Instructor Spotlight: Nicole Li

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Instructor Spotlight: Nicole Li | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Challenge Your Perspective

Instructor Nicole Li | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationAs the cannabis industry in Washington state evolves, the legal considerations for everyone it touches -- from health care providers to retailers to patients, and more -- need to remain in focus. And, as it transitions from an illegal industry to a legal one, thinking through and establishing the standards and ethics that will guide it is an important part of its success.

Attorney and Cannabis Institute instructor Nicole Li is uniquely qualified to provide that guidance. With a background in philosophy and bioethics, she blends her legal know-how with her understanding of the health care industry to work with businesses in the Cannabis Industry as they navigate these new waters.

We asked her to share more about her background and interests, as well as her answer to the all-important question: A tiger tail, or tiger stripes?

What classes do you teach for Seattle Central?

I am part of the Medical Marijuana Consultant Certificate Program.

I also designed a 5-hour continuing education course, Law & Ethics for Medical Marijuana Consultants.

How long have you been teaching?

In 1996, I was given a Teaching Assistantship at the University of Washington's philosophy department.

From 1996-1999, I taught at the UW during the school year and at the Northwest School during the summer.

At the Northwest School, I designed and taught creative writing, arts and crafts, logic, and an introduction to philosophy using Twilight Zone episodes.

I've been teaching with Seattle Central's Cannabis Institute since 2016.

What's your educational & professional background?

I graduated from Mercer Island High School and went to Brown University for undergrad.

I attended graduate school at the University of Washington, where I received an MA in philosophy.

I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law school, while also getting another Master's in Bioethics from Penn.

One day I'll finish a Ph.D., possibly in some aspect of cannabis and public policy.

I'm the founder of the Li Law Firm, which focuses on the legal and regulatory aspects of health care industry.

What other kind of life experience do you have that influences what and how you teach?

Traveling -- specifically, international travel, and as cheap as possible.

What do you enjoy the most about teaching your classes at Seattle Central?

The questions students ask.  It is easy to view the world from one's own perspective, so it's great when someone asks a question that requires a different lens.

Tell us about an inspirational learning moment.

I was really shy in college. I never raised my hand, and if I got called on, I would flush bright red, it was awful.

When I got into philosophy grad school, I was given a Teaching Assistantship, which meant that I had to teach four classes per week of symbolic logic. The first time, I had an out of body experience. I was up near the ceiling, in the back of the class, and I could see myself standing in front of the whiteboard, talking through a problem as I wrote it out. I remember being amazed that I was talking, and wondered what I was saying. In that moment, I realized that I could be a teacher; and once the terror subsided, it was a lot of fun.

The best way to further your own knowledge is to have it challenged by honest questions from students. There's no skating by! The energy of active learning is a rush.

Would you rather have a tiger tail or tiger stripes?

Tail, definitely. It'd be a new experience -- I've worn stripes!

Nicole's Favorites


  • Dostoyevsky, anything he's written. Everything in the world is in one of his books, in some form. They are super long, after all, but he covers so much.


  • The Phoenix Foundation and Fat Freddy's Drop, both from New Zealand.


  • In general, I'm interested in going literally anyplace I haven't been before. Iceland and Russia are high on my list of places to travel. In terms of going back to places, definitely southern Africa. I love Zimbabwe.

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