The rapid expansion of legal medical and recreational marijuana in numerous states across the U.S. has opened up significant opportunities for new business ventures and investments. But this highly regulated industry is subject to stringent licensing and compliance requirements, impacting such diverse areas as employment, agribusiness, land use, health care and intellectual property law.
Armstrong Teasdale’s Marijuana and Hemp Law practice area has significant experience advising and assisting companies in securing and keeping licenses to cultivate marijuana, manufacture marijuana-infused products, and dispense flower and infused products. The majority of Americans live in states with laws authorizing the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana, and a number of other states have commercial recreational marijuana industries. Almost all the remaining states authorize the production of hemp for commercial, research, or medical purposes, including the manufacture of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat certain medical conditions such as epilepsy. Opportunities in the hemp space have multiplied with the passage of the 2018 federal Farm Bill, which excludes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s definition of marijuana. The United States Department of Agriculture has published rules governing state and federal licenses to lawfully grow hemp.
Along with the potential for new jobs and revenue, these expanding industries present numerous federal and state compliance burdens, which are often implemented through multiple regulatory agencies. In addition to direct regulatory oversight from licensing authorities, Armstrong Teasdale attorneys help clients comply with other regulators in this space, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission. Our attorneys can:
- Prepare and submit competitive applications for business licenses, certifications and permits.
- Assist with legal due diligence, analysis and documentation of investments in medical marijuana businesses.
- Handle legal due diligence, negotiations and preparation of contracts with business owners, banks, insurance companies, vendors and other business partners.
- Assist clients with business organization and business model development.
- Advise clients in closely held business disputes over ownership and corporate control.
- Assist in protecting clients from securities fraud claims using private placement memoranda (PPM) offerings.
- Counsel on intellectual property matters with respect to state trademark applications.
- Lobby and represent our clients’ business interests to elected officials and administrative agencies charged with regulating the industry.
- Handle property leasing or purchasing contract negotiations.
- Secure zoning, land use and other local government approvals.
- Interface with local, state and federal governments on tax, securities and other regulated issues.
- Develop employment contracts, training programs and related policies.
- Provide due diligence and compliance support including facility audits.
- Assist with acquisitions, mergers and joint ventures involving marijuana facilities, enabling portfolio growth across state lines.
- Provide guidance on federal law and state banking regulations, including BSA/AML compliance requirements as they relate to marijuana-related business accounts and ancillary businesses that indirectly work with marijuana licensees.