Dentons is perhaps best known for helping cannabis industry companies achieve a public listing, though the team also provides top-notch advice on risk mitigation, compliance, transactional work and litigation arising in the area. Leveraging an expansive geographic reach, the firm is well placed to advise on strategy counseling, corporate matters and M&A, and myriad regulatory issues affecting the cannabis industry. Eric Berlin is a leading cannabis law authority, focused on assisting state-legal cannabis industries navigate the tensions with federal law. Berlin jointly leads the Chicago-based multidisciplinary team with Kathryn Ashton, a national tax-exempt finance lawyer, who represents underwriters, lenders and borrowers in secured and unsecured financings. Another name to note in the team is associate Joanne Caceres, who is a member of the firm’s healthcare group and advises on counseling and compliance matters.
Cannabis in United States
Eric Berlin; Kathryn Ashton
Other key lawyers:
Joanne Caceres; Lauren Estevez; Zachary Moskowitz
Cura Partners Inc.
Green Thumb Industries
Devi Holdings Inc.
Ascend Wellness Corp.
Bright Green Corp.
Akerna (MJ Freeway)
GSW Creative Corp. (dosist)
Scotts Miracle-Gro/Hawthorne Gardening Co.
Flat Planet Holdings
Green Globe Data (Belushi’s Farm)
UL Holdings (Urbn Leaf)
Grace Executive Services (Dark Heart Nursery)
Northern Swan Holdings (Clever Leaves)
OrganiGram Holdings, Inc.
- Advised Cura Partners Inc. on its sale to Curaleaf.
- Represented Green Thumb Industries in its acquisition of Integral Associates, LLC.
- Represents Devi Holdings Inc. in the majority its legal work.
Acting for plant-touching clients, distributors, operators and investors, Goodwin is a go-to practice providing comprehensive legal support in the cannabis space. On the transactional side, the group’s work includes company and investor funding transactions, fund formation, M&A and licensing. It also stands out in regulatory work, and has notable expertise in regulation related to the use of hemp and CBD, and also advises on medical and recreational regulations in states across the country. As for litigation, the practice group has particular strengths in securities, IP and consumer class action cases. Also of note, the firm has played a leading role in the Last Prisoner Project and has submitted motions for compassionate release under the federal First Step Act, for prisoners incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses. The team is jointly led by Boston-based David Apfel, who focuses on corporate, regulatory and litigation matters; Jennifer Fisher in San Francisco, who joined in 2020 from Duane Morris LLP and is co-founder of Women Leaders in Cannabis; William Growney in Silicon Valley, who represents investors and cannabis companies in transactions; and Brett Schuman, who works from the San Francisco office and has particular strength in cannabis-related regulatory and litigation matters. IP litigator Nicholas Costanza is a standout associate in the San Francisco office.
David Apfel; Jennifer Fisher; Bill Growney; Brett Schuman
Other key lawyers:
Nicholas Costanza; Barzin Pakandam
Cowen and Company LLC
Gotham Green Partners
Green Bits, Inc.
Harvest Health & Recreation
KIVA Brands Inc.
Pax Labs, Inc.
- Represented popular vape maker Pax Labs, Inc. in its $420m capital raise that closed on April 20, 2019.
- Representing Gotham Green Partners, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm focused on deploying capital into cannabis and cannabis-related enterprises, with respect to its $100m+ debt investment into iAnthus, a multi-state cannabis operator.
- Represents the syndicate of underwriters, led by Cowen and Company, LLC, for the August 2019 IPO of Sundial Growers, Inc., a Canadian cannabis company, in parallel securities class actions in New York Supreme Court and the US District Court for the Southern District of New York relating to its $143m IPO.
Duane Morris LLP
Acting for central and ancillary cannabis industry clients, Duane Morris LLP stands out for its broad practice in the area, with regular activity in matters ranging from financings, M&A and joint ventures, to litigation, tax and regulatory issues. Publicly-traded companies, private funds, family offices and high-net worth individuals are among the team’s core clients. Seth Goldberg in Philadelphia advises on cannabis related deals and cases for growers, processors, dispensaries and infused-product manufacturers, as well as real estate developers, universities and university research centers. He co-leads the team with Tracy Gallegos in Las Vegas, whose broad practice covers corporate, real estate, cannabis, sport and entertainment law; and Cherry Hill-based Paul Josephson, who handles constitutional and regulatory litigation. Jennifer Fisher joined Goodwin in April 2020.
