U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
J.D., The University of Texas School of Law
B.A., University of Houston
Shane Pennington serves as counsel at Vicente Sederberg LLP, focusing his practice on federal appeals and regulatory issues related to cannabis and hemp. As a former law clerk to federal judges on the D.C. Circuit, the Fifth Circuit, and the D.C. District Court, Shane’s unique insights can also assist clients in evaluating potential or pending cases involving complex regulatory issues.
In addition to his work related to cannabis and hemp, Shane advises clients on federal psychedelics law, including DEA regulations governing registration to handle schedule I psychedelic substances under the Controlled Substances Act and efforts to reschedule or deschedule. He regularly litigates issues with important implications for the federal regulation of psychedelics before federal appellate courts across the country.
Shane is recognized as “One to Watch” by Best Lawyers in America® and as a top-rated "Rising Stars" cannabis law attorney by Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers. He provides commentary regarding administrative law issues to the Yale Journal on Regulation "Notice & Comment" blog. He is also a regular contributor to the “News From the Circuits” column published in the American Bar Association’s Administrative and Regulatory Law News.
Leadership & Community Involvement
Vice-chair, Cannabis Law and Policy General Committee, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section
- Co-chair, Amicus Committee, International Cannabis Bar Association
Scottsdale Research Institute v. DEA (D. Ariz.). Co-lead counsel in FOIA suit to force release of a secret 2018 opinion of DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, “Licensing Marijuana Cultivation in Compliance with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.” Within weeks of filing complaint—and without filing a FOIA request—secured settlement requiring DOJ to disclose OLC opinion barring DEA from processing medical research applications under the Controlled Substances Act until DEA brought its regulations in line with federal law and United States treaty obligations.
In re Scottsdale Research Institute (D.C. Cir.). Co-lead counsel in mandamus action seeking order requiring DEA to process clinical research applications after years of delay. In response to order from D.C. Circuit calling for its response to petition for writ of mandamus, DEA capitulated, processed 33 overdue applications, and announced at long last its intent to move forward with a comprehensive program. In May 2021, DEA announced that it had preliminarily approved Scottsdale Research Institute’s application to grow marijuana for research purposes. DEA and Scottsdale Research Institute are currently negotiating a Memorandum of Agreement to govern Scottsdale Research Institute’s federal grow license going forward.
Sierra Frac Sand, L.L.C. v. CDE Global Limited (5th Cir.). Defended appeal of district court order dismissing claims against Northern Irish company on forum non conveniens grounds. Fifth Circuit canceled oral argument and issued published opinion affirming ruling in client’s favor.
California State Lands Commission v. Plains Pipeline LP (Cal. App.). Briefing and oral argument on behalf of party appearing as amicus curiae; in opinion favorable to client, state appellate court expressly rejected federal appellate court’s ruling in client’s case presenting same important and novel issue of California law.
Sabre Travel International, Ltd. v. Deutsche Lufthansa AG (Tex.). Successfully represented airline before Texas Supreme Court; secured ruling that federal Airline Deregulation Act did not preempt airline’s state-law claims against third-party vendor.
Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc. (U.S.). Merits briefing on behalf of petitioner resulting in a unanimous Supreme Court opinion in client’s favor holding that securities-fraud defendants must be afforded an opportunity to rebut the presumption of reliance before class certification with evidence of a lack of price impact.
Baker Botts LLP v. ASARCO, LLC (U.S.). Certiorari- and merits-stage briefing in case questioning whether Bankruptcy Code permits bankruptcy courts to award attorney fees to counsel or other professionals employed by the bankruptcy estate for work in defense of fee application in court.
