Heather Burke

Heather was born in San Diego, California and, as a young adult, she saw many of her friends jailed for cannabis related crimes, their lives forever changed. From this young age, Heather decided to become a “marijuana lawyer,” so she went on to graduate from Humboldt State University in 2005 and then law school at California Western School of Law in 2009, earning high honors at both schools.

Due to her desire to defend cannabis patients and cultivators from a young age, in law school, Heather interned in the seminal California cannabis case, People v. Jovan Jackson. The case went on to set the now-settled precedent that large scale dispensaries may operate lawfully in California.  In that case, she drafted motion in limine for the introduction of the medical cannabis defense, which was granted for the first time in San Diego County history, also drafting the jury instructions for medical cannabis defense that were used throughout the State for almost a decade.

Immediately after law school, Heather worked closely with renowned California medical marijuana attorney Omar Figueroa, who mentored Heather for two years in the aggressive representation of medical cannabis patients in California and in federal court.  Eventually opening her own practice in Nevada City, she and Omar still work together and even co-drafted a proposed initiative for California cannabis legalization (2016), entitled The California Craft Cannabis Initiative.

Through Omar, Heather met and began working with attorney Zenia Gilg and the two women went on to make history, completing a five-day evidentiary hearing regarding cannabis’ Schedule I status in U.S. v. Pickard in the Eastern District of California.

In 2014, Heather was awarded NORML’s John Mark Flowers Scholar. The following year, she was named one of Skunk Magazine’s Women of Weed for 2015.

In addition to her vibrant law practice in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Heather is a regular speaker and panelist at cannabis conferences throughout California.  She also consistently blogs about legal issues affecting cannabis growers.

Heather is well known for infusing comedy into her legal analysis, and she is currently working on a standup comedy routine for cannabis cultivators, called “Probable Cause Comedy.”