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).

It's High Time that Albany Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Crain’s New York | January 01, 2021

This op-ed by Cannabis practice co-leader and Rochester Corporate partner Lori Green, which published the same day that adult recreational use of cannabis in New Jersey became legal, makes the case for New York State to close the gap by discussing the benefits of job creation, tax revenue, and racial and social justice reform.

Novel challenge emerges for denials of PPP forgiveness

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | November 25, 2020

This article—covering challenges that some businesses, including indirect marijuana businesses, could face as they apply to have PPP loans forgiven—quotes Boston Complex Commercial Disputes partner Morgan Nighan on borrowers’ potential legal argument that loan forgiveness denials are based on SBA guidance that is unlawful because it conflicts with language of the CARES Act.

Cannabis legalized in New Jersey — Is New York next?

Cannabis Business Executive | November 25, 2020

On the heels of New Jersey’s vote to legalize cannabis, Rochester Corporate partner and Cannabis practice co-leader Lori Green, New York City Complex Commercial Disputes associate Catherine Savio, and Rochester Corporate associate Brandon Coyle wrote this contributed article on potential side effects for neighboring New York and actions for businesses anticipating legalization in the Empire State.

No Worker's Comp for Medical Marijuana, SJC Rules

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | November 04, 2020

This article, covering the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision that a workers’ comp insurer could not be required to reimburse for medical marijuana expenses, quotes Cannabis practice co-leader and Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Rob Fisher on the issue of forcing an industry to get involved in something that’s illegal at the federal level.

Mass. Pot Co. Says Regulator Sat On Application for Months

Law360 | September 21, 2020

Manchester Government Investigations & White-Collar Defense partner Mark Knights is quoted in this article on a Massachusetts marijuana dispensary’s lawsuit alleging the state’s Cannabis Control Commission has failed to take action on the dispensary’s license application for nearly three times the 90-day prescribed turnaround time. The article mentions Mark and Boston Government Investigations & White-Collar Defense associate Charles Dell’Anno for representing the dispensary, Northeast Alternatives.

On High Alert: Running a Retail Business in the Age of the COVID Pandemic

Marijuana Venture | August 10, 2020

San Francisco partner Alison Torbitt, who co-leads NP’s Food, Beverage & Agribusiness team, and San Francisco Labor & Employment associate Hilary Baca co-wrote this contributed article on how cannabis retailers can revamp their stores and policies to stay in compliance with state and local laws, while helping to prevent the spread of communicable illnesses to customers and employees.

Experts advise on how businesses should plan for eventual legalization of recreational marijuana

Rochester Business Journal | August 07, 2020

In its “Business of Cannabis” special report on recreational marijuana, the Rochester Business Journal extensively quotes Cannabis practice co-leader and Rochester Corporate partner Lori Green in two articles for her outlook on legalized recreational use and the potential positive economic impact to businesses, both local and statewide.

Legalization of recreational cannabis likely coming down the pike for NY

Rochester Business Journal | August 07, 2020

In its “Business of Cannabis” special report on recreational marijuana, the Rochester Business Journal extensively quotes Cannabis practice co-leader and Rochester Corporate partner Lori Green in two articles for her outlook on legalized recreational use and the potential positive economic impact to businesses, both local and statewide.

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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