Blake, Melissa Kuipers

“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 

Dubbed "The Negotiator" by ColoradoBiz Magazine and a "power lobbyist" by Colorado Politics, Melissa Kuipers Blake is a leading lobbyist and seasoned political strategist with more than 20 years of national political experience at the local, state and federal levels of government. Melissa leads negotiations for her clients between elected officials throughout the country and in Washington, D.C., and is known for her issue knowledge, political strategy development and campaign fundraising prowess. When it comes to behind the scenes negotiations and subject matter expertise, Melissa is second to none. 

In addition to her national lobbying practice, Melissa serves as co-chair of Brownstein’s Cannabis & Industrial Hemp industry group, which helps shape legislative policies for these industries. Having worked on cannabis issues since day one of legalization in Colorado, Melissa has a foundational perspective on the growth of the industry and its players. She regularly shares that expertise from a statutory, regulatory, compliance and workplace perspective.

Melissa also chairs the firm’s Emerging Regulated Industries (ERI) practice group, which assists state and local governments and employers throughout the country as they confront growth in emerging industries that are subject to intense public scrutiny and governmental regulation by mapping out a strategy based on practical experience and a proven legal framework.

At the core of Melissa’s government relations practice is her reputation for integrity, honesty and professionalism. Melissa is a close and trusted confidant to a number of key members of the Colorado Senate and House as well as several statewide elected officials across the country. She can often be found in the war rooms of multiple campaigns and has helped influence the outcome of many elections through her election advice and successful fundraising strategies.

While Melissa’s influence in the halls of the Colorado Capitol is extensive, she also maintains significant relationships in Washington, D.C., with numerous members of Congress from all parts of the country. Melissa spends a substantial amount of time in Washington, D.C., in addition to her state and local lobbying work in Colorado.

Melissa regularly provides insights to state and local media on a variety of legislative issues and is often tapped to speak at national conferences to share her political and legislative advice as well as her cannabis regulatory expertise. She is widely recognized by local and national media for her government relations successes, including being named one of the Denver Business Journal’s “Top Forty under 40” at the age of 29, being named a Rising Star in 5280 Magazine’s 2014 list of the most powerful people in Denver, being picked as a Top 25 Young Professional by ColoradoBiz Magazine in 2015 and being selected by her peers as a Top Lawyer in Government Relations/Lobbying in 5280 Magazine's 2016, 2017 and 2018 Top Lawyer's list.

Prior to joining Brownstein, Melissa was the vice president of government relations and communications for the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, where she represented 270 new franchised auto dealers in Colorado. Prior to her work with the automobile industry, Melissa served as the legislative director for the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, was a legislative aide in the Florida Senate and worked for several years in the Florida Legislature for the Rubin Group, based in Tallahassee. Melissa also practiced law for two years in Miami, Florida, representing P.F. Chang's and The Cheesecake Factory in their employment litigation matters.

In her personal time, Melissa serves as the CEO of Baking for the Troops, a Colorado-based nonprofit which prepares and sends homemade care packages of baked goods to members of the U.S. military deployed throughout the world. Since Melissa founded the organization in 2009, she and her team of volunteers have sent more than 2,000 boxes of cards and baked goods to military personnel in countless regions of the globe, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

Melissa is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Previous Experience

“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 

Representative Matters
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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 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.

  • 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.

News & Events

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


Publications & Presentations
  • J.D., 2005, University of Miami School of Law
  • B.S., 2002, with honors, Florida State University
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • District of Columbia

Lawyers of the Year, Law Week Colorado, 2020

Top Women Lawyers, Law Week Colorado, 2020

5280 Top Lawyers, Government Relations, 2016-2020

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


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