Dale Schafer’s extensive and diverse legal career spans a 35-year period. He graduated from University of Northern California Law School in Sacramento California and was first licensed to practice law in 1987. Prior to law school, Dale proudly served in the United States Navy as a corpsman trained to assist orthopedic surgeons in trauma cases. He received an honorable discharge from the Navy and continued to work in an orthopedic clinic throughout the time he attended undergraduate and law schools.
For the first 10 years of Dale’s legal career, he was a civil litigator and trial attorney naturally focusing on defending doctors and other licensed professionals in malpractice actions given his background. Ultimately, Dale left his defense practice and began representing plaintiffs in personal injury and other tort related claims. During this period, he tried multiple cases both as a plaintiff and a defendant in front of juries, judges and arbitrators.
Dale’s life and career changed forever in 1997 when his then physician wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Finding that cannabis relieved the side effects associated with cancer and its treatment, Dale and his wife became medical cannabis advocates fighting against the war on cannabis. In 1999 they opened California Medical Research Center (“CMRC”), a medical-legal recommendation practice in Cool, California eventually serving over 12,000 patient clients. Dale continued his cannabis patient advocacy by testifying as an expert in defense of medical cannabis patients who had been charged with cannabis crimes.
Dale received the attention of El Dorado County authorities when he ran for District Attorney on a platform based on cannabis patients’ rights, including the right to cultivate medical cannabis for personal use in 2000. Within a year of Dale’s campaign, his home and office were raided by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency. In 2005, a federal enforcement action was filed against Dale and his former wife, and both served five-year federal prison sentences. Dale’s case garnered the attention of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, which influenced him to sponsor what became known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which was first passed by Congress in 2015, and prohibited the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.
In 2015, Dale reentered limited legal practice while under a Federal supervised release program and within two years reobtained the right to represent medical cannabis patients, collectives and cooperatives. Dale’s practice now focuses primarily on representing California commercial cannabis and hemp companies in various matters.