Our Cannabis team helps clients address complex legal issues and navigate current and pending federal, state, and local laws and regulations as the cannabis industry rapidly expands in the United States.
Clients operating in this emerging industry face unique issues while cannabis remains prohibited at the federal level. Our experienced team helps businesses, investors, and individuals in the fast-moving medical and adult-use sectors find solutions for these issues every step of the way. We tailor teams for each client’s unique needs, drawing on the capabilities of lawyers and lobbyists across the firm who focus on state and federal regulatory advice, corporate (from formation, financings and through to exit), tax structuring, licensing, litigation, insurance consulting and recovery, and beyond.
We help guide clients through various cannabis-related issues, including:
- Purchasing and selling licenses and licensed entities;
- Tax planning and structuring of exit transactions and reorganizations;
- Counselling clients on cannabis applications in New Jersey;
- Formation, debt and equity financings for cannabis companies;
- Providing regulatory advice to companies interested in entering the cannabis market and guiding existing cannabis companies through shifting legal and public policy issues;
- Advising cannabis companies and their owners on all facets of business and tax planning;
- Real estate issues with landlords (including, negotiating transactions whereby an applicant automatically will enter into a lease agreement upon the successful submission of a cannabis license application and conversion of a sublease to a direct lease in connection with an exit);
- Representing a cannabis branding company in a trademark dispute with another cannabis company; and
- Assisting a celebrity client by drafting licensing agreements for the celebrity to license his/her likeness to a California cannabis company to be used in product retail.
Our lawyers regularly analyse and advise on state and federal laws, regulations, and legislative proposals impacting the growth of the cannabis industry, and our team keeps clients informed on the risks and opportunities affecting their businesses. Several of our lawyers serve on the state bar committees, where they helped create commentary to legislatures on the proposed language of cannabis legalization bills. A member of our team served as front office counsel to a governor while the state embarked on an ambitious expansion of its medical marijuana program, bringing hands-on regulatory and legislative experience.
Disclaimer: Several states have decriminalized the possession, sale, and distribution of marijuana by individuals and entities that have obtained appropriate licensure from the state. Businesses and individuals should be aware that conduct decriminalized by states remains illegal under federal law, including but not limited to the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq. Using, possessing, distributing or selling marijuana is illegal under federal law, regardless of any state law, and those doing so face certain risks and may be subject to a federal criminal prosecution. If convicted, the penalties may include a significant prison term, fine or both. Moreover, without pursuing a criminal prosecution, the federal government can seize, and seek the civil forfeiture of, the real or personal property used to facilitate the sale of marijuana as well as the money or other proceeds. Any information or legal advice provided by us is designed to counsel clients regarding the existing or proposed cannabis law. No information or advice we may give is intended to provide any guidance or assistance in violating federal law. Businesses and individuals should be cognizant that activities in this sector of the economy will continue to put them at some risk until the state and federal dichotomy is resolved.