We help companies stay ahead of legal and regulatory changes so that they can thrive in this emerging market, despite its complex regulatory challenges.

Our approach

Our cannabis clients need trusted legal advisors who can provide guidance on how to comply with complex and fundamentally contradictory federal and local regulations. Although more states are legalizing marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes, cannabis remains illegal under federal law. The burgeoning cannabis industry presents a wealth of opportunity for companies, investors, entrepreneurs and service providers that are able to successfully navigate this unique landscape. Our clients are key participants in an industry that has the potential to spur major economic development opportunities—boosting investment, creating jobs and raising revenue for states and municipalities through sales taxes and licensing fees.

We work with new and existing clients from a broad range of industry segments who see the opportunity of the cannabis market, including strategic companies, financial sponsors, investors, dispensaries, laboratories, marketers, advisors, manufacturers and distributors.

Working across offices, our attorneys leverage their experience in business structuring; commercial transactions; real estate; M&A; tax; intellectual property; local, state and federal laws and regulations; stock exchange listing requirements; dispute resolution; governmental enforcement; employment; health care; private equity; and more to provide a multi-faceted approach that covers every aspect of the sector.

We review, analyze and understand state medical and recreational marijuana laws, and how these laws work within the legal framework, to assist you in complying with existing laws and regulations. In addition to helping cannabis-related businesses get organized and operate successfully, we represent investors and acquirers as they consider and structure their investments in and acquisitions of cannabis-related enterprises and advise on intellectual property matters, including licensing and supply agreements, patents and trademark registration strategies.

Our work is international—we provide advice to the cannabis industry on a global scale.

Who we work with

  • Consumer product companies
  • Food, beverage and agriculture companies
  • Health care and life sciences companies
  • Investors (strategic, family offices, institutional, individuals)
  • Manufacturers
  • Real estate developers
  • Retailers
  • Start-ups
  • Suppliers

Representative Experience

  • Acted as U.S. counsel to an international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits, in a $4 billion investment in a publicly traded Canadian company to create one of the largest players, world-wide, in the legal cannabis market. We also acted as U.S. counsel to this client in its initial investment in the Canadian company in October 2017 when our client acquired a 9.9% stake in the Canadian company.
  • Assisted a health care and research clinic company in understanding how they can be a federal government contractor and open health clinics in CA that incorporate recommendations of cannabis in care treatment protocols.
  • Assisted a California-based start-up that has developed an app that allows users to have medicinal cannabis delivered to their homes. Specifically, we are advising this client on possible violations of federal law, setting up a defense fund with VC funding in case of a subpoena or enforcement action and credit card merchant account agreements.
  • Represented a client investing in a company that grows and distributes medical marijuana. The scope of our work entails reviewing and analyzing state medical marijuana law, federal law and FDA law and advising on marketing claim issues.
  • Represented a U.S. investment firm in a joint venture for formation of a medical cannabis research and development facility in the Czech Republic.
  • Represented a public company in its investment in a marijuana-based cosmetics manufacturer.
  • Represented a health care client in connection with forming an entity to bid for one of the five marijuana distributorships permitted under New York’s medical marijuana law. Our engagement included advising on financing of the new entity and providing regulatory assistance with the New York State Department of Health.
  • Advised a marijuana cultivator on government relations at the state and local levels as it pertains to their business as a medical marijuana cultivator within their community and surrounding communities where they operate medical dispensaries.
  • Represented a joint venture partner in marijuana edibles business in Illinois.
  • Represented a Rhode Island marijuana cultivator with labor and employment matters.
  • Represented an individual in investment/joint venture to manufacture CBD oil (produced from legal industrial grade hemp-infused chocolates and products).

Employer zero-tolerance drug policies put into question

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin | April 25, 2019

Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes associate Laura Bacon authored this article about the issues employers may face related to marijuana use policies and drug testing, as more states pass recreational and medical cannabis laws.

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