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David Holland

David is a seasoned and highly respected litigator who has also been a leading advocate in the cannabis space for over 20 years.  He has represented clients in marijuana related proceedings everywhere from traffic court to the United States Supreme Court, and he helped obtain clemency for five elderly prisoners serving at least one sentence of life without parole for marijuana offenses. Watch an in-depth interview in which Dave recounts his history of advocacy in the marijuana space here(The interview was conducted in March, 2021 by Hiba Yizbek, a student at the Columbia Journalism School).

David currently occupies the following leadership roles:

Executive and Legal Director, Empire State NORML

Co-Founder and President, New York City Cannabis Industry Association

Co-Founder and Vice President, Hudson Valley Cannabis Industry Association

Legal Advisor to The Last Prisoner Project

As the Executive and Legal Director of Empire State NORML, David played an active role in drafting and lobbying for the passage of New York's recent legalization of recreational use of marijuana.  In these unique leadership roles, and as the President of the New York City Cannabis Industry Association, Dave has interfaced routinely with various stakeholders in New York's existing and illicit cannabis industry and beyond, including legislators, business executives, growers, funders, licensed professionals, and thought leaders.   

For over 10 years David also provided Counsel to High Times Magazine handling all legal matters. During its heyday, High Times was universally recognized as the first and foremost publication exclusively dedicated to cannabis related issues. David handled all legal, intellectual property, and licensing matters for High Times. He also oversaw all the legal and leasing aspects of 17 ”High Times Cannabis Cup” marijuana themed competition events held in Amsterdam and across the United States.

David has challenged the constitutionality of federal cannabis laws in several legal actions, submitted an amicus curiae brief to the United States Supreme Court in the case of Washington v. Barr arguing that the Schedule I status of cannabis under federal law is unconstitutional, and recently brought a Declaratory Judgment action against the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Services on behalf of probationers who are being denied access to medical marijuana under the state's Compassionate Care Act.  He is engaged with activist groups in New York State seeking to pass adult use cannabis consumption. David frequently lectures attorneys, legislators, and community leaders on the history of cannabis prohibition and the socio-economic agenda behind so many legalization programs implemented in adult use states.

David is admitted to the federal and state courts in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He frequently co-counsels cases around the country.  He is an alumnus of New York Law School and Boston University, where he majored in American History.  He also spent time studying at Bard College.

Relationship With Legal Legend Michael Kennedy

David spent more than as decade servings Of Counsel to the late Michael Kennedy, Esq., a nationally renowned criminal defense attorney and civil rights advocate for more than 40 years. Kennedy was described as the "first line of defense against the dark forces that were certain to line up against a publication High Times [magazine] whose stated mission was to confront popular misconceptions regarding illegal drugs."   

Together with Kennedy, David Holland defended scores of clients in civil and criminal matters including academic and public figures charged federally in politically motivated prosecutions, high profile constitutional challenges in the state and federal arenas, and represented the Coalition to Reschedule Cannabis, in the battle of scientists and academics to re-schedule marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act to foster greater scientific research into the properties of the cannabis plant. Their efforts culminated in an appeal by the C.R.C. and Americans for Safe Access to the Court of Appeals in Washington D.C.

In November, 2012, Holland and Kennedy successfully petitioned President Obama for group clemency on behalf of five elderly federal prisoners, each of whom are over the age of 65 and had served more than 15 years of their mandatory life without parole sentences under the sentencing guidelines.  Four were granted clemency by President Obama; the fifth prisoner, John Knock, received clemency from President Trump on his last day in office.  You can read the Petition for Clemency here:

Petition to President Obama For Clemency
Petition for Clemency to Relieve Five Elderly Prisoners From Life Without Parole Sentences For Marijuana

David has vowed to carry on and continue to seek the release of prisoners of the failed war on drugs. He serves as a legal advisor to the “Last Prisoner Project” where, together with other attorneys, he continues to seek state and federal clemency for inmates that are serving extraordinarily severe sentences for non-violent cannabis offenses.

Recent Blog Posts

Recommendations

  • Charles Russell, Executive Vice President at Stribling & Associates Recommends David Holland

    “David is a fantastic attorney.  He has reviewed, commented on, and helped negotiate very difficult business contracts for me.  He is always at least one step ahead.”
  • Ellen O'Connell, Vice President at International Rescue Committee Recommends David Holland

    “David Holland is an excellent attorney.  He is professional, knowledgeable and efficient.  He is extremely responsive, trustworthy and personable.”
  • Gary Ireland, Esq., Employment Law and Executive Advisor Recommends David Holland

    “I have had the privilege of working with David on several occasions and regularly consult with him.  David is quick to determine a coherent strategy and in implementing the same to resolve an issue.  I have recommended him to several clients who all have had very positive results and comment on ...
  • Amy S. Tingley, Esq., Stovash, Case and Tingley P.A. Recommends David Holland

