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Heather L. Burke


Heather L. Burke is a partner with Greenspoon Marder’s Cannabis Law practice group. Ms. Burke was born in San Diego, California. Due to her desire to defend cannabis patients and cultivators from a young age, in law school, Ms. Burke assisted in the seminal California cannabis case, People v. Jovan Jackson. The case went on to set the now-settled precedent that large scale dispensaries may operate lawfully in California. In that case, Ms. Burke drafted motion in limine for the introduction of the medical cannabis defense, which was granted for the first time in San Diego County history, and also drafted the jury instructions for the medical cannabis defense that were used throughout the State for almost a decade.

Immediately after law school, Ms. Burke began her career by working closely with several renowned California medical marijuana attorneys, who mentored her in the aggressive representation of medical cannabis patients and cultivators throughout California and in federal court.

Eventually opening her own practice in Nevada City, she has worked on numerous precedent setting cases, including a five-day evidentiary hearing regarding cannabis’ Schedule I status in U.S. v. Pickard in the Eastern District of California.  Ms. Burke also co-drafted a proposed initiative for California cannabis legalization (2016), entitled The California Craft Cannabis Initiative.

In 2014, she was awarded NORML’s John Mark Flowers Scholar. The following year, she was named one of Skunk Magazine’s Women of Weed for 2015.  Ms. Burke is also a regular speaker and panelist at cannabis conferences throughout California. She pens a popular blog about legal issues affecting cannabis cultivators.

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

Bar Admissions

  • California


  • J.D., California Western School of Law (CWSL), cum laude, 2009
    • Dean’s List, Fall 2009
    • National Lawyers Guild, CWSL Chapter, Co-Founder and Co-President, 2007-2008
    • Public Interest Law Foundation, Amnesty International, Women’s Law Caucus, member
    • California Innocence Project
    • Faculty Scholar
    • Pro Bono Honors Society
    • Academic Achievement Award: Criminal Procedure
  • B.A., Humboldt State University (HSU), magna cum laude 2005
    • HSU Presidential Scholar, Fall 2003, Fall 2004, & Spring 2005
    • California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Student Liaison & Program Assistant

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Nevada County Bar Association, Member
  • CalNORML, Member

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Cannabis Updates,” 1st Annual Cannabis Law Summit, May 18, 2018
  • Speaker, “Cannabis Legalization and the Waterfall Effect: How Each State Impacts the Next,”National Law Journal Webinar, April 18, 2018
  • Speaker, “Regulatory Update,” California Cannabis Discussion, March 8, 2018
  • Speaker, “North Meet South: Integrating Northern California Cultivation into the Southern California Market,” Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo Los Angeles, September 14, 2017
  • Speaker, Emerging Principles in the Ethical Representation of Clients on California Cannabis Law”, Nevada County Superior Court Library Legal Seminar, August 18, 2017
  • Presenter, Growing Green for the Yuba, April 30, 2017
  • Presenter, Prop 64 Resentencing: Procedures for Legal Invalidity and Redesignation, CalNORML Legal Seminar, Continuing Legal Education, Oakland, California, February 18, 2017
  • Speaker, Probable Cause Training for Cannabis Cultivators, Nevada County Cannabis Alliance,  North San Juan, California, January 31, 2017
  • Panelist,  Own Talk: The Future of Cannabis, Nevada City, California, January 30, 2017
  • Speaker, How Will Prop 64 Affect You, High Times Business Summit, Los Angeles, California, January 20, 2017
  • Speaker, Preserving Small Cannabis Farms, High Times Business Summit, Los Angeles, California, January 19, 2017
  • Presenter, California Cannabis Law Update, MCRSA and Prop 64, Nevada County Superior Court, Continuing Legal Education, Nevada City, California, January 17, 2017
  • Panelist, Community Unifiers: County Organizations Making A Difference, Emerald Cup, Santa Rosa, California, December 10, 2016
  • Presenter, Left Behind: The Future for Felons, Emerald Cup, Workshop Santa Rosa, California, December 10, 2016


  • National Law Journal, “Cannabis Trailblazer,” 2018
  • Nevada County Cannabis Cup, “Attorney of the Year,” 2017
  • Skunk magazine, “Woman of Weed,” 2015
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law, “John Mark Flowers Scholar,” 2014


  • Author, “The Tortoise, the Hare and the Ostrich: Legal Compliance in the 2017 Growing Season,” March 4, 2017
  • Author, “Prop 64’s Effect on Criminal Records: Legal Invalidity vs. Redesignating Prior Felonies,” November 18, 2016
  • Author, “Why I’m Voting Yes on 64: A Tortured Analysis,” November 3, 2016
  • Author, “What to Know About Aerial Surveillance During Harvest,” October 2, 2016
  • Author, “What The County Isn’t Telling Us About Its Cannabis Initiative,” The Union, February 26, 2016

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