Meet Our Legal Experts:
The Armada Law Corp Team

Meet our expert team at Armada Law Corp. With years of experience in Business, Disputes & Litigation, and Cannabis law, we’re here to guide you with integrity and expertise.

Robert Finkle

(Partner & Founder)

James Anthony

(Partner Emeritus)

Drew M. Sanchez

(Senior Counsel)

Amber Smidebush

(Senior Paralegal)


Partner & Founder

Robert Finkle received his Juris Doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and was admitted to practice in the State of California in 2009. He is also admitted to practice in the Northern and Eastern Districts of the Federal District Courts of California.

Robert first began advocating for medical cannabis patients, collectives and cooperatives in 2010 and had early successes using the collective model to defend criminal charges, obtain the return of thousands of dollars in seized medical cannabis goods, and securing authorization from various local jurisdictions for his clients to cultivate, manufacture and dispense medical cannabis.

In 2016, Robert left his long-held position at a private litigation firm, which focused on construction and real estate matters, to open his own office focusing solely on his cannabis business practice. Robert had another round of successes leading up to the legalization of cannabis in California in 2018, including obtaining permitting for one of the first cannabis manufacturing facilities in the State in 2017 and obtaining permitting for several cannabis retail stores in San Francisco. Robert was responsible for corporate, transactional and permitting and licensing matters for the very first Cookies branded retail store, which opened in early 2018 in Maywood, California.

Today Robert represents commercial cannabis companies throughout California at every level of the supply chain on a variety of matters including business organization, licensing and compliance, land use and real estate, commercial transactions, and civil disputes. Mr. Finkle uses his extensive network and experience with the unique issues faced by the cannabis industry to obtain the results his clients seek.


Partner Emeritus

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.


Partner Emeritus

A leading cannabis attorney and political strategist, James is an expert in legal, regulatory and government affairs matters affecting the cannabis industry.

In 2006, James started his private law practice, which was the first in California to specialize in civil and land-use matters related to cannabis. Backed by his experience as Oakland Deputy City Attorney and steeled by his passion for drug-policy activism, James was singularly suited to the task.

From serving on the Board of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, to having written countless winning applications, James has dedicated his career to the cannabis industry. In his book, The Cannabis Manifesto, Harborside founder and industry icon Steve DeAngelo calls James a “brilliant strategist and steadfast advocate, without whom Harborside might never have been licensed.”

James has served on the Board of Directors for CCIA – California Cannabis Industry Association — is a longtime faculty member at Oaksterdam University and, as a practitioner of zen koan meditation since 1980, occasionally teaches at Pacific Zen Institute. His life was forever changed for the better with the birth of his daughter in 2000.


Of Counsel

As an experienced civil litigator, business attorney and business owner, Drew has an intimate understanding of the needs of new and established businesses.

Drew was born and raised in the East Bay Area, where he has been practicing law for the past 12 years. After graduating from Santa Clara University School of Law, he began practicing exclusively in civil litigation in the Fruitvale District of Oakland servicing primarily monolingual clients. This experience presented Drew with the opportunity to really understand legal concepts and break them down to their essential elements. He then transitioned into a top-tier plaintiff’s firm in San Francisco where he became an accomplished civil litigator. After that, he transitioned to an inside counsel role for a California cannabis company. After many years working litigation and business law, Drew has a strong grasp of the different risks that businesses face in California and how to best face these challenges.

Drew started and successfully existed from a licensed cannabis operator based in Oakland. During that time, he gained invaluable experience into the nuts and bolts of running a business, from the sensational to the mundane. This experience serves Drew well in understanding clients’ needs and priorities beyond any specific legal issue.

Drew currently teaches at Oaksterdam University in the Legal Faculty. Drew’s specialty is business law, licensing and compliance, and risk management.

Drew lives in Oakland with his beloved family. He grew up speaking Spanish and has been a long-time advocate for the Latino community in Oakland. He stays sane by playing and performing old-time and folk music in the American tradition and spending as much time in the mountains as opportunity permits.


Senior Paralegal

Amber is a Senior Paralegal and Compliance Specialist. Having already worked in the legal field for several years, Amber obtained her California Paralegal Certification through UC East Bay in 2020. Amber began advocating for medical cannabis access rights in 2013, and from 2014-2017, Amber owned and operated a cannabis delivery business and compassion program in the Tri-Valley. Having extensive knowledge in both legal support and cannabis operations has made her a unique asset to the firm as a compliance specialist. She has assisted cannabis clients in obtaining licensing both at the local and state level, and provided insight and support regarding proper operating procedures in line with current regulations. Amber also co-founded and operates a non-profit social welfare organization in the bay area that serves and supports Veterans Rights, Battered Women and Children, and underserved communities.