    “David and I consulted for many years on our respective cases out of the State of Florida which involved the internet sale and compounding of steroids and HGH that was the focus of the Major League Baseball scandal investigated by Sen. George Mitchell.  He was a trusted ally and developed legal s...
  • Marvin E. Schechter, Esq., Former Board Member - NACDL, Past President - NYSACDL Recommends David Holland

    “David and I have worked as co-counsel on a number of truly difficult state and federal cases each of which have posed rare and challenging legal and factual issues.  Together we obtained an acquittal in a federal death penalty eligible case.  David is a good trial attorney and has developed endu...
  • Daniel Arshack, Esq., Arshack, Hajek & Lehrman, PLLC – Past President – NYSACDL Recommends David Holland

    “David and I have worked well together on a number matters and I look forward to future opportunities to do so again.  He is tenacious and determined to do his level best for every client.”
  • Richard Willstatter, Esq., Green & Willstatter – Immediate Past President – NYSACDL Recommends David Holland

    “I have consulted and worked with David for years on a number of civil and criminal matters.  He is very enthusiastic, insightful, and capable.  It is a pleasure to work together.”
  • Michael Kennedy, Esq., Civil Rights Advocate and Criminal Defense Attorney Recommends David Holland

    “David is a zealous attorney, effective advocate, and my close confidante of several years.  I value his opinion and insights as my Of Counsel and often request them on civil and criminal matters that I handle.”
  • Talented and Reassuring

    Dave Holland is exactly the attorney you want when you need straight advice on complicated matters, explained to you in language you can understand. Easy to work with. If you're looking for a yeller and screamer you probably have the wrong guy, but personally I'd be glad to have Dave Holland in m...
  • Appreciative client

    David is a thorough and totally professional attorney who has successfully guided me through some complex issues. He is forceful when necessary, and yet also knows when a more subtle touch is required. He gets results, which is exactly what one wants from a lawyer.
  • Best Man for the Job-A Small Business Owner's Right Hand

    David Holland has been there for my small business every step of the way. From lease renewals, contractual advice and review, permits and general support and navigation, he really brings his knowledge and heart to everything he does.
  • Intelligence, Integrity, Tenacious but Honorable

    I met Mr. Holland at a good and bad time. I had won my election but wanted to challenge the voters who stayed in bungalows for the summer who seemed to want to try to influence the election. He was very patient with me, explaining every step of the way, many times more than once. He was very thor...
  • Municipality

    As Town Supervisor for the Town of Mamakating I would highly recommend David. He is clear in his communications, patient with the slow grind of government, flexible and most importantly, highly talented, intelligent, thoughtful and stays in touch communicating every aspect of the case at hand. Al...
  • Integrity above all

    David Holland is a man of great integrity who possesses an exhaustive knowledge of the law. I've known him for 20 years and have watched him fight for clients big and small. As an attorney he wins big because he thinks big. If myself or a member of my family were in need of legal assistance, Davi...
  • Brilliant lawyer and an amazing person

    I have hired David Holland for both corporate and personal reasons. He is absolutely brilliant and meticulously considers all aspects of the situation. David is exceedingly well versed in the law and thoughtfully considers all possible options. What is exceptional is that he takes his work and hi...
  • Brilliant Lawyer and Man

    David Holland has represented me in several cases and all were handled with extreme professionalism and ease. He was tireless in his efforts to make sure my outcomes were positive. Not only is he experienced and handles situations with the upmost expertise, he is a kind and brilliant person. If y...
  • Terrific lawyer

    We hired David for our apartment closing. He was so diligent and helped us through many difficult situations and found the best solutions to them. David was over and above in commitment and expertise. My husband and I were extremely impressed by his work. David is kind and thorough and very easy ...
  • Dave Holland is a fabulous lawyer !!!

    I cannot say enough about Dave, he is a lawyer one can trust in all aspects, We have used Dave for over 12 years and have never been disappointed. He is one of the most trustworthy and ethical lawyers. We have used Dave in many different areas of the law and his knowledge is mind boggling ! We tr...
  • Outstanding lawyer and person

    I've worked with David for several years and all I can say is that he is outstanding both on a professional and personal level. His leadership is inspiring and his knowledge sets a new standard. We worked on a very complicated estate case and he guided me through every single step making smooth a...

Contact Us Today

The Law Offices of David Clifford Holland, PC is committed to answering your questions about Cannabis Busniess Start-Up & Advocacy, Cannabis Law, Employment Law, First Amendment Law, Complex Civil Litigation and Criminal Defense in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and beyond.

We offer a Free Consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Offices in New York City and Sullivan County
By Appointment Only
212-842-2480

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