Seth Goldberg; Tracy Gallegos; Paul Josephson
Other key lawyers:
Nanette Heide; Michael Schwamm; David Landau
‘My key contact is Michael Schwamm. His team is excellent and very knowledgeable regarding cannabis matters.’
‘Michael Schwamm is a leader in the group and provides excellent and prompt advice.’
iAnthus Capital Management
Green Thumb Industries
Harborside (CSE: BUDD)
Devine Hunter, Inc. / Devine Holdings, LLC and Harvest Enterprises, Inc. (Harvest Health & Recreation Inc.) (CSE: HARV) (OTCQX: HRVSF)
Jushi Holdings Inc. (CSE:JSH) (OTCMKTS: JUSHF)
- Represented iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. which owns, operates, and partners with regulated cannabis operations across the US, as US Counsel for a comprehensive strategic review process culminating in a proposed recapitalization transaction, as well as provide interim financing of $14m.
- Served as cannabis regulatory counsel for Monroe Capital’s $50m credit facility to KushCo, a premier producer of ancillary products and services to the cannabis and hemp industries.
- Represented FLRish, Inc. d/b/a Harborside, a private vertically integrated California cannabis company, in its reverse takeover of Canada-based Lineage Grow Company (CSE:BUDD); their combined value exceeds $250m, and the transaction enabled FLRish to complete an inversion transaction and a contemporaneous private placement Regulation S offering.
Jenner & Block LLP
Jenner & Block LLP is known for representing top cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary companies based in the US and Canada. The practice group has experience advising on corporate matters, M&A, securities, licensing issues, tax, anti-money laundering, trademark disputes and clearance, as well as litigation, particularly class actions. The group also has recognized expertise in assessing business risks under federal cannabis-related laws. Martin Glass focuses on US-Canada cross-border transactions. He co-leads the team from New York with Stephen Ascher, who is also co-chair of the firm’s securities litigation practice group and represents client in disputes with minority investors and busted M&A counterparts.
Martin Glass; Stephen Ascher
Other key lawyers:
Geoffrey Davis; Wade Thomson; Andrew Vail
‘The Jenner team has made a lot of progress over the past few years in the cannabis industry. We use them mostly for securities work and they are great at looking at the industry and helping to determine things like risk factors for publicly traded companies. They are also assisting us with class action litigation and it is going well so far.’
‘They work very well with our Canadian and other foreign counsel – great team work between firms, which isn’t always the case.’
‘Martin Glass is extremely responsive and always takes a practical approach. He is very solution oriented.’
Cresco Labs, Inc.
Aurora Cannabis Inc.
Green Thumb Industries Inc.
Canaccord Genuity Group Inc.
Curaleaf Holdings, Inc.
- Advised Green Thumb Industries Inc. (GTI), a leading national cannabis consumer packaged goods company, in connection with its US go-public SEC registration process. GTI began reporting with the SEC as a US domestic issuer in February 2020.
- Advised Curaleaf Holdings, Inc., a leading multi-state cannabis operator in the US, in a private placement of up to C$27.5m of subordinate voting shares at a price of C$7.70 per share.
- Represented the private equity firm, SAF Group, in connection with its investment in Acreage Holdings Inc.
Specializing in compliance and regulatory counseling, Arnold & Porter’s Washington DC-based practice combines expertise in IP, tax and trade issues with deep cannabis sector knowledge, in addition to expertise in related areas of phramaceuticals and food. The practice group is active in both transactional matters as well as in litigation, notably consumer class actions. Evelina Norwinski advises manufacturers, distributors and retail clients on federal and state law related to the cannabis industry. Norwinski heads up the team, which was recently strengthened by the arrival of regulatory and compliance expert Howard Sklamberg from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in March 2020.
Other key lawyers:
Daniel Kracov; Howard Sklamberg; Raqiyyah Pippins; David Marsh; Daphne O’Connor; Jeremy Willcocks
- Represent Charlotte’s Web, the market share leader in full spectrum cannabidiol hemp extract products, in its effort to work with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop new regulations and a new policy framework to ensure the quality and safety of hemp and CBD-containing products.
