HARRISBURG, Pa. (Jan. 4, 2024) — Judith D. Cassel, founding partner of Cannabis Law PA, Harrisburg, is the recipient of the 2023 Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Medical Marijuana and Hemp Advocate Award.
The Medical Marijuana and Hemp Advocate Award was created to honor an individual who has advanced medical marijuana and hemp programs in Pennsylvania, or assisted people who participate in these programs. Nominees can be practicing lawyers, members of the judiciary or members of legal academia.
Cassel founded Cannabis Law PA in 2015 and serves as legal counsel for marijuana growers, processors, dispensaries, industry stakeholders, patients and practitioners in Pennsylvania and nationwide. In that capacity, she advises clients on various aspects of transactional and regulatory law, including employment issues, entity formation, licensing, litigation and zoning.
Working for more than 20 years in highly regulated industries, such as electricity, natural gas and petroleum, Cassel has experience negotiating mergers and acquisitions, refinancing companies and reorganizing operations. She applies those skills to benefit her clients in the medical marijuana and hemp industries.
Since the passage of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act in 2016, Cassel has been lobbying to strengthen the law. She meets with elected officials to propose changes and provide information from the perspective of industry stakeholders. Cassel has been instrumental in helping businesses apply for permits to become licensed dispensaries, growers and processors. She has also represented industry stakeholders in Right-to-Know Law disputes before the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records and on appeals to the Commonwealth Court. In addition, she has assisted clients with obtaining grants to start or enhance their businesses.
An adjunct professor at Widener University Commonwealth Law School, Cassel teaches a class on medical marijuana, focusing on Pennsylvania’s legal and regulatory issues within the industry. She has published numerous articles and presented at various conferences about medical marijuana and opioid use.
Within the PBA, Cassel serves as co-chair of the Medical Marijuana and Hemp Law Committee and is a member of the Environmental and Energy Law and Public Utility Law sections. She is a frequent continuing legal education (CLE) instructor for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and CLE planner for the annual Medical Marijuana and Hemp Law Symposium. Her other professional affiliations include the Lancaster Bar Association, National Cannabis Bar Association, National Energy Bar Association, Pennsylvania Petroleum Association and Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment.
Cassel earned her Juris Doctor from Dickinson School of Law of The Pennsylvania State University, her Master of Business Administration from Lebanon Valley College and her Bachelor of Arts from The Pennsylvania State University.