Anne van Leynseele was raised in Southern California along with three brothers. An idyllic childhood made her bold and confident to explore everything the world has to offer. Her parents provided her with intellectual challenges that were exercised by her exceptional mind. She was always encouraged to question the status quo, a trait that has served her well throughout her life and career.
To test her strength and independence, Anne launched her first career in Los Angeles’ cut-throat entertainment industry circa 1986-1991, then she migrated into digital media in the Pacific Northwest, and later moved to Sydney Australia. Throughout her diverse career path, Anne managed commercial transactions, business development of production and technology start-up entities, advised on process efficiency, defined stronger corporate communication strategies for many Fortune 100 companies, and did business management consulting.
After returning to the United States, her experiences led her to apply for law school. She enjoyed negotiating, drafting and executing contracts, so she took an opportunity to work as a law clerk at a top Seattle firm that then became part of the world’s largest law firm K&L Gates. The experience she gained by seeing what a day in the life of a lawyer looks like informed her daily experiences while she attended the night program at Seattle University School of Law.
While in law school, Anne compiled her practical knowledge and newly acquired legal skills into a document called “The Layperson’s Guide to Breast Cancer” that led to the opportunity as a federal attorney-advisor in Washington DC for the Obama Administration. Upon returning to Washington State, Anne thought she would work as a healthcare lawyer after serving four years in the federal administration.
But fate had other plans for her, when she encountered an article stating that a federal agency had denied water rights to legal marijuana growers in Washington State and Colorado. To get to the bottom of the issue, Anne researched and found that this was federal intervention in issues delegated to the states. She also discovered that in Washington, most of the attorneys practicing cannabis law were actually DUI and criminal lawyers, who simply did not understand the complex and evolving regulations of the new commercial cannabis law; the business of cannabis was no longer criminal, it was now a commercial industry.
The new challenges excited her and to put an end to the struggle of many entrepreneurs, Anne jumped into the world of cannabis law to provide companies with sophisticated and dedicated regulatory and corporate legal services. Starting off with her own firm known initially as NWMJ Law, later 7 Point Law, Anne served her clients with a holistic approach by providing comprehensive legal counsel where she would look at the whole business and all of the potential risk factors for the owners.
Today, through her company, Gemba Growth, Anne provides her clients with cutting-edge expertise in this evolving industry. Her present practice focuses on the regulatory compliance, expansion, and exit strategies for domestic and trans-national cannabis, CBD, and hemp companies and providing legal counsel to national and international non-cannabis businesses seeking entry to the cannabis space. With almost 7 years of experience, Anne is internationally known as a cannabis lawyer and hemp expert. To highlight some of the potential dangers built-in to the legalized cannabis industry, Anne is currently writing a much anticipated memoir on the early days of legal cannabis, which will be published before the end of 2021.
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