On Drugs Blog
- Author, "An Open Letter to Governor and Former DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson," November 15, 2022
- Author, "President Biden's Scheduling Directive Part 3," October 29, 2022
Author, "President Biden's Cannabis Scheduling Directive: Part 2" October 13, 2022
Author, "President Biden's Scheduling Directive Is a Game Changer," October 12, 2022
Author, "Schedule VI," August 4, 2022
Author, "Turning Water Into Weed And Other Absurdities," July 26, 2022
Co-author, "Bright Green Unicorn," June 28, 2022
Author, "The Medical Marijuana Research Act (H.R. 5657)," April 5, 2022
- Author, "The Source Rule is Dead," April 4, 2022
Author, "The Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act (S. 253)," March 25, 2022
Author, "America's Exit Drugs," March 3, 2022
Author, "The Hemp Advancement Act and the 167:1 Problem," February 15, 2022
Author, "From "Crack Houses" to "Safehouses": DEA's Untapped Power to Save Lives," January 3, 2022
Author, "There Is No Excuse for Blocking Cannabis Research," December 15, 2021
Author, "Anslinger's Treaty Trap," December 13, 2021
Author, "Why POTUS Should Take Reps. Mace and Lee's Proposal for UN to Deschedule Cannabis Seriously," March 25, 2022
Author, "What is the Process for Federal Psilocybin Registration?" October 18, 2021
Author, "The Battle to Allow Smokable Hemp in Texas," September 13, 2021
Author, "Psychedelics As Medicine: Right To Try Case Versus DEA," August 9, 2021
Co-author, "Memo to the INCB Regarding Draft Guidelines on Control Requirements for Medical and Scientific Cannabis," May 24, 2021
- Contributor, "Why DOJ Released a Confidential Memo on Marijuana Research," Global Cannabis Compliance Blog Podcast, June 2, 2020
Author, "McGirt v. Oklahoma’s Potentially Sweeping Regulatory Implications for the Oil & Gas Industry," The Texas Lawbook, July 20, 2020
Author, "Fifth Circuit Review – Reviewed: Judge Smith Listens To Strict Scrutiny," Yale Journal on Regulation Notice & Comment, March 12, 2020
Author, "Some Thoughts on How Kisor and Chevron Differ," Yale Journal on Regulation Notice & Comment, November 16, 2019
Author, "Fifth Circuit Review – Reviewed: Article III Cowboy Hat Tips and D.C. Circuit Exceptionalism," Yale Journal on Regulation Notice & Comment, November 13, 2019
Author, "Fifth Circuit Review – Reviewed: Circuit-Split Edition," Yale Journal on Regulation Notice & Comment, July 12, 2019
Author, "Fifth Circuit Review – Reviewed: Inaugural Edition," Yale Journal on Regulation Notice & Comment, May 7, 2019
- Co-author, "Questions Raised By Laws That Use Copyrighted Standards," Law360, August 2, 2018
- Speaker, New York State Cannabis Expo, Conference & Career Fair, "Getting Ready for a NYS Cannabis License Application,” Albany, October 29, 2022
- Speaker, INCBA Cannabis Law Institute, "Moot Court: Sisley v. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration,” Washington D.C., June 10, 2022
- Speaker, SXSW 2022, "Sue 'n the DEA: Breaking the 50-year NIDA Monopoly,” Austin, March 15, 2022
- Speaker, Pennsylvania Bar Institute CLE, "Medical Marijuana and Hemp Law Symposium,” Webcast, September 24, 2021
- Speaker, INCBA , "Federal Agencies 101,” Webinar, August 18, 2021
- Speaker, INCBA CLE, "Federal Agencies 101 - Cannabis: Federal Regulation Basics,” Webinar, August 15, 2021
- Speaker, INCBA, "Appellate Law 101,” Webinar, July 14, 2021
- Speaker, INCBA CLE, "Appellate Law 101,” Webinar, July 14, 2021
- Speaker, Hemp Industries Association, "Hemp Industry Litigation in Response to DEA Overreach,” Online, May 15, 2021
- Speaker, INCBA, "Key Issues Impacting Cannabis Litigation,” Webinar, March 11, 2021
- Speaker, Texas Marijuana Policy Conference, "Cannabis Lawsuits: Federal and State Challenges to Current Law,” Online, November 21, 2020
- Speaker, INCBA Cannabis Law Institute, "Disputes and Litigation with the Regulators,” Online, October 13, 2020
- Speaker, NCIA, "Policy Council Conversations: Just Say No - Keep the DEA out of Cannabis Research,” Webinar, June 03, 2020
- Speaker, Informed Texas, "Ask the Doctors featuring Dr Ethan Russo and Dr Sue Sisley,” Online, May 12, 2020
- Speaker, SXSW 2020, "Sue 'n the DEA: A Quick Trip to Federal Court,” Online, March 12, 2020
- Speaker, Business Issues in Cannabis & Industrial Hemp Conference, "Federal Law & Policy Update,” Oakland, February 27, 2020
- Speaker, ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Cannabis Law Conference, "In Legal Limbo: Federal Cannabis Laws At the Crossroads,” Chicago, September 19, 2019
- Speaker, Texas Marijuana Policy Conference, "Legal and Scientific Issues in Increasing Medical Cannabis Research,” Austin, August 30, 2019
In the Media
- Cannabis Now, "Congressional Panel Holds Key Cannabis Legalization Hearing," November 29, 2022
- Green Market Report, "Veterans' Plight Spotlights Need for Cannabis Legalization as Congress Moves Research Bill," November 28, 2022
- High Times, "Senators Cory Booker, Rand Paul Introduce Psychedelics Bill," November 18, 2022
- High Times, "Congress Passes Landmark Cannabis Research Bill," November 17, 2022
- Bloomberg, "Colorado's Vote May Boost the Gray Market for Magic Mushrooms," November 14, 2022
- Cannabis Business Times, "The DEA Acknowledged That Cannabis Seed Are Legal to Sell. So, What Does That Mean for the Industry?," November 1, 2022
- Law 360, "The Cannabis Attorneys Who Take the DEA to Court," October 28, 2022
- Evening Standard (UK), "America's New Era of Psychedelic Drugs," October 26, 2022
- Marijuana Prisoners Ask Biden: What About Me?, "Marijuana Prisoners Ask Biden: What About Me?," October 12, 2022
- Politico, "Pardons, Descheduling, and the DEA: Making Sense of Biden's Weed Actions," October 7, 2022