Shane Pennington


New York


1115 Broadway
Suite 1218
New York, NY 10010

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

J.D., The University of Texas School of Law
B.A., University of Houston


Shane Pennington Super Lawyers Rising Star Appellate LawShane Pennington serves as counsel at Vicente LLP, focusing his practice on federal appeals and regulatory issues related to cannabis and hemp. As a former law clerk to federal judges on the D.C. Circuit, the Fifth Circuit, and the D.C. District Court, Shane’s unique insights can also assist clients in evaluating potential or pending cases involving complex regulatory issues.

In addition to his work related to cannabis and hemp, Shane advises clients on federal psychedelics law, including DEA regulations governing registration to handle schedule I psychedelic substances under the Controlled Substances Act and efforts to reschedule or deschedule. He regularly litigates issues with important implications for the federal regulation of psychedelics before federal appellate courts across the country.

Shane is recognized as “One to Watch” by Best Lawyers in America® and as a top-rated "Rising Stars" cannabis law attorney by Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers. He is one of the authors of On Drugs, where he writes his discoveries, ideas, observations, and reactions related to federal and state drug law. He also provides commentary regarding administrative law issues to the Yale Journal on Regulation "Notice & Comment" blog and is a regular contributor to the “News From the Circuits” column published in the American Bar Association’s Administrative and Regulatory Law News.


Leadership & Community Involvement

  • Vice-chair, Cannabis Law and Policy General Committee, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section

  • Co-chair, Amicus Committee, International Cannabis Bar Association

Case Highlights

  • Scottsdale Research Institute v. DEA (D. Ariz.). Co-lead counsel in FOIA suit to force release of a secret 2018 opinion of DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, “Licensing Marijuana Cultivation in Compliance with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.” Within weeks of filing complaint—and without filing a FOIA request—secured settlement requiring DOJ to disclose OLC opinion barring DEA from processing medical research applications under the Controlled Substances Act until DEA brought its regulations in line with federal law and United States treaty obligations.

  • In re Scottsdale Research Institute (D.C. Cir.). Co-lead counsel in mandamus action seeking order requiring DEA to process clinical research applications after years of delay. In response to order from D.C. Circuit calling for its response to petition for writ of mandamus, DEA capitulated, processed 33 overdue applications, and announced at long last its intent to move forward with a comprehensive program. In May 2021, DEA announced that it had preliminarily approved Scottsdale Research Institute’s application to grow marijuana for research purposes. DEA and Scottsdale Research Institute are currently negotiating a Memorandum of Agreement to govern Scottsdale Research Institute’s federal grow license going forward.

  • Sierra Frac Sand, L.L.C. v. CDE Global Limited (5th Cir.). Defended appeal of district court order dismissing claims against Northern Irish company on forum non conveniens grounds. Fifth Circuit canceled oral argument and issued published opinion affirming ruling in client’s favor. 

  • California State Lands Commission v. Plains Pipeline LP (Cal. App.). Briefing and oral argument on behalf of party appearing as amicus curiae; in opinion favorable to client, state appellate court expressly rejected federal appellate court’s ruling in client’s case presenting same important and novel issue of California law.

  • Sabre Travel International, Ltd. v. Deutsche Lufthansa AG (Tex.). Successfully represented airline before Texas Supreme Court; secured ruling that federal Airline Deregulation Act did not preempt airline’s state-law claims against third-party vendor.

  • Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc. (U.S.). Merits briefing on behalf of petitioner resulting in a unanimous Supreme Court opinion in client’s favor holding that securities-fraud defendants must be afforded an opportunity to rebut the presumption of reliance before class certification with evidence of a lack of price impact.

  • Baker Botts LLP v. ASARCO, LLC (U.S.). Certiorari- and merits-stage briefing in case questioning whether Bankruptcy Code permits bankruptcy courts to award attorney fees to counsel or other professionals employed by the bankruptcy estate for work in defense of fee application in court.



On Drugs Blog



External Publications