- Representing Cronos in litigation and other matters.
- Provide federal and state regulatory and marketing counseling to leading cosmetic retailer company regarding the development and sale of topical product containing CBD in the US and other countries.
DLA Piper LLP (US) launched its hemp and hemp regulated products/CBD group in 2020 and is considered by clients to be ‘among the best especially when it comes to FDA issues’. In addition to FDA regulatory matters, the team is also recognized for its strengths across IP and corporate matters, enabling it to provide comprehensive advice on sourcing and supply chain, contracting, label and packaging review, testing assessment, e-commerce-related issues, privacy and corporate structuring. Stefanie Fogel in Boston leads the team and is 'beyond wonderful to work with'.
Other key lawyers:
Maggie Craig; Lisa Haile
‘The DLA Piper Cannabis practice is highly skilled in a very challenging area. We have worked with several cannabis focused firms and found the DLA Piper team among the best especially when it comes to FDA issues.’
‘The partners that make up the cannabis team have deep pre cannabis knowledge in the specially areas and the combination of regulatory, IP, FDA and general corporate make a highly valuable team’
‘Stefanie Fogel has been beyond wonderful to work with. Her deep expertise helped us navigate a very tricky situation.’
‘Lisa Haile and Margaret Craig with whom we have also worked are equally wonderful.’
Smith & Sinclair
Just Brands, LLC
- Acted for Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. in connection with its acquisition of Abacus Health Products, Inc. This acquisition creates the world’s largest vertically integrated hemp-derived CBD company.
- Advising Charlotte’s Web on cross-border regulatory sales for their OTC hemp CBD products.
- Defending a putative nationwide class action against Just Brands USA, Inc., Just Brands FL, LLC, Just Brands, Inc., and SSGI Financial Services, Inc, in which plaintiffs allege violations of California and Florida consumer protection statutes, fraud, breach of express warranty, and unjust enrichment based on alleged overstatements of the quantity of CBD contained in cannabidiol products.
Farella Braun + Martel LLP
Acting for cultivators, manufacturers, retailers and investors, Farella Braun + Martel LLP’s multidisciplinary practice group advises on matters across the entire life cycle of cannabis companies, from initial structuring and formation, through to financings, employment issues, regulatory compliance and general corporate issues. Key areas of expertise include real estate leasing and acquisition, IP, tax planning and California Proposition 65. The team also handles disputes, including white-collar criminal defense and federal enforcement actions. Contacts in the San Francisco-based team include Ryan Lowther, who counsels cannabis clients on legal and regulatory issues, and senior associate Jeffrey Hamilton.
Ryan Lowther; Jeffrey Hamilton
Poseidon Asset Management / Poseidon Capital Partners
Blackbird Holdings Corp
TILT Holdings Inc.
NRCH Holdings, LLC dba AFI Capital Partners
Next Green Wave
Baker Technologies, Inc.
- Defending Tilt Holdings and cannabis technology company Baker Technologies in a high-profile proposed Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action over promotional texts.
- Represent Canadian public company Next Green Wave, a premium cannabis producer with facilities and operations in Coalinga, California.
- Advising Poseidon Asset Management, the first investment fund in the US to be focused solely on cannabis investments, on corporate work and in evaluating investment opportunities and negotiating terms of investments.
Husch Blackwell LLP is well regarded for its 'experience with cannabis in multiple states as well as its impressive connectivity to regulators’. The Denver-based practice handles cannabis and industrial hemp regulatory matters and transactional work, and also advises on corporate and securities issues, vendor contracts, employment law, governance, real estate, IP, customs, litigation and tax matters. Steven Levine leads the team and is known for marijuana and industrial hemp regulatory and corporate M&A work. Also recommended is associate Meghan Brennan, who is building a reputation in policy and legislation work, regularly meeting with lawmakers and working with regulatory agencies on rulemaking committees.
Other key lawyers:
Marshall Custer; Meghan Brennan
‘The team is unbelievably knowledgable in every aspect I use, which have been four different topics, from general business compliance to estate to working on court proceedings.’
‘They’ve collaborated with us on business and compliance objectives for investment opportunities within our business model.’
