Ellen Moy is Of Counsel to Greenbridge Corporate Counsel and provides expertly tailored legal advice to entrepreneurs, start-ups, and established businesses spanning a wide spectrum of the legal cannabis industry, including medical cannabis collectives, consulting and management firms, consumer electronics manufacturers, concentrates and infused products producers, agricultural equipment manufacturers, cultivators, IP holding companies, trade associations, and non-profit advocacy organizations.
With a diverse background in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, Ellen’s skill set and experience are rooted in general corporate transactions, securities compliance, corporate finance, energy and infrastructure transactions, state and local regulatory compliance, and legislative and policy work. Ellen is a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), and Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).
Previously, Ellen practiced at a boutique law firm counseling clients on the organization and operation of domestic and offshore private investment funds, including capital raising, compliance with securities and commodities laws, and marketing and investor relations. She also has extensive experience in the California legislature performing legislative and policy analysis, conducting media and local, state, and national stakeholder outreach, and organizing community events that focus on strategic advocacy of environmental justice, anti-poverty, and women’s rights and equality solutions. She earned her J.D. at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
What social justice and/or criminal justice reforms do you want the US to make around its drug policy, particularly around cannabis?
Aside from the critical policy change of de-scheduling, sentencing reform (specifically re-sentencing) and addressing the so-called “collateral consequences” or “civil punishments” of arrests and convictions are critical to righting the wrongs caused by the criminalization of cannabis and the war on drugs. Everyone has heard the statistics, roughly 88% of arrests for cannabis-related violations are due to possession; African-Americans are nearly 4 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession. While most cases result in misdemeanor fines or probation, or are dismissed, the high arrest rates result in racial disparities in exposure to the criminal justice system. A history of such arrests and sentences can have lifelong consequences, not only for the arrestees, but for their families. These individuals are often subject to stiffer punishment for future offenses, regardless of how significant or insignificant, and are subject to a number of civil penalties scattered throughout state and federal laws and regulations that continue beyond any sentence imposed by a court. This includes denial of access to public housing, inability to obtain a mortgage or other financial services, revocation or inability to obtain professional licenses, a ban on jury service or voting rights, loss of student financial aid, and denial of public benefits. These collateral consequences scar the lives of those enmeshed in the criminalization of cannabis, severely impairing their ability to re-enter the community successfully, to support themselves and their families, and to participate fully in the democratic process.
How do you incorporate gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability into your work and the growth of your business/organization?
First and foremost, we are a minority-owned firm, led by people of color and women. Social justice principles have been and continue to be fundamental to Greenbridge’s mission, the growth of our firm, and the services we provide. We are business lawyers working to help build a sustainable, responsible, and professional cannabis industry. We do so by providing top-flight legal services using a diverse team of lawyers, directly engaging in the legislative and policy-making processes, and supporting drug policy and diversity initiatives and organizations—for example, Greenbridge chairs the Diversity Committee of the California Cannabis Industry Association, and Greenbridge lawyers frequently speak at minority bar association conferences and events.