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Overview

Among the first national law firms to establish a dedicated Cannabis Practice Group,  Greenspoon Marder is at the forefront of this exciting and rapidly growing industry. We offer flexible and creative solutions to help achieve our clients’ individual goals, and drive success for the cannabis industry as a whole. Our team helps cultivators, retailers, product manufacturers, distributors, and testing facilities, as well as ancillary industry businesses and investors.

Our attorneys know the unique risks and challenges facing the cannabis, medical marijuana and hemp sectors, so we take the time to understand our clients’ products and business objectives.  For many of our clients, the legal and regulatory requirements of cannabis business ownership are their least favorite parts of the job.  We understand, and we work alongside company leadership to create the smoothest path to success.

Helping Cannabis Businesses Navigate a Complex Legal Landscape

With over 30 attorneys focused on the cannabis, medical marijuana and hemp sectors, our Cannabis Practice advises clients from early formation through an exit. We take a creative and proactive approach to the practice of law, enabling our clients to take advantage of the emerging legal developments and industry trends.

Cannabis businesses face unique challenges and opportunities in this fast-paced, highly regulated industry. Some of our attorneys have been involved in the marijuana industry since its earliest days of legalization, and we have been through the business lifecycle with many companies across the United States. We take a holistic view of a client’s business, focusing not just on the immediate needs around tax and regulatory issues, but also on long term strategy as it relates to corporate planning, real estate best practices, and IP needs. What’s more, having had a dedicated cannabis practice since 2016, we have created and nurtured a network of marijuana industry executives, investors and advocates around the world. We take pride in carefully connecting our network in ways that make sense for the parties involved and for the industry as a whole.

Meet the Team
Sub-Practices
  • Corporate

    We provide a full range of corporate services to our cannabis clients, including:

    • Corporate Finance and Securities Transactions
    • Mergers, Acquisitions and Dispositions
    • Joint Ventures and Strategic Alliances
    • Restructuring and Workouts
    • Private Equity and Venture Capital Fund Formation and Governance
    • Complex Commercial Agreements
    • Corporate Entity Formation and Corporate Governance

    Corporate Finance and Securities Transactions

    Growing companies require growth capital, and cannabis ventures are no exception.  Our cannabis group has significant experience with all types of financing transactions, including private placements of debt, equity and convertible/hybrid securities, leveraged recapitalizations, public offerings and reverse mergers or reverse takeovers (RTOs).  Our attorneys have participated in private and public financing transactions in all major industries, including the rapidly growing legal cannabis industry, from the “seed” or angel stage to the venture capital, and private equity stage to later stage liquidity events including public offerings and RTOs.

    Mergers, Acquisitions and Dispositions

    Cannabis companies are engaging in M&A transactions at an increasing rate.  Our cannabis law practice group has participated in a significant number of M&A transactions, both public and private, from the smallest “mom and pop” transactions to the largest of institutional transactions.  Our team of attorneys have observed the rapidly increasing sophistication of M&A transactions in the cannabis space and have the experience both in cannabis and other industries to handle even the most sophisticated transactions in the cannabis space.

    Joint Ventures and Strategic Alliances

    As cannabis clients grow, many are finding strategic opportunities that are best pursued through a joint venture or strategic alliance rather than an outright acquisition or disposition.  Our team of attorneys have structured highly complex joint ventures and strategic alliance transactions both domestically and cross-border, and we are seeing an increasing number of these types of transactions in the cannabis space.

    Private Equity and Venture Capital Fund Formation and Governance

    As the cannabis industry has grown in size and scale, a group of institutional investors has entered the cannabis space.  Our attorneys have experience with and have recently been tasked with forming private equity and venture capital fund vehicles, and related management and advisory entities, to assist these clients in raising funds and deploying those funds in the cannabis industry.

