Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

April 30, 2010
Mediation lawyer brings harmony to pot business disputes

IMG_0046.JPGIf California's medical marijuana trade were just one big harmonious smoking circle, attorney Daniel Marc Bornstein might be out of business.

The veteran civil litigation lawyer formed Confidential Mediation Services so that marijuana dispensaries, cultivators and patients can resolve disputes.

He offers himself as a peace facilitator for a trade that isn't always comfortable with settling things the old-fashioned way of going to court and suing.

So Bornstein, who has offices in San Francisco and Beverly Hills, says he is the man to call when a dispensary selling weed for a grower refuses to pay for the crop because it is found to contain mold three weeks later.

"The cultivator said (to the dispensary) it was your responsibility to inspect the product," Bornstein recounted.

His solution? "Compromise. Compromise. Compromise. Negotiate a reduced payment."

In another case, Bornstein says he worked with a marijuana patient who wanted compensation for "personal injury" from an adverse reaction to a pot cookie bought at a dispensary. "She didn't want to go public in a traditional litigation environment," he said.

Bornstein said the matter was resolved "confidentially" with a settlement and no court action.

Though the matters may never be recorded in any public record, Bornstein says his mediation services help pot business see the light about negotiating grievances.

"I am offering a way to resolve disputes that is both professionally responsible and out of the darkness," he says.

Pictured: Daniel Marc Bornstein pitches mediation to help pot professionals and patients get along. Peter Hecht/phecht@sacbee.com

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