In 2011, Khurshid Khoja, a California lawyer who worked with a wind-energy company, spotted opportunity in another type of green.

Reed Smith, where he worked as an associate, could assist the budding cannabis industry, Khoja told firm partners and firm leaders. That Nov­ember, Khoja hosted the ArcView Group, a collection of cannabis industry investors, for an inaugural session at Reed Smith’s San Francisco office. Khoja slipped out for a chat with the office managing partner. When he returned, he leaned to ArcView CEO Troy Dayton and said, “I’m pretty sure I just got fired.”

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