High Rise Law is the latest evolution of the Law Office of Lauren Vázquez. From 2011 – 2021 the Law Office operated as Fired Up Law and provided legal services to Prop 215 collectives, cultivators, and vendors. After the passage of Prop 64, Fired Up Law specialized in helping legacy operators transition to state licensing and supported cannabis entrepreneurs with comprehensive licensing services.
As the industry has progressed the needs of cannabis businesses have changed and Fired Up Law is changing along with it. To focus on compliance support and inspection preparedness, the Law Office has relaunched as High Rise Law with a powerhouse CEO and crew of experts. We look forward to meeting you and collaborating to achieve our mission.
High Rise Law is a woman and Latinx owned and operated business. Senior Field Inspectors Bill and Jeff Levers are Los Angeles Social Equity Licensees and have dedicated years to helping Veterans and seriously ill children heal with medical cannabis. When WAMM, the original Prop 215 collective and hospice, was forced to close their garden Senior Field Inspector Jason Matthys worked hand-in-hand with them to save their specialized medicinal genetics bred over decades from seeds and landrace strains collected from around the world.
In 2011, High Rise Law Founder Lauren Vázquez created the nation’s first and only pro bono legal clinic for medical cannabis patients at SPARC collective in San Francisco. CEO Jakki Hernandez is a passionate advocate that has helped patients legally access and safely use medical cannabis for years through her leadership as a board member of Orange County NORML. Deputy Field Inspector Lauren Payne spent a decade volunteering with Americans for Safe Access’s patient hotline. She currently uses that experience with the National Lawyers Guild’s eminent legal hotline providing immediate support to protestors arrested while exercising their First Amendment rights. Her work was pivotal during the Black Lives Matter Uprising of 2020. We are proud of our crew’s legacy of advocacy and activism.
Santa Clara University School of Law,
University of California Santa Barbara,
Professor & Legal Dept. Chair,
International Cannabis Bar Association
Minority Cannabis Business Association Member,
Cal NORML Legal Committee
Invited speaker at: NCIA, CCIA, MCBA, Meadowlands, Emerald Cup, SSDP, CAL NORML, State of Cannabis, High Times Business Expo, Hemp Con, and many more
Lauren Vázquez is the Fired Up Lawyer. She is a pioneering cannabis business attorney and legal advocate. For nearly two decades she has been a passionate activist for cannabis policy reform. Her work was pivotal in the development of cannabis licensing regulations in cities throughout the Bay Area and state of California. Lauren has practiced cannabis business law since 2009 and entered private practice in 2011. She has advised numerous cannabis companies, entrepreneurs, investors, cultivators, manufacturers, doctors, and organizations including many legacy and equity operators. She is one of the original cannabis legacy lawyers.
Lauren is a Professor and Chair of theLegal Department at Oaksterdam University and previously served as the National Deputy Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. In 2016, Lauren was the exclusive cannabis industry leader hired on to the Prop 64 campaign that legalized cannabis in California. As a Senior Advisor and the Statewide Outreach Manager she was a prominent spokesperson and stakeholder facilitator for the campaign. This defining moment of her career led to over 100,000 people being released from imprisonment and/or having their criminal record cleared.
Lauren started her reform work as a student activist in 2004 when she founded the UC Santa Barbara chapter of NORML. Under her leadership, the chapter ran the successful Measure P campaign, Santa Barbara’s Lowest Police Priority Ordinance for adult marijuana use. As an undergrad, Lauren also worked with Legacy medical cannabis physician David Bearman, M.D., assisting with research and patient services. In 2006, National NORML named Lauren Student Activist of the Year. Her efforts led the way to Santa Barbara having the largest number of cultivation licensees and legal canopy square feet in the state.
From 2006 to 2009 Lauren attended Santa Clara University’s School of Law where she continued her activism as President of the law school’s ACLU chapter, Co-chair of the Public Interest Social Justice Coalition, and a Santa Clara County Public Defender Intern. Her first position as a lawyer was associate attorney for Legacy medical cannabis business lawyer James Anthony. She was also a legal researcher and political strategist for the first-of-its kind cannabis licensing consulting firm CannBe.
Shortly after graduating law school, Lauren founded the Silicon Valley chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) launching a $100 million cannabis industry in San Jose. She organized patients, community members, and industry leaders to lobby the city council to allow storefront dispensaries and other cannabis businesses. Lauren established herself as a cannabis policy influencer as the city’s regulations became a guidepost for other local governments.
