Maricela is a municipal attorney who has expertise in cannabis laws, land use, planning and zoning, the Brown Act, and the Public Records Act. Maricela has significant expertise in the complex and constantly evolving State laws regarding cannabis including Senate Bill 94, the Medicinal Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. Maricela assists city clients with understanding their options for regulating or prohibiting cannabis businesses in their jurisdiction, and drafts ordinances either regulating or prohibiting commercial cannabis activities.
Work for Clients
Maricela is the Assistant City Attorney for Highland. Maricela also staffs the Temecula Planning Commission meetings and works closely with Temecula staff on various land use and planning issues. Maricela has also represented the cities of Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calimesa, Compton, Covina, Monrovia, Norwalk, San Marino, and Yucaipa.
Maricela began her legal career with Richards, Watson & Gershon in 2003 when she worked as a Summer Associate with the firm. Maricela spent ten years representing cities in various litigation matters including administrative mandamus proceedings, municipal and tort defense, code enforcement, contract disputes, and condemnation actions. As a former eminent domain attorney, Maricela assisted clients in all stages of the pre-acquisition process including offers, negotiations, preparation of staff reports and resolutions of necessity, and drafting purchase and sale agreements and rights of entry for grade separation, road widening, and detention basin projects. Maricela has now switched her focus to providing advisory assistance to clients on a wide variety of municipal law matters.
Professional and Community Affiliations
Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
Maricela has significant expertise in State laws pertaining to cannabis for both medicinal and adult-use. Maricela provides advisory assistance to city clients to help them understand their ability to regulate or prohibit commercial cannabis businesses, the regulation of cannabis for personal use, and cannabis taxation issues. Maricela has provided advisory assistance to over twenty cities regarding cannabis regulation including Agoura Hills, Covina, Beverly Hills, Compton, Monrovia, Norwalk, Temecula and Yucaipa, and has drafted ordinance for these cities.
Maricela assisted the City of Temecula in drafting the necessary documents for the adoption of the Uptown Temecula Specific Plan, including a General Plan Amendment, approval of the Specific Plan, certification of the EIR, and amendment to an adult business overlay zone.
Maricela also assisted Beverly Hills in drafting tobacco smoking regulations.
- Alert // Cities May Impose Immediate Administrative Fines or Penalties for Illegal Cannabis Cultivation Under New Law09.20.2018
- Alert // Bureau of Cannabis Control is Now Accepting Applications for Certain Commercial Cannabis Activities12.12.2017
Maricela has delivered presentations before public officials, attorneys, and community members, including the Orange County City Attorney’s Association, Ventura Council of Governments, and the cities of Beverly Hills, Calimesa, Compton, Highland and Temecula on topics ranging from cannabis regulation to the Brown Act, meeting management, due process laws, Public Records Act, CEQA and conflicts of interest.
- Event // Regulating Marijuana in CalimesaCalimesa, CA, 06.2017
- Event // City of Temecula Planning Commission TrainingTemecula, CA, 06.2017
- Event // Regulating Marijuana Post Proposition 64Beverly Hills, CA, 02.2017
- Event // Proposition 64: The Adult Use of Marijuana Act – Holy Smokes it Passed! Now What?Camarillo, CA, 11.2016
- Event // Regulating Marijuana in CaliforniaSimi Valley, CA, 11.2016
- Event // Public Nuisance Hearing Board TrainingHighland, CA, 10.08.2016
- Event // A New Green Future for California Cities, Proposition 64: The Adult Use of Marijuana ActTustin, CA, 08.2016
An expert in State cannabis laws, Maricela has written on the following topics:
- “New Regulatory Structure for Medical and Non-Medical Cannabis Laws”, RWG E-alert (July 2017)
- “New Developments and Complications in Marijuana Laws,” RWG E-Alert (September 2016)
J.D., University of California at Los Angeles School of Law
B. A., cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, University of California, San Diego