Biography Photo of Melissa L Waite

Melissa L. Waite

Melissa is a Member in the firm’s Real Estate Department and practices in the areas of privilege licensing, business transactions and real estate transactions. She assists with licensing and regulatory compliance for businesses with liquor, marijuana, gaming and other privilege licenses. Melissa also provides counsel in real estate matters including the acquisition, disposition, leasing, development and financing of real estate in Nevada. Melissa has extensive experience with Nevada LLC and corporate law matters and routinely assists with all stages of a business’s life cycle including entity selection, formation of a business entity, and final disposition of the business or dissolution. She drafts and negotiates contracts for clients in a variety of industries providing valuable insight with regard to general contracting matters. 

Since 2013, Melissa has been advising clients on emerging legal issues related to marijuana establishments and ancillary marijuana businesses. She has assisted cultivators, producers, dispensaries, testing labs and distributors in maintaining compliance in a highly regulated market, obtaining state and local licenses, acquiring real estate and facilitating acquisitions and dispositions of operating cannabis establishments. Melissa is constantly working with state and local agencies, monitoring new policies and changes in the law in order to help clients stay at the forefront as the cannabis industry continues to evolve. 

Education & Credentials


University of Nevada, Las Vegas

B.A., Psychology with minor in Economics, 2003
  • magna cum laude

University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Business

M.B.A., 2007
  • cum laude

University of Nevada, William S. Boyd School of Law

J.D., 2007
  • cum laude
  • Contributor, Nevada Law Journal
  • Member, Academic Standards Committee
  • Extern, Judge Cheryl B. Moss, Family Court Division

Bar Admission

  • Nevada


  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Cannabis Law, 2023-2024
    • Corporate Law, 2024
  • Mountain State Super Lawyers ®
    •   "Rising Star," Cannabis Law, 2021
  • Vegas Inc.
    • Top Lawyers, 2020
  • National Law Journal's Cannabis Trailblazer List, 2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Rating
  • Nevada Business Magazine
    • Legal Elite Southern Nevada’s Top Attorneys, 2018, 2021
  • Recognized in Boyd Briefs Alumni Spotlight, 2015
  • Nevada Business Magazine
    • Legal Elite Best Up & Coming Attorneys, 2014
  • Desert Companion’s
    • Top Lawyers, 2014

Prominent Assignments


  • Provided instrumental application preparation assistance to winning applications in highly competitive merit based application process for dispensary, cultivation and production establishments.  
  • Represent publicly traded and privately held companies in acquisition of cannabis certificates, operational cannabis establishments and associated real property acquisition.
  • Counsel to marijuana establishments including dispensary, cultivation, production, distributor and independent testing lab as to day-to-day operational matters and license compliance in a highly regulated market.
  • Document and negotiate license agreements for use of established cannabis brands and supply agreements for cannabis packaging.  

Administrative Law

  • Counsel to restaurants, taverns, bars, nightclubs, convenience stores, gift and liquor stores and concert/sports venues in liquor and gaming matters including obtaining licenses and ongoing compliance.

Real Estate/Real Estate Finance

  • Advise clients on the process of documenting, negotiating and closing real estate transactions for a variety of property types including residential, office, retail, industrial, vacant land, hotel-casino, restaurant, convenience store and marijuana facilities. 
  • Counsel to landlords and tenants in leasing of commercial property including office, mixed-use, industrial, retail, hotel casino, convenience store, restaurant and marijuana facilities. 
  • Counsel to lenders and corporate borrowers in commercial loan transactions spanning multiple industries involving real property collateral.

Corporate and Commercial Contract

  • Advise clients regarding Nevada LLC and corporate law matters for a variety of entity types including entity selection, business formation, corporate governance, conversion, merger and dissolution.
  • Facilitating negotiation, preparation and closing of equity purchase agreements and asset purchase agreements for multiple categories of business, including providing assistance in due diligence, regulatory compliance and related financing documentation.  
  • Counsel to lenders and corporate borrowers in commercial loan transactions spanning multiple industries involving personal property collateral.
  • Experience in drafting and negotiating a wide variety of contracts including joint venture agreements, shareholder agreements, operating agreements, buy-sell agreements, management agreements, service agreements, independent contractor agreements, employment and severance agreements, non-compete agreements and confidentiality agreements. 

Professional Involvement

  • International Cannabis Bar Association 
  • American Bar Association
  • The State Bar of Nevada
    • Cannabis Section, Executive Committee
    • Administrative Law Section, Former Secretary
  • Clark County Bar Association
  • Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys

Community Involvement

  • Member, Alumni Leadership Circle, William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV
  • Member, Dean’s Council, William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV

Court Admission

  • Clark County District Court
  • Nevada Supreme Court


  • Author, "Nevada’s Cannabis Industry Takes Another Step Forward," Dickinson Wright Legal Edge Blog, August 2023
  • Contributing Author, Real Estate Ownership: Nevada, Practical Law State Q&A 4-524-3685, Thomson Reuters, 2023
  • Moderator, "Lessons Learned: Comparisons and Contrasts Between Gaming and Cannabis Regulation," State Bar of Nevada Cannabis Law Conference, December 2022
  • Co-Author of introduction and contributing editor, Nevada Cannabis Laws and Regulations 2021-2022 Edition, Michie, December 2022
  • Presenter, "ACC Nevada Presents: Hot Topics in Cannabis Law," Association of Corporate Counsel, April 29, 2021
  • Panelist, "Capitalizing on the Real Estate Land Grab," MJBizDaily Investor Intelligence Conference, December 9-10, 2019
  • Panelist, “Investment Strategies Involving Cannabis Real Estate,” Information Management Network IC3: The Institutional Capital & Cannabis Conference (East), 2019 
  • Program Co-Chair, "The Business of Marijuana in Nevada," The Seminar Group, 2017 – 2019
    • Moderator, "Local Licensing Perspectives on Consumption Lounges," 2019
    • Presenter, "Local Licensing Perspectives on Marijuana," 2018
  • Panelist, “Planning Concerns for Clients with Licenses,” Nevada Forum Meeting, WealthCounsel® State Forums, Las Vegas, May 8, 2019 
  • Panelist, “The Elephant in Nevada’s Hotel Rooms: A Symposium on Social Consumption of Recreational Marijuana,” University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Nevada Law Journal, November 2, 2018
  • Author, "Nevada's Quiet Cannabis Expansion," Marijuana Retail Report, September 20, 2018
  • Author, “The Challenges of Cannabis Lawyering in Nevada," The Recorder, March 13, 2018
  • Author, "Budding Business," Vegas Seven, September 15-21, 2016
  • Author, "Experts Gauge Hurdles of Medical Marijuana Business," Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 20, 2014
  • Author, "Banks Find Complications Remain for Financing Marijuana Businesses," Las Vegas Business Press, February 24, 2014
  • Author, "Lawyer with multiple degrees also uses her psychology degree in everyday life," Nevadan at Work, Las Vegas Review Journal, February 15, 2014
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