Industry Group Chair
Melissa Kuipers Blake

Melissa Kuipers Blake

Shareholder

Background

“Melissa Kuipers Blake is one of the highly rated speakers CBA has featured during its pair of cannabis banking-focused events. Her insight and perspective have proved very valuable to our attendees. You always learn something from Melissa.” - Don Childears, President & CEO, Colorado Bankers Association 

Skilled legal and political strategist. More than 20 years of experience advocating at the federal, state and local levels of government. Instrumental in the growth of the cannabis and industrial hemp industry.

Melissa Kuipers Blake leads negotiations for her clients with policymakers in Washington, D.C. and in state capitols across the country. She brings the dynamic combination of deep relationships at the federal, state and local level with an unmatched talent for deal-making. Described as a "power lobbyist" by Colorado Politics, Melissa is a hard-charging advocate and Republican political strategist in Congress and with governors, attorneys general and mayors throughout the United States. Melissa began her lobbying career in the halls of the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee in 1996 and still maintains significant political relationships throughout the state. She’s sought out for her subject matter expertise, campaign fundraising prowess and ability to craft successful political strategies from start to finish. At the core of Melissa’s government relations practice is her reputation for integrity, honesty and professionalism. Previously, Melissa was the vice president of government relations and communications for the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association.

Co-chair of Brownstein’s Cannabis & Industrial Hemp industry group, Melissa has played a dominant role in cannabis issues since it was first legalized in Colorado in 2012. Using her foundational knowledge of the industry and its players, she counsels clients on statutory, regulatory, compliance and workplace issues related to cannabis as well as foundational advice to state and local governments as they craft and implement cannabis policies for the first time. 

Melissa’s dedicated work ethic extends into her personal life where she serves as the CEO of Baking for the Troops, a nonprofit that prepares and sends homemade care packages of baked goods to members of the U.S. military deployed throughout the world. 

Representative Matters

Recent Experience

  • Regulatory and compliance counsel for a major Las Vegas hotel and casino to ensure the resort’s policies related to guest and employee consumption of medical and recreational cannabis are consistent with all applicable Nevada laws and regulations.

  • Regulatory counsel to the Florida Trucking Association related to medical cannabis and legalization’s impact on its drivers and member companies.

  • Crafted and passed legislation on behalf of DealerTrack Processing Services to authorize the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles to implement an electronic lien and titling process as well as an electronic temporary tags and vehicle registration process. Organized a broad coalition of stakeholders including the Department of Motor Vehicles, County Clerks Association and new and used car dealers in order to pass and implement this expansive legislation.

  • Selected by the Colorado Republican Committee Chairman to serve as General Counsel to the Denver 2016 Host Committee in Denver’s effort to secure the Republican National Convention in 2016.

  • Federal lobbying representation for the Cannabis Trade Federation (CTF), the largest cannabis trade association in the country. Representation includes strategic counsel to CTF’s efforts to pass the STATES Act and SAFE Banking Act to remedy the incongruity between state and federal law on cannabis, including protections for financial services institutions that provide banking services for legal cannabis-related businesses and providing federal protections to cannabis businesses that are in compliance with state law.

  • Counsel to Dixie Brands, Inc. related to its CBD, medical cannabis, and recreational cannabis product lines.

  • Counsel to a large global alcohol company seeking regulatory and compliance guidance on cannabis laws in the United States and how cannabis laws interface with state and federal alcohol licensing.

  • Regulatory and compliance counsel for large regional bank related to hemp-related business and service providers deposit accounts.

  • On behalf of the trade association, CINEMA, spearheaded and successfully passed first-of-its-kind in the nation legislation to promote movie and television production in Colorado that had been attempted by other lobbying entities for the prior seven years without success. Since that time, worked with the Governor and Office of Economic Development and International Trade to secure over $15M in funding for the movie and television rebate program. Recently secured $5.3M in state funding for the rebate program which resulted in Quentin Tarantino choosing Telluride, Colorado as the location for directing his 8th feature film, The Hateful Eight.

  • On behalf of the American Resort Development Association and its 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded corporations, drafted, lobbied and passed legislation to expose and prevent fraudulent practices in the timeshare resale market. Worked with key industry stakeholders, legislators, the Governor's office, the Division of Real Estate, and the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office to pass these sweeping reforms for the fractional ownership industry.

  • On behalf of the City of Colorado Springs, secured $9M for a new cybersecurity intelligence center in partnership with the University of Colorado and federal Department of Defense and amended legislation to reduce the regulatory burden on the City’s Fire Department and EMS responders.

  • Regulatory counsel to the City of Henderson, Nevada, as they transitioned their medical marijuana program to include recreational marijuana following the legalization by ballot initiative for adult use.

Insights & Publications

News

Credentials

Education

  • J.D., 2005, University of Miami School of Law
  • B.S., 2002, with honors, Florida State University

Admissions

  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • District of Columbia

Memberships

Government and Public Policy Advocacy Committee, The Florida Bar, 2017- present

Cabinet, Denver Film Society, 2011 – 2013

National Association of Dealer Counsel, 2009 – present

American Bar Association. 2011 – present

Florida Bar Association, 2006 – present 

Colorado Women's Bar Association, 2011 – 2014

Community Involvement

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

Government Affairs Council, present

President, Board of Directors, Colorado Civil Justice League, 2019

Board of Directors, Colorado Civil Justice League, 2010 – present

Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, 2008 - 2018

Vice President, Colorado Civil Justice League, 2017 – 2018

Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, 2012 - 2014

Founder, Baking for the Troops, 2009 – present

 

Recognition

AWARDS:

Law Week Colorado, Barrister’s Best “Best Marijuana Lawyer,” 2021

Lawyers of the Year, Law Week Colorado, 2020

Top Women Lawyers, Law Week Colorado, 2020

5280 Top Lawyers, Government Relations/Contracts/Lobbying, 2016-2022

Top 25 Young Professional, Colorado Biz Magazine, 2015

Most Powerful People, Rising Star, 5280 Magazine

Private Sector Co-Chair, American Legislative Exchange Council, 2013 – 2015

Colorado Convention Chair, 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL

Top 40 under 40, Denver Business Journal, 2010

University of Miami School of Law Alumni Spotlight, 2010

Editor in Chief, University of Miami School of Law Res Ipsa Loquitur