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, venture capital and emerging growth companies, corporate transactions, intellectual property, licensing, tax, litigation, insurance consulting and recovery, and beyond.
We help guide clients through various cannabis-related issues, including:
- Purchasing a membership interest in an entity currently holding an operational cannabis retail license in California
- Advice regarding the sale of a group of cannabis retail licenses to a prospective purchaser
- Counseling clients on the impending new round of cannabis applications in New Jersey
- Formulating a corporate ownership structure for a cannabis enterprise
- Participating in negotiations with landlords related to contingency agreements under which an applicant automatically will enter into a lease agreement upon the successful submission of a cannabis license application
- Representing a cannabis branding company in a trademark dispute with another cannabis company
- Advising cannabis companies and their owners on all facets of business and tax planning, including forming, operating, and transferring cannabis-related businesses
- Providing regulatory advice to companies interested in entering the cannabis market and guiding existing cannabis companies through shifting legal and public policy issues
- Representing business and property owners in converting their existing sublease with a cannabis grower to a direct lease between the grower tenant and the owners of the property in Nevada as part of the sale of the business
The firm’s Food & Drug Law lawyers regularly analyze 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.