    Restructurings and Workouts

    As cannabis companies grow, it occasionally becomes necessary to restructure certain of their financial obligations.  Restructuring the obligations of a cannabis client can pose unique challenges.  Our cannabis law practice group is called upon to advise both debtors and creditors in the cannabis space in the restructuring of these obligations

    Complex Commercial Agreements

    Cannabis as an industry is growing very fast, and our clients are increasingly turning to us for assistance in structuring complex commercial transactions among cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, vendors and other service providers.  Our team of attorneys are often able to draw from their analogous experience in other industries to craft agreements to meet the clients’ commercial needs.

    Corporate Entity Formation and Corporate Governance

    Good corporate hygiene is the backbone of any high growth company – particularly in the cannabis industry.  Our experienced attorneys can help your business, no matter what the size, build and maintain a strong corporate foundation. Having a solid corporate foundation that evolves with the company is one of the most important things a business can do. Our attorneys advise cannabis companies on their day-to-day operations as well as on their most sophisticated transactions. We are backed by the resources of a full-service national law firm with over 240 lawyers in all areas related to the cannabis industry.

    We help create and execute growth strategies for our clients, including business formation, raising capital, tax strategies and more. Our goal is to truly understand each client’s vision and provide support and guidance to get there.

  • Tax and 280E

    Cannabis businesses face tax challenges that no other businesses operating in the United States face, which is why it is imperative that companies seek legal counsel with an experienced marijuana business attorney. IRC §280E prevents businesses that are engaged in “drug trafficking,” including marijuana, from taking regular business deductions. §280E forces cannabis businesses to use specific accounting methods, makes them more likely to be audited and significantly raises the potential tax liability for cannabis operators. The experienced lawyers in the Greenspoon Marder Cannabis Law Practice can help you navigate through the tax issues your cannabis-related business will most certainly face.

    Our firm can help with:

    • Corporate structuring and entity formation
    • §280E guidance, accounting methods and cost of goods sold decision-making
    • State, local and IRS audits
    • White collar and tax crime representation
    • Tax controversy
    • Tax Court litigation

     

    Until Congress acts on §280E and excludes marijuana businesses from this limitation, it remains one of the biggest challenges that operators face. It is extremely important to be thoughtful from a tax perspective about how your corporate structure, understand clearly how to operate under §280E and have an experienced marijuana business attorney on your team if your business is audited or you are contacted by the IRS or other taxing authorities.

  • Advocacy and Lobbying

    As a Greenspoon Marder wholly-owned subsidiary, The Liaison Group, DC’s only lobbying firm focused exclusively on the cannabis industry, works to preserve state-approved cannabis programs and to remove barriers to the industry at the federal level. The Liaison Group advocates for clients who believe that an industry committed to compliance – via sound regulatory frameworks that address finance and banking, manufacturing practices, labeling and packaging, as well as inventory and security measures – will create a prosperous environment for all stakeholders.

    Services

    Government Relations & Lobbying

    TLG ensures our cannabis clients’ voices and values are heard and understood by federal lawmakers. By understanding the short, medium and long term impacts of pending legislation and policy for the industry, TLG serves its clients as their “eyes and ears” inside the beltway. TLG’s strategic advantage is that we have “boots on the ground” experience with decision-makers and policy influencers throughout the federal government. 

    Strategic Planning & Consulting

    Successfully and effectively communicating a message begins with a thoughtful, targeted and comprehensive plan. TLG works closely with every client to ensure that their organization’s vision aligns with their government affairs and public policy initiatives to ultimately support their strategic goals.

    Learn more at https://www.theliaisongroup.com/

  • Hemp & CBD

    On December 20, 2018 the President signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“Farm Bill”).  This law is groundbreaking because it removes hemp (containing less than 0.3% THC) from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act. The FDA will now have an expanded role in regulating these products and hemp – including CBD – will be subject to the same regulations and requirements as other non-cannabis FDA-regulated products.

