I made Sally Kent Peebles’ acquaintance at the first local NORML meeting a couple years ago; since then she’s been a reliable go-to source for all things related to the burgeoning practice of what you might call “cannalaw.” She works for the Vicente Sederberg firm, which has been practicing for a year and a half locally. We sometimes collaborate on a semi-regular medical marijuana segment on WJCT’s First Coast Connect. I recently threw a few questions at her, and this (slightly edited) Q&A is the first part of a two-part interview. Enjoy!
Shelton Hull: How long has the firm been in business? How long has it been in Jax?
Sally Kent Peebles: The firm began in Denver, Colorado in 2010. We are a national firm that focuses 100 percent on the cannabis space. Several of the firm’s partners were instrumental in drafting and passing Amendment 64, which legalized adult use marijuana in Colorado. I started working with the firm in Denver in early 2014. I was working in the oil and gas industry prior to that, but was inspired to switch to the cannabis industry by my husband, Ashley Peebles, who is a cancer survivor, medical marijuana advocate and who has owned cultivations and dispensaries in California, Colorado, Oregon and Maryland.
How long have you worked for the firm?
I started working [there] in April 2014 in the Denver office. We were originally located in a wonderful old building that the media referred to as the “Marijuana Mansion.” Not only was Vicente Sederberg located there, the Marijuana Policy Project and the National Cannabis Industry Association were also tenants.
My husband and I are both from the Jacksonville area (I grew up in Ortega and he in Amelia Island), and when Amendment 2 passed in 2016, we began planning to move back home and get involved with the industry here. We moved back in January 2018, and I opened Vicente Sederberg’s Florida branch. Ashley began working as the VP of cannabis production for VidaCann, Jacksonville’s only licensed MMTC [Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinic].
How many clients have you taken on since setting up shop here?
VS is currently engaged with 10 of the 22 MMTCs in Florida. Recently, I’ve engaged with several groups interested in Florida’s hemp industry, which is exciting. I also work with ancillary companies such as a medical group opening a chain of medical marijuana referral clinics and a liquor company that is sniffing around the CBD legal space. A lot of what I have been doing is educating those interested in entering the industry through getting a license or investing in the space on the interrelation between state and federal law and guiding them on the most profitable entry points.
We have an in-house cannabis market analyst who can discuss a client’s business plan and tell them what would be most advantageous regarding products and location. Since we’ve been in the industry so long, we also have an incredible national and international network of industry players, investors and those seeking to sell their business or seeking investment, so we often help foster those connections.
In how many other cities is VS established?
Five right now: Denver, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Jacksonville. We also have strategic partnerships in Michigan, Nevada and the Mid-Atlantic.
Watch this space to read the thrilling conclusion next week!