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Jessica C. McElfresh

Jessica C. McElfresh

Marijuana Law and Criminal Defense Lawyer
McElfresh Law, Inc.
Encinitas, CA
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About Jessica C. McElfresh

Attorney Biography

Jessica C. McElfresh has focused on cannabis law and policy since 2010.  Currently she focuses on local and state applications, regulations, and compliance.  Her practice also includes business, election, land use, and ethics, as well as criminal and license defense.  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, King City, and the County of San Diego.  She has authored and advised on ordinances and ballot measures to regulate cannabis businesses at the local level, including Measure U in La Mesa and Measure V in Lemon Grove. 

She represents clients in state and federal court for offenses including homicide, arson, embezzlement, and weapons charges.  Seventy-five percent of her cases have resulted in dismissals, no charges filed, or reductions to misdemeanors or infractions.  Jessica represents people facing discipline or loss of their state and local licenses, particularly in the cannabis industry.  She 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 regularly 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 has also 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 Business Summit & Expo, International Cannabis Bar Association, California NORML, San Diego County Bar Association, and University of San Diego School of Law.  She was selected as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers from 2017 through 2020.

Practice Areas

Marijuana Law (68%)
Criminal Defense (16%)
Administrative Law (16%)

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Résumé - Jessica C. McElfresh

Bar Licenses

California State Bar
Member in Good Standing

Work Experience

McElfresh Law, Inc.


University of San Diego School of Law
University of San Diego School of Law

Scripps College

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National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Life Member
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
Lifetime Member
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

California Lawyers Association, Real Property Law Section
California Lawyers Association, Real Property Law Section

Lifetime Member
International Cannabis Bar Association

National Cannabis Industry Association

California Cannabis Industry Association

Louis M. Welsh American Inn of Court

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Awards & Honors

Honor Award
Casa Cornelia Law Center

Commercial Recognitions

Community Leadership badge
Recognized for Community Leadership
Lawyer Legion

Professional Involvement badge
Recognized for Professional Involvement
Lawyer Legion
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Contact Jessica C. McElfresh

Jessica C. McElfresh
McElfresh Law, Inc.
531 Encinitas Boulevard Suite 111
Encinitas, CA 92024
Office: 858-756-7107
Mobile: 858-248-2901
Fax: 858-225-6700

Online Profiles

More Information

Bar License Information

California Bar Membership -

Jessica C. McElfresh - Profile information with the State Bar of California - Find more information about Jessica C. McElfresh on the State Bar of California website, including: current status, actions affecting eligibility to practice law and disciplinary history.

Nonprofit Organizations

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers -

Founded in 1958, NACDL is the largest organization for criminal defense lawyers fighting to preserve fairness within America's criminal justice system. The organization has more than 10,000 direct members including criminal defense attorneys in private practice, public defenders in state or federal court, U.S. military defense counsel, law professors and judges.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws NLC -

More than 350 criminal defense attorneys belong to the NORML National Legal Committee (NLC). Members of the NORML NLC include many prominent criminal defense lawyers who are dedicated to ending prohibition of marijuana through education, legal reform and activism. Attorneys focused on other practice areas also belong to the organization.

NLC members are listed on the NORML website, are eligible for the NLC e-mail discussion group, receive the weekly email press release, and NORML News.