Attorney Sally Kent Peebles was appointed to the Florida Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee. The 18-member panel will make recommendations to the Florida Legislature and the Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use to improve Florida’s medical marijuana policies and programs. Peebles is a partner at Vicente Sederberg, a Colorado-based firm that specializes in cannabis law and policy.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? My father, John Kent. He taught me the importance of honesty and being able to observe him practice law over the years with such integrity is an inspiration. He is very kind and the ultimate Southern gentleman, and these qualities shine through in his dealings with clients and colleagues. I hope to make him proud.
Someone who inspires me: My mother, Monett Kent. They simply don’t make them like her anymore. She is a brilliant scholar, genuinely kind and handles everything with steady grace.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? My undergraduate degree was in journalism, which helped hone my writing skills, an essential talent in any practice of law. However, I think where I received my degree probably was more influential on my choice of law. Boulder, Colorado, is an epicenter of free thought and filled with people who question current laws and discuss ways to make the world a better, more tolerable place to live. If your child chooses to attend the University of Colorado Boulder, watch out.
How did you decide your practice area? And why have you chosen that? My husband inspired me to choose cannabis law. He is a cancer survivor and staunch advocate, as well as a successful cannabis business owner and cultivator. The more I learned about cannabis and the negative effects of prohibition, the more passionate I have become. Plus, I am able to practice in a field of law that is changing every day, which is unique. Most areas of law see only minor changes each year based on case law. We are witnessing a sea change in cannabis policy and laws and I get to be a part of that.
What has been the biggest change in your practice area since you were admitted to the Bar? When I passed the Bar in 2010, my area of law did not exist. I am a business cannabis attorney and there were no legal cannabis businesses nine years ago. While cannabis legalization advocacy has been around since prohibition began in the 1930s, the practice of cannabis business law and policy being something a law student can choose to focus on in law school has just popped up in the past few years.
What do you think will be the next biggest change in your area of law? We are going to see more states allow for adult use of marijuana, and hopefully, the federal government will soon de-schedule marijuana entirely, removing it from the controlled substances list. That would allow for research of the plant, as well as open up banking and other ancillary services to the industry.
If I could change anything in the legal system, I would ... Decriminalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol, as well as expunge records for people who have been victims of marijuana prohibition. I would tax the sale of it and put that money toward revitalization of communities that have been negatively impacted by the war on drugs, and create business opportunities for those interested in this new industry.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? Practice in an area of law that you are passionate about. It will make going to work each day an adventure instead of a chore. I love what I do and while it can be intense and stressful at times, I love the underlying mission.