2024 Alumni Awards Profiles

Brian Vicente ’99Brian Vicente ’99

Reunion: 25th
Residence: Denver, Colorado
Grinnell major: Psychology
Other degrees: JD from the University of Denver (2004)
Profession: Attorney

3 ways Brian embodies Grinnell College’s mission of lifetime learning and service

  1. Brian has played a pivotal role in the movement to end cannabis prohibition, establish responsible regulations and advance global drug policy from the Drug War era. As a founding partner in the firm Vicente LLP, Brian opened a new field of law: advising government on post-prohibition policy and helping establish legal marijuana businesses across the world.
  2. He was a lead drafter of Colorado’s 2012 historic legalization initiative, Amendment 64, and he co-directed the successful campaign in support of it. Recreational cannabis has brought in several billion dollars in tax revenue to Colorado since its legalization – enabling school construction and producing tens of thousands of new jobs.
  3. Brian has advised government officials in the development of regulated cannabis markets across the country and around the world, including in Uruguay, the first country in the world to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. This massive shift has led to a large-scale rethinking of the U.S.-led Drug War and to millions fewer arrests for cannabis violations.

Something you probably didn’t know about Brian

He is a lifelong skateboarder and spent years as a volunteer grant-writer helping activists across the globe successfully secure government funding in order to build public skateboarding parks in their communities.

A collage of photos featuring Brian Vicente ’99

Bonus Brian Fun Facts

  • In 2018, newly elected Colorado Gov. Jared Polis selected Brian to serve as a member of his gubernatorial transition team, where he sat on the Economic Development and Labor Committee.
  • Brian has conducted more than 1,000 interviews regarding marijuana policy for national, state, and local media outlets, and he was recognized by The Guardian as “the cannabis industry’s de facto spokesman.”
  • Brian serves as president of the National Hispanic Cannabis Council, a purpose-driven nonprofit organization he helped found in 2021.

A quote about Brian

“I can sincerely say that Brian, more than any other alum I know, has pursued and succeeded in changing the world. His dogged and single-minded pursuit of changing unfair and racially-biased drug laws in favor of more sensible, non-punitive policies has positively changed the social and economic landscape not only of Colorado – where he has lived since graduating from Grinnell – but other states and even countries.”

Jessica Chapman ’99

Read more 2024 Alumni Award Recipient profiles.