‘Marshall Custer is my main contact at HB. He’s very knowledgable in all compliance aspects in our business and other related matters. He brings in other appropriate team members that suite their expertise where applicable. I always start with Marshall, as I’m confident with his council to me personally and my business.’
‘Husch Blackwell has offered exceptional services to the cannabis industry across multiple, complex regulatory schemes. They regularly monitor and update clients on changing regulations while also offering advice as to how such changes may impact the business. Husch Blackwell also works well under tight timelines while dealing with complex legal issues.’
‘Their reach and depth in various markets is substantial, as is their ability to handle various subject matters.’
‘Husch Blackwell attorneys pride themselves in learning the client’s business with an eye towards providing specialized services that speak directly to the client’s key issues in any given project. Their attorneys also regularly go above and beyond to meet timelines while providing exceptional service.’
‘Specific experience with Cannabis in multiple states as well as impressive connectivity to regulators.’
‘Practical problem/dispute resolution strategies leading to quicker resolution and cost containment.’
‘Availability, responsiveness and candor – overall a customer service commitment not often seen in large firms.’
Columbia Care, Inc.
Clear Cannabis, Inc.
Green Sage Real Estate
- Represented Schwazze, formerly operating as Medicine Man Technologies Inc., in the closing of its acquisition of Mesa Organics and its Purplebee’s business.
- Acted as buyer counsel to Pioneer Interests in the aqusitions (among others) of Green Heart Dispensary; Mile High America Dispensary and Cultivation; and Northern Lights Dispensary retail/medical.
- Serve as appellant counsel to Metrc, Missouri’s chosen track-and-trace provider for the medical marijuana program, which filed their its brief in the Western District Court of Appeals over the ongoing debate over a private industry cost for RFID tags.
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP provides comprehensive support on matters affecting the cannabis industry, with expertise in life sciences and healthcare, corporate, labor and employment, IP, insurance, litigation and financial services regulatory law. This combination of expertise gives the firm a good standing to assist a range of clients, including cannabis and hemp-based products-focused entities, as well as businesses that regularly interact with the industry. A particular forte for the department is cross-border work in the cannabis space. Jointly leading the service group are Philadelphia-based restructuring and distressed company specialist Claudia Springer, and Marc Hauser in San Francisco, who is most active in the capital markets space.
Claudia Springer; Marc Hauser
Other key lawyers:
From its five offices around the US, Zuber Lawler advises on M&A, joint ventures, licensing, white labeling, business structuring, commercial contracts, financing deals, litigation and arbitration in the cannabis space. It also advises on a huge range of IP issues. Of recent note, the team helped obtain the second-ever US plant patent for a cannabis strain, and also handled a number of trademark protection matters for cannabis brands. Los Angeles-based Thomas Zuber leads the team and is a specialist in IP portfolio management, legalized cannabis, and blockchain. The firm has also garnered praise from clients, who commend its ‘commitment to keeping informed about what might be coming in the industry’.
Other key lawyers:
Josh Lawler; Josh Masur; Jeffrey Zuber; Dr. Jayashree Mitra; Janet Jackim; Robert Mandel; Rasheed McWilliams
‘Zuber Lawler offers an incredibly strong team with deep knowledge of the cannabis space and is small enough that the partners still pay attention to the files.’
‘Tom Zuber and Josh Lawler make a point to insure that their clients are happy with the services being provided and follow up regularly to insure that their customers are satisfied.’
‘Zuber Lawler has so many competent professionals in the cannabis area of practice. Whether you need guidance about taxation, licensing and permitting, federal vs state regulations, general compliance, packaging, employment, etc… they not only can help, they are leading the charge and definitely experts in all areas.’
‘I have never felt like I had to second guess their work and personally have experience working with many of the other competing firms in the space. I definitely feel confident recommending Zuber Lawler to my friends and colleagues in the industry and do quite often.’
‘What impresses me is the firm’s commitment to keeping informed about what might be coming in the industry. The rules change frequently and it’s definitely an investment to stay on top of this.’
‘Zuber Lawler is my “go-to” firm when I need to contemplate post-federal legalization issues. While they may not have a crystal ball, they are very knowledgeable about the ways a company may need to be ready to pivot and their recommendations have been incredibly helpful.’
