R. Lance Boldrey


Lance Boldrey guides clients through always-changing, often unpredictable Native American law and cannabis law environments. Although the two areas may seem different, both involve growing economic interests, government relations, complex transactions, and complicated legal and regulatory landscapes.

Fortunately for Lance's clients, those are the areas in which he excels.

Clients quoted in The Legal 500 US 2023 note Lance is “‘one of the most brilliant cannabis lawyers in the country and certainly the best within Michigan. He’s pragmatic and an excellent advocate for his clients. Lance represents a plethora of clients ranging from significant market entities such as lenders and investors to smaller retail clients, and is particularly proficient in legislative, regulatory as well as licensing mandates.”

Lance's Native American law experience encompasses gaming, economic development, and state-tribal relations, and he is one of only a few private practitioners in Michigan representing tribes, developers, banks, lenders, non-tribal businesses, and state and local governments.

Lance serves as counsel to large publicly and privately held vertically-integrated companies in the cannabis industry. Individually and as the leader of a multidisciplinary team, he advises clients in licensing, corporate finance, M&A, joint venture, real property, regulatory compliance, government relations, and intellectual property matters. He also represents independent retailers and microbusinesses, shepherding them through the gray areas and conflicts between state and federal law.

Gaming accounts for a large portion of Lance's Native American law practice, with a focus on tribal-state compacting, financing, business formation, litigation, and administrative dealings with the National Indian Gaming Commission and other state and federal agencies.

He has negotiated tribal-state and inter-tribal agreements and advises tribes, tribal entities, and non-tribal companies on economic development, construction, and healthcare services.

Throughout his career, Lance has fostered longstanding connections and friendships within the Native American, state government, and regional business communities. His knowledge of Indian law is vast, prompting the governors of Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin to seek his counsel on gaming and tribal relations issues.

Cannabis law and Native American law are constantly changing and evolving, and the only way to maneuver through the uncertainty is to focus on the client's business objectives. My unique perspective on how the pieces fit together distinguishes me from other attorneys and allows me to deliver results.
    • Duke University, J.D.
    • James Madison College and the Honors College at Michigan State University, B.A., with honors
  • Bar Admissions

    • Michigan, 1995
  • Court Admissions

    • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1995
    • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 1995
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, 1996
    • U.S. Supreme Court, 2004
    • Recognized by The Legal 500 United States as a Key Lawyer for Cannabis Law and Native American Law, 2021-2023

    • Named a Nationwide Leading Lawyer in Cannabis Law: Eastern United States and Native American Law by Chambers USA, 2016-2023

    • Named a "Trailblazer" for Cannabis Law by The National Law Journal, 2020
    • Michigan Lawyers Weekly, "Leaders in the Law," 2020
    • Named to Cannabis Law Report's "Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers" 2020-2021

    • Fellow, Michigan State Bar Foundation, 2015-Present
    • Distinguished Brief Award for Best Brief to Michigan Supreme Court, Thomas M. Cooley Law Review, for brief on behalf of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Taxpayers of Michigan Against Casinos v. State of Michigan, 478 Mich. 99; 732 N.W.2d 487, 2007
    • Named Lansing's "Lawyer of the Year" for Gaming Law by Best Lawyers®2014
    • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Gaming Law, Cannabis Law, and Native American Law, 2007-Present. Copyright 2018 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC
    • Named a Michigan Leading Lawyer in the areas of Election, Political & Campaign, Gaming & Casino and Native American Law by the Leading Lawyers Network, 2014-2017. Law Bulletin Publishing Company
    • Named a Rising Star by Law & Politics, 2009-2010
    • Pioneer Award by the Marijuana Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan
    • Michigan Association of CPA’s Cannabis Expert Panel

    • State Bar of Michigan Cannabis Law Section

    • National Cannabis Bar Association
    • Federal Bar Association, Sarah T. Hughes Civil Rights Award Committee
    • Ingham County Bar Association
    • Trustee of the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, presidential appointee, 2003-2014
    • Past President and Member, Board of Directors, James Madison College Alumni Association
    • Deputy Legal Counsel, Michigan Governor John Engler

Latest News and Insights

Speaking Engagements9.28.23

Cannabis and Tribal Governments

Lance Boldrey will give a presentation, “Cannabis and Tribal Governments,” at the 8th Annual…

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Blog Posts9.1.23

Michigan Court of Appeals Orders Placement of Cannabis-Related City Charter Amendment on November 2023 Ballot

In a significant decision for cannabis advocates and the cannabis industry, on September 1, 2023,…

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Press Mentions8.21.23

Michigan marijuana sales likely to surpass $3 billion, helped by record-breaking July

Lance Boldrey was quoted extensively in the MLive article, "Michigan marijuana sales likely to…

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