    As the industry navigates and creates this “new normal” regulatory environment, it is more important than ever to have experienced legal advisors on your team. Greenspoon Marder attorneys and affiliates in our D.C. office are speaking weekly, if not daily, with the offices at the federal agencies (and Members of Congress and Committee staff) seeking clarification of the issues and timeline for implementing the hemp provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill. We share our knowledge freely with clients and industry participants through blogs and media outlets.

  • FDA

    Hemp and hemp-derived CBD companies regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) understand that qualified strategic advisors are critical to their success. The Greenspoon Marder FDA practice provides comprehensive legal services to companies subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), the Public Health Service Act,  the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and related federal and state laws. Our team is extremely well connected to FDA legislative initiatives and counsels clients across the nation regarding advocacy advice on FDA policy, legislative matters and governmental affairs.

    We support hemp clients through the regulatory life cycle of their products including food, pet/animal food, ingredients and food contact/packaging.  We work with risk assessment experts, scientists and technical advisors for an integrated solution.

    Greenspoon Marder attorneys can help with:

    • Research and commercial agreements
    • GRAS and NDI ingredients
    • FSMA  compliance
    • FDA-enforcement action
    • Manufacturing compliance (GMPs)
    • Post-market compliance counseling
    • Pre-market approval and clearance strategies
    • Product labeling, advertising and promotional approaches
    • Recalls

    We work in varied industries across the nation with businesses including:

    • Manufacturers
    • Investors
    • Distributors
    • Retailers
    • Researchers & Developers
    • Suppliers
    • Trade Associations
    • Medical Centers & Health Care Providers
    • Vendors and Independent Contractors
    • Non-Profit and Patient Advocacy Organizations
  • Employment Law

    Just like traditional businesses, cannabis businesses need advice and help with employment related issues. Greenspoon Marder’s employment lawyers can help cannabis businesses navigate the myriad of state and federal employment laws to ensure that employees are safe and compliant and to prevent unnecessary liability on behalf of the employer. Having happy and well managed leadership and employees is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business.

    Whether you are running an established business or just launching our lawyers can help you with a wide range of employment issues including:

    • Employee handbooks
    • Employment and independent contractor agreements
    • Non-compete and non-disclosure agreements
    • Employment litigation
    • Workman’s compensation claims
    • OSHA, BOLI and other agency complaints
    • Wrongful discharge and termination claims
    • Staff and employee trainings
    • Sexual harassment claims
    • Separation agreements and claims release
    • Cannabis related investigations and employee incidents
    • Disciplinary proceeding and HR guidance

    Our cannabis employment attorneys work with clients on pro-active compliance, liability mitigation, crisis management, and dispute resolution. We counsel our clients on the implementation of employment policies and practices that help protect against potential claims and/or violations; and, when necessary, we draw upon the extensive experience of our Litigation Practice Group to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients.

  • Intellectual Property

    In the cannabis industry, intellectual property protection is often one of the most critical – and most overlooked – competitive advantages. Greenspoon Marder’s intellectual property attorneys work with clients throughout the nation on patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets. We leverage our diverse backgrounds in business, science, technology and the law with an in-depth understanding of intellectual property rights to help our clients succeed in today’s increasingly competitive cannabis marketplace.

    Until marijuana is legal at the federal and state level, obtaining federal trademark protection for cannabis-related goods and services will continue to have its challenges. It is critical for business owners to consult with experienced attorneys who can advise on the most strategic and cost-effective options. In some cases, it may be advisable to pursue state trademark protections only, which, along with common law rights, afford some protection of a company’s brand. In other cases, U.S. trademark registration is advisable.

    Fortunately for cannabis companies, marijuana’s Schedule 1 status is not relevant to patentability. There are currently a wide range of patents and applications on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database, including cannabis plants, products, extraction and processing methods, consumption devices, methods of medical cannabis use, and more.

    Similarly, marijuana’s Schedule 1 status is not relevant to protection of trade secrets or copyrights either. Each of these types of intellectual property can be used to protect your company.

