Matt began his law practice in 1995, having spent the previous nine years consulting with worker-owned businesses. His law practice integrated his passion for civil rights and his support for entrepreneurs; he spent time not only suing police and sheriff’s departments throughout the state for violating citizens’ constitutional rights, but also counseled entrepreneurs about business and corporate law.
Years before ever becoming an attorney, as far back as when he was an undergraduate student at Brown University, Matt had worked with cooperatives. So, once the policy and plain language of California SB 420 was passed in 2003, he began helping his clients form patients’ cooperatives. At this point, the number of cannabis operations exploded and Matt found himself well-positioned as the “go to” guy for medical cannabis legal issues. Matt's past experiences - business consulting, cooperatives, and state and federal civil rights law - created a nexus of skills which helped Matt offer broad-based legal counsel to the burgeoning medical cannabis community.
Since then, he has litigated the first United States Tax Court case addressing the income taxation of medical cannabis operations (CHAMP v. Com’r. of the Internal Revenue Service , 128 T.C. No. 14 (May 2007, Laro, J.). He has also set up scores of cooperatives throughout the state of California while counseling clients in states throughout the West including Colorado and New Mexico. Additionally, he has brought numerous civil rights actions against various cities and counties in California alleging that bans on cooperatives violate patients’ rights. He also speaks on panels nationally both to the general public and to attorneys regarding cannabis law, sustainable operations and best business practices.
Matt is a member of the National Lawyers Guild and the NORML legal Committee. He also has taught Legal Research and Writing and Labor and Corporations law as a part-time, Adjunct Professor since 1986 at Santa Clara Law School, Golden Gate Law School, Hastings College of the Law and New College of California Law School.
Matt has made pro bono and discounted legal services an important part of his practice since opening his law practice in 1995. He has also organized legal challenges. For example, Matt has personally raised over $100,000 to fund two different lawsuits challenging the federal government's restrictions on cannabis patients, including a constitutional challenge to the US Government in Sacramento Nonprofit Collective, et al. v. Eric Holder, et al. No. 12-15991.
A Team Approach
Matt Kumin regularly collaborates with fellow attorneys who are licensed to practice in other states or who bring complementary skills and expertise into the fold. As a member of the the NORML Legal Committee, he frequently attends and participates in national and regional conferences, symposia and continuing education.
Ken's path into the cannabis industry began two years ago when he started a chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at Golden Gate University School of Law. Using the organization as a speaking platform, Ken was able to educate his fellow law students about the changes in the legal and political landscape surrounding cannabis normalization in California, and the implications these changes will have on the legal field.
In addition to the legal work Ken performs, Ken also works as a political consultant. In this capacity Ken assists the Chair of the San Francisco Cannabis State Legalization Task Force, Terrance Alan, in advising the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor, and other City departments on matters relating to the legalization of cannabis, following the adoption of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
Articles: "A Job for Congress: Medical Marijuana Patients’ Fight for Second Amendment Rights." Golden Gate University Law Review (Forthcoming, Fall 2017). This Note is a critique of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Wilson v. Lynch, which held that medical marijuana cardholders forfeit their right to purchase firearms.
Aren holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from California State University, East Bay. His journey into the cannabis industry started as a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at Golden Gate University School of Law. As a Law Clerk at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, he employed his statutory interpretation expertise and passion for justice to zealously advocate on behalf of clients. While serving as a judicial extern at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, he observed the conflicts and relationships between federal law and state regulatory schemes regarding the cannabis industry.
Informed by his knowledge of the effects of laws and politics on the industry, Aren is constantly navigating the complex issues facing cannabis entrepreneurs on the local, state and federal level.