Nixon Peabody formally establishes global cannabis practice amid rapid industry expansion

December 03, 2019

Senior Manager, Media Relations
Nicholas Braude

With the cannabis industry rapidly maturing and an increasing number of U.S. states approving medical and recreational use, Nixon Peabody is officially launching a dedicated Cannabis practice, helping clients around the globe navigate the industry’s evolving legal framework.

While the firm has been practicing in this area for several years, a confluence of factors prompted Nixon Peabody to formally establish the Cannabis practice. These include the 2018 farm bill legalizing the production of non-psychoactive hemp, the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, and shifting tides in the federal government in addition to the continued changes in state laws.

The increased focus at Nixon Peabody builds on the firm’s deep industry experience and comprises attorneys from several practice areas such as corporate, tax, government investigations and white collar defense, labor and employment, intellectual property, real estate, and franchising. The firm’s recent industry work has included:

  • Serving as U.S. counsel to one of the largest global producers and marketers of beer, wine, and spirits, in its $4 billion investment in a publicly traded Canadian company to create one of the largest players, world-wide, in the legal cannabis market;
  • Advising marijuana cultivators on government relations at the state and local levels as it pertains to their businesses within their communities;
  • Assisting a health care and research clinic company understand how it could become a federal government contractor and open health clinics in California that incorporate recommendations of cannabis in care treatment protocols; and
  • Representing a U.S. investment firm in a joint venture for the formation of a medical cannabis research and development facility in the Czech Republic.

“The cannabis industry landscape continues to expand, and our firm is ideally positioned to help clients explore opportunities in the space,” said Lori Green, co-leader of Nixon Peabody’s M&A and Corporate Transactions team. “Our practice thrives on the dynamic complexion of the industry, staying ahead of legal and regulatory changes.”

In addition to helping cannabis-related businesses get organized and operate successfully, Nixon Peabody represents investors and acquirers as they consider and structure their investments in and acquisitions of cannabis-related enterprises.

“With skyrocketing investment across the cannabis industry, our clients provide a secondary benefit of raising revenue for states and municipalities through sales taxes and licensing fees,” noted Brian Mahoney, a Nixon Peabody partner-elect who focuses on corporate and transactional tax matters. “Despite numerous complex regulatory challenges, we see opportunities across the cannabis industry ecosystem for governments and private entities alike.”

The firm also advises on intellectual property matters, including licensing and supply agreements, patents and trademark registration strategies, and governmental enforcement.

“Since cannabis remains illegal under federal law in the United States, we prioritize governmental enforcement and dispute resolution among our cannabis-related services,” said Robert Fisher, partner-elect in Nixon Peabody’s Government Investigations and White Collar Defense practice as well as a former federal prosecutor. “We understand how federal, state, and local agencies and regulators approach and prosecute cases.”

Visit our website at for representative experience and additional information on our firm’s approach with cannabis clients.

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