Jessica C. McElfresh

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Cannabis Law Attorney in Encinitas, CA

McElfresh Law, Inc.
 | 531 Encinitas Blvd, Suite 111
Encinitas, CA 92024
Phone: 858-356-2050
Fax: 858-225-6700
Selected To Rising Stars: 2017 - 2021
Licensed Since: 2009
Practice Areas:
  • Cannabis Law (70%),
  • Land Use/Zoning (10%),
  • Criminal Defense (10%),
  • Business/Corporate (10%)
Languages Spoken:
  • English,
  • Spanish
    Attorney Profile

    Jessica C. McElfresh of McElfresh Law, Inc. has worked in cannabis law and policy since 2010.  She focuses on local and state applications, land use, regulatory compliance, and business law.  She represents cannabis retailers, distributors, cultivators, manufacturers, and testing labs, as well as landlords and ancillary businesses. Jessica has guided clients through successful applications in jurisdictions such as the City of San Diego, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, La Mesa, and the County of San Diego. 

    Jessica has authored and advised on numerous local ordinances and ballot measures to regulate cannabis businesses, including Measure U in La Mesa, Measure V in Lemon Grove, and Measure H in Encinitas.  She has won writs of mandate at the local and appellate level to compel local governments and registrars of voters to accept petitions and count voter signatures.

    Jessica represents people facing discipline or loss of state and local licenses, particularly in the cannabis industry.  She began her career in criminal defense and continues to take select cases.  Jessica has unique experience with the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege and the duties of an attorney under investigation or facing criminal charges.  She also lectures on the ethical considerations in a cannabis practice, including conflicts of interest, business partnerships with clients, and withdrawal from representation.

    Outside of her law practice, Jessica is an advocate for cannabis and broader drug policy reform.  She is an advisory board member for A New PATH, an organization dedicated to promoting therapeutic rather than punitive drug policies.  Jessica served as a consultant for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California about how Proposition 64 affects criminal justice reform and individual rights.  She is a proud member of the International Cannabis Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee. 

    Jessica grew up in San Diego and graduated summa cum laude from Scripps College before attending the University of San Diego School of Law on a Dean’s Honor Scholarship.  She has spoken at conferences and taught continuing legal education classes for organizations and law schools including the National Cannabis Industry Association, International Cannabis Bar Association, State of Cannabis, California NORML, San Diego County Bar Association, and University of San Diego School of Law.  Jessica serves as an Executive Editor to the Real Property Journal of the California Lawyers Association.  Her publications include “Attorney Ethics and Cannabis: Conflicts of Laws, Conflicts of Interest, and Attorney-Client Privilege for Cannabis Practitioners” (CLA Real Property Journal Vol. 38, No. 4 2020).

    She was selected as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers from 2017 through 2021.  Admitted to practice in California, Ms. McElfresh is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Central, Eastern and Northern Districts of California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

    Highly regarded by her fellow professionals, Ms. McElfresh has received a "Superb" peer review rating through Avvo. She has also been named to the American Institute of Legal Counsel's list of the "10 Best" attorneys in California. Ms. McElfresh is an active participant in several legal organizations, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Louis M. Welsh Inn of Court, and the International Cannabis Bar Association.

    Practice Areas
    • 70%Cannabis Law
    • 10%Land Use/Zoning
    • 10%Criminal Defense
    • 10%Business/Corporate
    Focus Areas

    Arrest & Arraignment, Assault & Battery, Criminal Fraud, Criminal Law, Drug & Alcohol Violations, Expungement, Felony, Juvenile Delinquency, Misdemeanor, Motor Vehicle Offenses, Murder, Probation, Sex Offenses, Theft, Criminal Domestic Violence, Contracts, Business Organizations


    top-imageSelected to Rising Stars for 5 years

    Rising Stars: 2017 - 2021

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    Articles about Jessica C. McElfresh appearing in Super Lawyers

    About Jessica McElfresh

    Admitted: 2009, California

    Professional Webpage:


    • N/A, 10 Best, American Institute of Legal Counsel, 2015
    • N/A, Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Criminal Defense, The National Trial Lawyers, 2017
    • N/A, Recognition Award, Casa Cornelia Law Center, 2010
    • Top 40 Under 40, The National Trial Lawyers, 2017

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • Executive Editor - California Lawyers Association Real Property Journal, 2021
    • National Cannabis Industry Association, 2017
    • International Cannabis Bar Association, 2016
    • United States District Court for Northern District of California
    • Community Director, NORML Women's Alliance , 2017
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    • Lawyers Club of San Diego
    • Criminal Defense Bar Association
    • State Bar of California # 265209, 2017
    • United States District Court for the Central District of California
    • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, 2017
    • Louis M. Welsh American Inn of Court
    • California Public Defenders Association
    • San Diego County Bar Association
    • National NORML Legal Committee
    • United States District Court for Southern District of California
    • California Cannabis Industry Association, 2017
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
    • NORML Women’s Alliance
    • Supreme Court of the United States
    • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association of San Diego

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • Vol. 38, No. 4., Author, Attorney Ethics and Cannabis: Conflicts of Laws, Conflicts of Interest, and Attorney-Client Privilege for Cannabis Practitioners, California Lawyers Association Real Property Journal, 2020


    • Discussion of New Medical Marijuana Laws in CA, 2015
    • San Diego City Council on Medical Marijuana Ordinance, San Diego City Council

    Educational Background:

    • Scripps College, Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature, summa cum laude, 2005
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    Office Location for Jessica C. McElfresh

    531 Encinitas Blvd
    Suite 111
    Encinitas, CA 92024

    Phone: 858-356-2050

    Fax: 858-225-6700

    Jessica C. McElfresh:

    Last Updated: 1/8/2021

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