    Our intellectual property attorneys can help you evaluate and secure the right type of protection, and are skilled in:

    • Trademark registration, protection and enforcement
    • Patent litigation
    • Patent prosecution
    • Copyright registration, protection and enforcement
    • Trade secret protection and disputes
    • Domain name registration and disputes
    • IP audits
    • IP asset due diligence
    • Trademark licensing
    • Technology licensing
  • Real Estate

    Cannabis Attorneys Helping Marijuana Businesses With Property Purchases and Leases

    Greenspoon Marder’s cannabis attorneys can help you and your business through every stage of a cannabis real estate transaction. If you are a cannabis business, you will need real estate legal help. Whether it’s negotiating a lease or purchasing property, our marijuana law firm can help you navigate the unique real estate issues facing cannabis businesses including:

    • Due diligence on property feasibility
    • Standard due diligence
    • Cannabis specific lease provisions and lease negotiations
    • Understanding water and power availability
    • Historic easements and neighbor relations
    • Title and deed review
    • Real estate values for existing operations

    Land Use

    One of the most interesting and dynamic components of a cannabis business is picking the correct location. Because licensing is almost always attached to the property, it is crucial that you ensure your property is licensable, has the appropriate water rights, is zoned correctly and that you can get local government sign-off. An experienced cannabis business attorney at Greenspoon Marder Cannabis Law Group can help in a myriad of ways including:

    • Local government licensing and land use hearing
    • Appearances in front of land use boards
    • Vetting property for suitability
    • All types of land use applications
    • Determining and obtaining water rights
    • Work collaboratively with local governments to help achieve land use permits
    • Contest land use decisions
    • Change of use and zoning changes
  • Litigation

    An experienced lawyer at our firm can assist cannabis businesses facing litigation. For more than 35 years, Greenspoon Marder has provided skilled representation for a wide range of businesses and industries, including cannabis businesses. Our trial attorneys have a proven track record in resolving all types of business disputes, representing clients as plaintiffs and defendants in civil, commercial, and complex commercial litigation matters, both in state and federal courts and at the trial and appellate levels.

    Our experienced litigation team has argued cases before judges and juries in state and federal courts throughout the United States, in matters that are local, national and international in scope and involving a broad spectrum of cannabis specific legal issues.

    How Our Cannabis Law Firm Can Help You

    Because of complication federal legalization issues, cannabis litigation poses very specific challenges that our marijuana business lawyers work to navigate including:

    • Business and partner disputes
    • Breach of contract
    • Landlord/tenant disputes
    • Civil racketeering
    • Copyright and trademark disputes
    • Cannabis license violations and revocations

    Contact a Cannabis Litigator Today

    Greenspoon Marder’s cannabis litigators focus on keeping clients out of the courtroom. We pro-actively counsel business clients on ways to resolve disputes without the necessity of litigation and how to avoid future business disputes. However, when trial proves necessary, our team of attorneys is aggressive, experienced, and skilled in the courtroom, whether facing judge or jury. At Greenspoon Marder we stand by our clients from start to finish, guiding them through all facets of the case.

  • Licensing & Compliance

    Licensing

    In the states with recreational cannabis legalization that allow some form of commercial activity, licenses to operate are required. Many states have open application programs that are considered noncompetitive, like California and Oregon, while other states have only a small number of licenses to operate being issued.

    Our cannabis licensing team has filed thousands of applications in both competitive and noncompetitive states. By having dedicated drafting teams and institutional application experience, our licensing lawyers can help you submit the best possible application.

    Because of Greenspoon Marder’s cross disciplinary approach our cannabis practice group can also provide assistance with all parts of the application and back end legal work including real estate, land use and corporate formation.

    Compliance

    Because of the contradictions between state legalization and federal law, running a compliant cannabis business is extremely important. Our compliance attorneys across the country specialize in keeping your business safe and operating according to state law and agency rules.

