As more jurisdictions in the United States legalize the use of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, the U.S. cannabis industry continues to rapidly expand, providing countless business opportunities for industry operators, ancillary businesses, their investors and vendors.
But with many states legalizing cannabis for recreational use and with more than two-thirds of the states legalizing it for medical use, and the federal government still classifying the product as an illegal Schedule 1 drug, cannabis industry players must navigate an ever-changing labyrinth of laws, regulations, policies, and anti-legalization opponents that can stop even the most ambitious and well-run company in its tracks.
The lawyers in Offit Kurman’s Cannabis Industry Group guide cannabis growers, processors, distributors, retailers, and ancillary businesses—and their investors, landlords, and vendors—through this labyrinth so they can achieve their business and social goals with as little risk and disruption to their operations as possible. The group’s multidisciplinary team of lawyers, one of the first full-service, multidisciplinary cannabis law practices on the East Coast, has decades of relevant legal experience in handling the key legal issues cannabis businesses face at every stage of their growth.
Lawyers in our Cannabis Industry Group have advised clients in the following areas of cannabis law, providing creative legal and business counsel that helps those clients achieve their business objectives while complying with their states’ regulatory requirements:
- Acquisitions and dispositions
- Capital raising, including debt
- Corporate entity establishment and governance
- Transaction support for industry mergers, acquisitions, sales of assets, and other business combinations or transactions
- Strategic counseling for multi-state and local operators for expansion plans
- Copyright and trademark protection and enforcement
- Licensing agreements
- Brand selection and analysis
- Patent prosecution and enforcement
- Drafting and negotiating co-existence agreements
- Counseling employers on policies and procedures for the cannabis industry and the use of cannabis by employees
- Disciplinary actions for industry employees
- Acquisition and disposition support (including staving off speculators)
- Licensing and permitting
- Zoning and land use
- Compliance with state requirements
- Developing plans and teams for and drafting state license applications
- License acquisition and transfer
- Representation before state regulatory agencies
- Counseling on ownership transfers and corporate restructuring
- Post-licensing operational guidance
- Counseling for audits, state inspections, and drug investigations
- State and federal advice and planning
In addition to receiving thoughtful and forward-looking legal counsel, our clients benefit from the knowledge, wisdom, and connections the Cannabis Industry Group’s lawyers have developed over the years that they’ve advised cannabis companies.
Our lawyers’ experience in the industry and their relationships with players in it provide our clients access to a wide network of individuals, investors, and companies. Our lawyers have made many relevant introductions for clients looking for investors and other partners that have helped their businesses grow. In addition, our relationships with state regulators may allow for more constructive and less adversarial interactions when our clients seek those regulators’ guidance regarding business structures and operations.
For those cannabis industry players operating in jurisdictions where our lawyers are not licensed to practice, we have developed relationships with other premier cannabis law practices so those players can receive guidance regarding the legal and business problems they are facing in those jurisdictions.
Among the many accomplishments of our Cannabis Industry Group, team members provided essential legal support to obtain required Maryland regulatory approval for the transfer of several licenses affected by a multi-billion dollar business combination. They also facilitated a series of business transactions involving the sale, purchase and combination of integrated cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary businesses. They also served as outside counsel for several ancillary service providers, including industry lenders, brokers, a testing company and a product transportation business. They have also assisted several hemp growers, processors and retail operators on a diverse set of corporate, regulatory and intellectual property protection issues.