, 2017