    Our attorneys, by being engaged in rule making and policy discussions in each state we practice, work hard to be consistently on top of the ever-changing rules cannabis businesses must follow. Greenspoon Marder’s commitment to policy work allows us to communicate quickly and effectively about new changes and to make sure that those changes make practical sense when applied.

    We provide a wide range of compliance services including:

    • Local government compliance
    • Compliance audits
    • Inspection readiness walkthroughs
    • Compliance education services
    • Employee and staff training
    • Coordination with contractors and service providers
    • Representation at license violation and revocation hearings
    • Rules updates
    • Advocacy at state and local hearings
    • Representation at state legislative hearings

    Running a compliant cannabis business can feel daunting but our attorneys are here to help. With onsite visits to written operating procedures to legislative updates, our attorneys are constantly striving to keep your business compliant and informed.


*Disclaimer: The materials found in this site are for general informational purposes only and are not for the purpose of providing legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts or circumstances. Though certain individual state constitutions and related marijuana codes and associated regulations allow medical and recreational marijuana businesses, marijuana sales, marijuana cultivation, and marijuana possession by certain qualified individuals and businesses, the sale, cultivation, use, and distribution of marijuana remains ILLEGAL under Federal law.

News & Videos

News

Videos

Publications
Cannabis Blog

Harborside Section 280E appeal filed in Ninth Circuit


Cannabis May 27, 2020 New York, NY Read More

US House of Representatives Includes SAFE Banking Act In New Economic Stimulus Bill


Cannabis May 12, 2020 Washington, D.C., Read More

This Year for 4/20: Socialize Distantly


Cannabis Apr 20, 2020 Denver, CO Read More

Florida Moves Forward With Hemp Cultivation Despite COVID-19


Cannabis Apr 17, 2020 Read More

Cannabis Businesses and the CARES Act Employee Retention Credit


Cannabis Apr 14, 2020 New York, NY Read More

COLORADO MED EMERGENCY RULES – UPDATE


Cannabis Apr 8, 2020 Denver, CO Read More

More Cannabis Tax Audits on the Way


Cannabis Apr 3, 2020 Read More
Media & Press

Media & Press

Greenspoon Marder LLP and our practitioners have been included among the ongoing news coverage in the cannabis industry in the following outlets:

  • 420 Meta
  • 5280 Magazine
  • Above the Law
  • American Lawyer
  • BBC World News
  • Bigger Law Firm Magazine
  • Bloomberg Law
  • The Bulletin
  • Business Insider
  • Cannabis Business Times
  • Cannabis Industry Journal
  • Cannabis Law Journal
  • Cannabis Law Report
  • Cannabusiness.com
  • The Cannabist
  • The Cannifornian
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Complex Magazine
  • Culture Magazine
  • The Daily Beast
  • Daily Business Journal
  • Daily Business Review
  • Daily Journal
  • Denver Business Journal
  • The Denver Post
  • Dope Magazine
  • Entrepreneur
  • Florida Politics
  • Florida Watchdog
  • Forbes
  • Fortune
  • Fox Business
  • Fox News
  • The Fresh Toast
  • GFarma.news
  • HighLife
  • High Times
  • The Hill
  • Independent Cannabis
  • Law.com
  • Law 360
  • Law Week Colorado
  • Litigation Finance Journal
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Marijuana Business Daily
  • Marijuana Investor News
  • Marijuana Times
  • Marijuana Venture
  • Medigrow
  • Merry Jane
  • Miami Herald
  • MJ News Network
  • MSNBC News
  • National Law Journal
  • National Law Review
  • NBC News
  • Newsweek
  • NJTV News
  • The Oregonian
  • Orlando Business Journal
  • Portland Business Journal
  • The Recorder
  • Sacramento Business Journal
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • Self Made Cannabis Company
  • South Florida Business Journal
  • South Florida Business & Wealth
  • STAT News
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal
  • Times Standard
  • USA Today
  • US News and World Report
  • Vegas Legal
  • Vice
  • Wall Street Journal
  • WeedWorthy
  • Zagat