About the Author

“To attain equality, women must stop men’s lawless taking of sex, money, and power.”

I was raised in a household firmly entrenched in second wave feminism, loosely translated this is a movement that began in the 1960s, specifically 1963, coinciding with the publication of Betty Friedan’s book “The Feminist Mystique”. In her book, Friedan explored the theme of “the problem that had no name.” My mother is soundly of the generation described in this book; highly intelligent, well educated, motivated, and self-assured. There is a story I tell often about Mom, who despite being of a generation of women that were supposed to be housewives and mothers, entered the workplace at a level and in a profession that satisfied her. Dad supported her ambition by taking on more household responsibilities.

While I was in high school, Mom went to the University of Washington and finished her undergraduate degree that she had started in the late 50s at Stanford. Working full time to cover the cost of her tuition, she went on to get a master’s degree in Sociology. During her graduate studies, Mom taught an overview Sociology course that was, in-part, about feminism. She gave a lecture about the oppression of women in the workplace, mind you this was one of those huge lecture halls at the University Washington. A young female student in the back raised her hand and stood, and in an incredulous voice asked, “Do people know about this?”

The story resonates with me on many levels, and I repeat it quite often to anyone who will listen. Mostly because that is how I feel almost every single day of my life. Do people know about this? I sometimes jauntily say, “Yes, I was raised with three brothers, so I was treated as an equal.” For three decades, I blithely ignore the subtle oppression and suppression of women’s rights and plodded on with my goals. I fancy myself the epitome product of this second wave of feminism, and a decade ahead of the third wave. In high school, I was an oddity because I talked about my career interests and my ambitions. I announced at age sixteen that I never wanted children of my own. I learned over the decades to enjoy the expression of peoples’ faces when I would expound on the virtues of being child free, “Parenthood is too much sacrifice. I want my life to come first.” Now, I generally tone it down to, “I am happily husband and child free. I love other people’s children, then I give them back.”

The other deeply embedded part of my personality is the highest intellectual and ethical standards. My parents are principled people who live their lives as models of civility, with respect for other human beings, fidelity to the truth, and the desire to contribute to the world. I was encouraged to ask questions and challenge conventional ways of thinking. We were book centered people. I do not think there was a television in our home until I was four or five and our viewing was restricted to PBS, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights. When I asked what something meant, I was directed to our unabridged dictionary to look the word up or our hardcopy set of Encyclopedia Britannica. It was riveting and confusing when I spent the night at a friend’s house and first saw cartoons.

After many years as an engineer with Boeing and completing two patents, Dad became a top control system’s certification expert for the Federal Aviation Administration. His patents and his work at the FAA ensured greater safety in air travel, which the world still benefits from today. While I was in high school, Dad was asked to work with the European Joint Aviation Administration; he would now travel under diplomatic passport. Mom tactfully asked me, “You father’s security investigation is looking at you kids. Is there anything we need to know?” In that moment, I understood that my actions could change Dad’s life opportunities. Because of this sobering realization of repercussions, I refuse to break any law. I am teased by friends about my refusal to jay-walk or speed.

The expectation of contributing to the world and being a principled person followed me through the trajectory of my legal career. Enhanced by my attending a Jesuit law school, Seattle University School of Law. Through law school there was an emphasis on access to justice and exceptional ethical standards. My time at K&L Gates exposed me to a variety of exceptional attorneys, who routinely examined ethical pitfall. I clerked for the cybercrime group, some complex litigations, and the ethics partner through the merger of Preston Gates and Ellis with K&L. During that time, I worked on the infamous case of Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who was caught in an international fraud scheme. I was a summer association for the Washington State Attorney General’s office in Olympia and I won my first jury trial, handled a gruesome wrongful death case, and wrote the draft AG’s Opinion on over prescription of opioids, a topic that was just surfacing. MY mentor was an extraordinary man, but I was marginalized by the women in the office because of my ambition.

My last term of law school, I externed for the Chief Judge of the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II. There I saw the care and effort that each decision was given and the gravity each judge, clerk, and administrative staff felt in their daily positions of authority. I attended Inn of the Courts and was in awe of the integrity of those lawyer and judges discussing how we all could improve the justice system. When I attended the Maryland Bar Association’s mandatory new lawyer Ethics Course, one instructor admonished us to focus our volunteer efforts on pro-bono legal service because we had a skill set that was needed. I changed my volunteer efforts to a Gates Foundation initiative and I did pro-bono work on housing disputes in DC. My cumulative experiences led me to expect that all lawyers complied with the Rules of Professional Responsibility, engaged at a higher level of truth, and would never compromise their reputation for the benefit of a single client.

Through my years in Washington DC, then into solo practice and leading the law firm, I upheld these internalized lessons. A preternatural optimist by nature, I accept people as they are until they prove otherwise. I entered cannabis law with my default expectation of most people being honest, trustworthy, and law abiding. It took a long time for me to comprehend that I persisted at applying a rational response mechanism in the face of discovering that my business partner is a serial criminal. The is my story about those experiences and the dangers of the emerging legalized marijuana system in the United States being a perfect environment for allowing hard-core criminals to take on the appearance of legitimate businesspeople while allowing their criminal enterprises to thrive.