Marjorie Elken is a business and litigation lawyer with expertise in marijuana law.

They talked about joint committees and hashing through regulations. They chuckled at the familiar smell of a certain herb.

They served brownies for dessert.

But at the end of the day, the commercial real estate folks who attended the Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute’s February luncheon were all-out serious in wanting to learn about the roles they’ll play in the state-legal recreational marijuana business that’s coming to Oregon in just a few months.

“Here we are in Oregon, we are pioneering again,” said Thomas Ped, an attorney with Williams Kastner, who moderated CCIM’s Feb. 4 luncheon, entitled “The Cannabis Chronicles – Part I.”

The event was supposed to feature a panel of three experts:

  • Dave Kopilak, an attorney with Emerge Law Group and a drafter of Measure 91, Oregon’s recreational marijuana measure.
  • Marjorie Elken, an attorney with Zupancic Rathbone Law Group.
  • Brenda Felix, a branch manager with M Bank. Felix didn’t make the event but instead cancelled about a week earlier without much explanation.

In his presentation, Kopilak acknowledged that there are still plenty of unknowns and concerns for all kinds of businesses looking to get into recreational pot. Also looming large is the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Even so, he said that based on the federal government’s current enforcement policy and Colorado and Washington’s experience thus far, legal recreational marijuana is moving forward and will do so in Oregon, too.

“Everyone’s going forward based on this policy, which the federal government has adhered to so far,” Kopilak said. “They will not come into Oregon . . . and make claims against a state-compliant business.”

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