Today Lauren’s advocacy focuses on improving access to and equity in the cannabis industry.
Board of Directors, Orange County NORML
Jakki Hernandez comes to the industry first and foremost as a cannabis patient and advocate with a passion for sharing the profound gift of healing that cannabis has given her.Neurofibromatosis, a condition that causes tumors to grow on her nervous system, leaves her in debilitating pain and constant discomfort. Throughout her life she has undergone numerous surgeries and treatments. With cannabis, Jakki has been able to find her own pain titration plan to ease the intense symptoms and thrive as a true cannabis success story.
In addition to being a patient, our “Jakki of-all Trades” has over 16 years of experience in nearly every facet of the cannasphere including retail operations and management, manufacturing processes, distribution, packaging, sales, branding, and political advocacy. In addition to her role as High Rise Law CEO, she is the Director of Operations for Mary Alice, a retail operator in Southern California. Prior to that she was Director of Compliance for M.N.G Enterprise, one of the industry’s largest multi-state operators. In these roles she oversees all daily compliance including safety & security, product management, inventory control, METRC support & training, and record-keeping.
Before working with M.N.G. Enterprise, Jakki was the Co-General Manager of Leaf and Lion, a licensed retail storefront in Long Beach. She was responsible for retail management, operations compliance, HR & union relations, and Cal/OSHA training & certification. She has also rolled out successful manufacturing and retail businesses from start to launch including brand and customer experience development.
Jakki brings with her a broad network of insider industry connections. After years of letting people pick her brain, she has at last partnered with Lauren Vázquez in High Rise Law’s cannabis inspection protection endeavors. As a nonlawyer, Jakki is not eligible to be an official owner of a law practice, but she has contributed to all aspects of building the business and developing our services and is a partner in every other sense.
Before entering the cannabis industry Jakki worked in early childhood and adolescent behavioral education as a cognitive trainer, primarily treating autism and ADHD. This unique experience and specialized knowledge along with her industry experience and interpersonal skills give her a keen insight on employee management, customer relations, and customer support. Her radar sharp BS detector doesn’t let any shenanigans fly. With her cool demeanor and radiant smile, Jakki can deliver the bad news and leave you asking for more.
Jakki is also a successful cannabis policy influencer. In 2011 she was determined to spread her success story and joined Orange County NORML, soon becoming a board member and then Deputy Director. It is through NORML that she met Lauren Vázquez and the Beard Bros. Jakki built the industry from the ground up lobbying and campaigning for safe access to cannabis for patients and reasonable regulations for businesses. Her work established Southern California’s prolific multimillion dollar cannabis industry. You have probably seen her speaking at city council meetings or volunteering at the latest cannabis expo spreading cannabis awareness and responsible safety tips to all she meets.
New England Law School, J.D., 2006
New College of Florida, B.A., 2001
Board Member City of Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission
Lauren Payne has been a leader in the medical cannabis movement since 2006 and has over a decade of experience in cannabis licensing and compliance. She joined the Law Office in August 2020. Prior to that she was an independent licensing consultant and the Senior Regulatory Analyst for a major cannabis consulting company in Oakland. In those roles, Ms. Payne successfully secured highly competitive licenses in San Francisco, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Alameda, Maryland, Connecticut, Ohio, and more. She is intimately familiar with both local & state licensing requirements in California and has experience with other dual licensing states.
In her capacity as an independent consultant, Ms. Payne provided pro bono services to equity applicants. Most recently, she helped a team secure the contract to implement Oakland’s Equity Incubator program to provide shared kitchen space. She has also advocated to regulators and legislators regarding the desperate need to provide reparations through equity & training programs as well as removing the unnecessary barriers to entry into the cannabis industry.
For more than a decade Ms. Payne has worked with various medical cannabis organizations, patients, advocacy, and industry groups to negotiate local cannabis policy change. For several years she was a Government Relations Associate for both Americans for Safe Access and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). She drafted & presented model ordinances to cities, counties, and states including San Bernardino, Davis, and Maryland. Ms. Payne has successfully worked with dozens of regulators and legislators to ensure patient needs and community concerns are addressed.
Ms. Payne stays fired up by fielding emergency calls to legal hotlines. First she helped medical cannabis patients through the Americans for Safe Access hotline for 15 years. Today she supports Black Lives Matter protestors through the National Lawyers Guild’s legendary hotline. When you need help, she answers.