Food safety regulation has been, for most of our history, the poor stepchild of federal regulatory concern. Within the two federal agencies that have primary responsibility for the safety of the food supply, this mission has always played second fiddle to more primary concerns. Not anymore. Thanks to a sweeping legislative reform of food safety regulation in 2010, food safety is about to achieve "parity," which will dramatically change the landscape for attorneys interested in jobs and careers in food safety practice.
Fifteen years ago, there might have been 20 full-time wine law attorneys in the entire country, almost all of them practicing their craft in the small geographic area from San Francisco north to the Napa Valley and Sonoma County, California. Not anymore. Today, the explosion of viticulture and winemaking encompasses 211 federally-designated wine regions in 24 states and climbing. Along with this exponential growth comes new job and career options for legal/wine connoisseurs interested in a practice that combines general legal knowledge with esoterica unique to this most pleasant legal endeavor.
The big political news last year was not Chris Christie’s re-election in New Jersey or Terry McAuliffe’s rise to the governorship of Virginia. Instead, it was the approval of recreational marijuana by Colorado and Washington State, where it is now or will soon be legal to grow, distribute, sell, possess and smoke or otherwise ingest small amounts of cannabis. These two states now join the many others where medical marijuana has been legal under state law in recent years. This is good news for both potheads and attorneys.