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 Compliance for M.N.G Enterprise, one of the industry’s largest multi-state operators. In this role she oversees all daily compliance for their vertically integrated company including safety & security, product management, inventory control, METRC support & training, and record-keeping.
Prior to joining 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 an owner 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.
Founder, Owner, & Operator of
Invited Speaker at: Meadowlands, SSDP, Emerald Cup. Watch Jason’s panel
“Breeding in the Emerald Triangle”
Jason Matthys is a prolific strain hunter and seed maker. In 2014 he single handedly founded Equilibrium Genetics, a preeminent licensed seed company, to preserve the diversity of cannabis genetics for future generations. From humble beginnings, Equilibrium Genetics has grown into one of the largest and best known cannabis genetics businesses in the
state of California. They produce hybrid, heirloom, and landrace cannabis seeds while helping people legally access a widevariety of cannabis genetics
Based in Mendocino County, Jason has been growing legal cannabis and navigating licensing regulations for years. He also has extensive retail experience as a former sales associate of Harborside Health Center, one of the state’s first and largest cannabis dispensaries. He brings this experience and insider knowledge to his work as Senior Field Inspector for High Rise Law.
Jason also brings a foundation of activism to his industry work. After starting Equilibrium Genetics, he organized the cannabis movement in Santa Cruz County to defend the rights of patients and cultivators. In coordination with many other activists, he led a successful local referendum to overturn the cannabis cultivation ban in 2015.
Jason started his activism in his hometown of Woodbridge, Virginia, organizing political and educational events in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., leading him to found a chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). He is a former organizer of the D.C. Marijuana March and a recipient of SSDP’s Outstanding Activist Award. His work with SSDP is also how he met High Rise Law Founder Lauren Vázquez. Many other prominent industry leaders came up through SSDP at this time including Shaleen Title, Aaron Houston, Amanda Reiman, Troy Dayton, and Tom Angell.
Jason continues his advocacy work through local, state, and national organizing efforts aimed at continuing the legacy of cannabis reformers from previous generations. He promotes policies that expand the rights of home cultivators, remove barriers of entry to the cannabis industry, and allow for the compassionate gifting of cannabis to those who cannot afford it.
Sit down with the Beard Bros – YouTube
Bill & Jeff Levers are the fabulous Beard Bros and as they say, at the confluence of the cannabis culture and the cannabis industry is where you’ll find them. They are legacy cultivators known for growing some of the finest craft cannabis in Southern California. Under Prop 215 and SB 420 they specialized in breeding top notch genetics and creating powerful edibles for their collective’s medical patients. Over the years they have collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry including and consulted on large scale cultivation projects throughout the state. Today they are licensed equity operators in Los Angeles who focus on giving back to the cannabis community.
Truly self-made entrepreneurs, these bearded brothers have beaten the odds not only maintaining but strengthening their authenticity every step of the way. From politics to propagation tips, Bill and Jeff always have something to say. They have earned a reputation as outspoken advocates of the cannabis plant and all of the benefits that it offers. They have donated their knowledge, resources, time, effort, and medicine to those who need it most including Parents for Pot, cannabis prisoners, the Veterans Cannabis Coalition, the Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance, Veterans Walk & Talk, MISSION[GREEN], and more. They also participate in community organizing and cannabis advocacy and met both High Rise Law Founder Lauren Vázquez and CEO Jakki Hernandez through the Orange County NORML chapter.
Originally hailing from Florida & Pennsylvania, their outreach and influence on cannabis culture quite literally spans across the country and beyond. With the recent launch of their own culture-based website at beardbrospharms.com, the Bros have begun curating original news content, upcoming cannabis-related events, user-submitted content, and much more. This is about way more than followers or likes. Bill and Jeff understand and take very seriously how influential their voices can be and the role that their cannabis coverage plays in preserving grassroots cannabis culture. This is what they work for every day. As cannabis media companies continue to churn out boring inconsequential Top 10 lists, Beard Bros Pharms is on the cutting edge of what’s really happening. As corporate cannabis companies shell out tens of thousands of dollars to convince consumers that they know what they’re talking about, Beard Bros Pharms falls back on decades of hard-earned prohibition-era experience and street smarts.
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.