My name is Jason Horst. I am a litigator, a risk management attorney, and an advocate for operators in the cannabis industry. After more than a decade in large international and regional law firms, I launched Horst Legal Counsel because I wanted to devote my practice to helping this important industry navigate its sudden leap into recreational legality and regulatory oversight in California. I was first drawn to the industry professionally when my more recreational interest in the cannabis industry sparked a curiosity that led me to examine some of the insurance policies being offered to operators. I reviewed and negotiated insurance policies, and I thought it would be interesting to see how insurers were contending with some of the unique aspects of the cannabis industry, including its federal illegality. I was aghast at what I saw. Vape companies with policies that do not cover any claims related to vaporizing equipment. Products liability policies with exclusions for any bodily injury resulting from the use of the covered products. Cannabis operators clearly needed specialized attorneys who understood certain business needs in a way that they did not, and that even the attorneys who have been brave enough to serve them for many years did not.
Then I attended the INCBA’s Cannabis Law Institute in Denver in 2017 and realized that a group of visionary lawyers was already building the legal network that the cannabis industry needs. I came away awed by the passion, intellect, and aptitude of the attorneys serving this nascent industry, from the pioneers who have slowly chipped away at prohibition to other newcomers like myself, all attempting to make our own contributions. My wife said to me that weekend: “You haven’t sounded this excited about the law since law school.”
I have been an active member of the INCBA ever since, speaking at MCLE events, volunteering legal services following the California wildfires, contributing to the organization’s committees, blog, and webinar series; and assisting in planning for MCLE panels at upcoming conferences. I have likewise been a strong advocate for industry operators, litigating disputes between them, in addition to shining a light on deceptive insurance practices, including causing at least one carrier to remove policy forms that rendered operators’ insurance coverage illusory. I look forward to continuing this work and helping to shape and execute the NCBA’s broader vision by joining its Board of Directors.
Indeed, the next Board will have its hands full. In addition to completing its transition from a nationally-focused to an international-focused organization, just looking at where many of the other Board candidates practice reveals the extent to which the organization is shifting from one populated almost entirely by small firms and solo attorneys into one that includes some of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the world. Having practiced in both of these settings, I believe that I can help to lead the organization into its bright future while remaining a true to its founding principles and always remaining a trusted name throughout the legal cannabis world.
Thank you for your consideration!