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An unusual internship: LSJ student works with cannabis law group

Submitted by Katelyn May Clark on January 14, 2015 - 12:46pm

Senior LSJ major Alexandra Holmes spent many hours of her fall quarter in an unusual environment: a law firm that helps newly formed cannabis businesses get established. Fortunately, Holmes’ LSJ background proved to be very useful throughout the unfamiliar experience.

Wykowski and Associates is based in California but opened a second office, Wykowski Law Group, in Seattle after the 2012 passing of Initiative 502, which legalized small amounts of marijuana, or marijuana products, in Washington state.

The law group, composed of two attorneys, assists news businesses in their early stages, ensuring they stay within the legal limits of I-502.

“They are always asking, ‘Can we do this? Can we do that?’ It was constantly figuring out these grey areas,” Holmes said. “[In] LSJ we are always trying to problem solve these real world issues, anywhere from taking [classes like] ‘Drugs and Society’ to ‘Institutional Failures’, you are always trying to use these real world solutions.”

Working primarily under attorney Rachel Kurtz, Holmes was able to learn much about what she refers to as very unique community. Holmes calls the time spent with Kurtz “invaluable.”

“When I was researching the Snohomish County zoning laws I was nervous. I wasn’t sure if the information I gave her was the only information she would use. It took some time to build her trust and show her I could figure out everything,” Holmes said.

As far as responding to skeptics and interacting with some odd clients, Holmes said she made a joke of it.

“It was funny dealing with some of these people who were trying to build their business,” she said. “Some of the people are stoners and growers that are trying to legitimize what they are doing. Regardless, they are trying to legalize their business and that is what we are there for.”

Holmes isn’t planning on going to law school but hopes to continue to utilize the skills she has developed in the LSJ major.

“I love the critical thinking and problem solving that comes along with it, but I don’t want to be doing litigation all the time, or making business plans,” she said. “It was interesting being on the outside dealing with the issues but I am not sure I want to get into the nitty gritty of it.”

 

LSJ Communications Assistant | Kate Clark 

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