‘The attorneys at Zuber Lawler work with us like they are partners in our company. I do not feel like they are looking at the clock. They do what needs to be done to get the job done and I’ve been extremely satisfied with their work, their partnership, and their commitment to helping our company be successful.’
‘Founding Partner Tom Zuber’s background as an inventor and entrepreneur informs his work. Both Mr Zuber’s and Founding Partner Josh Lawler’s integrity in both personal and professional arenas is inspiring and refreshing.’
‘Mr Lawler’s combination of brilliance and efficiency is unmatched. The firm’s work product and entire staff are best in class.’
Central Coast Agriculture, Inc. (aka Raw Garden)
Fiore Management (aka Canndescent)
Brightroot Inc. (aka The Mint Dispensary)
Copperstate Farms, LLC
Vireo Health International, Inc.
Columbia Care Inc.
Connected (aka Alien Labs)
- Representation of Egg Rock Holdings, one of the nation’s leading THC and CBD brands, in the issuance of $50m in preferred LLC units to investment funds.
- In conjunction with a $3.5m capital raise, represented 1964 Management LLC in its capital raise and joint venture operation of a new medical (and now adult use) dispensary.
The team at Dickinson Wright PLLC advises clients with state-issued licenses as well as businesses providing goods and services to the cannabis industry. The Columbus-based team covers the areas of financing, real estate, employment, lobbying and IP, with particular expertise in corporate M&A matters for cannabis industry players. Scot Crow leads the group and focuses on M&A, venture capital financings, private offerings, private equity investments, mezzanine debt offerings and management issues in the area.
Other key lawyers:
Lloyd Pierre-Louis; Timothy McCulloch; Alex Brown
Ohio Grown Therapies LLC
- Represented the Ohio-based, privately held cannabis extraction equipment company Apeks Supercritical in its acquisition by Gibraltar Industries, a publicly held company.
- Represented Ohio Grown Therapies in a series of transactions with Curaleaf involving its Ohio large scale cultivation and processing licenses.
Dykema Gossett PLLC
Dykema Gossett PLLC is a full-service firm that advises across the spectrum of legal and policy matters affecting the cannabis industry; however, the practice group is recognized in particular for its counsel to the proponents of the initiative that became the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. The team draws its clients from across the nation, and is especially active in Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, California, Florida, Washington DC, Ohio and Oklahoma. Practice head Lance Boldrey in Lansing specializes in licensing, regulatory matters and legislative issues.
Other key lawyers:
Alan Wilk; Shaun Sullivan-Towler; Hilary Vigil
Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association
Sensible Cannabis Reform for Economic Development (SCRED)
Terrasana Cannabis Co
SB VB Grand Rapids
- Formed the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association (MCMA), managed tax matters, and represent the MCMA in lobbying for legislation and administrative rules.
- Advised VB Chesaning on licensing and regulatory matters from inception; VB Chesaning was awarded the very first grower licenses in the State of Michigan.
- Represented Lume since inception, handling all corporate work, licensing and regulatory, and real estate acquisitions.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Litigation and arbitration specialist Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP fields a deep bench of trial lawyers with expertise in representing companies in cannabis industry matters, including disputes with investors and shareholders over management and ownership, securities litigation, class actions, and patent, trademark and copyright litigation. The practice group also has experience arbitrating disputes in the area. Los Angeles-based Robert Becher leads the team and represents plaintiffs and defendants in high-stakes business litigation and arbitration matters in the cannabis space.
Other key lawyers:
Benjamin Dach; Gregory Fuoco; Jomaire Crawford
Los Angeles Kush
Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin, the founders of MedMen
UL Holdings NV LLC
- Defended Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin, the founders and directors of a public cannabis company, against claims for breach of fiduciary duty.
- Represent UL Holdings NV LLC in a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court that seeks to unwind a complex business transaction involving cannabis dispensaries.
- Representing Ray Akhavan who is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud related to the processing of credit and debit card transactions for a popular online marijuana delivery marketplace.
Seyfarth Shaw LLP is recognized in this space for its strengths in areas including labor and employment, IP, risk management, M&A and tax. The firm’s national footprint is another factor in its favor, as is its thought leadership on the legal aspects of social equity programs relating to cannabis licensing and use. Senior counsel Stanley Jutkowitz leads the team from Washington DC and is experienced in corporate transactions, business counseling and risk assessments in the cannabis space.
Other key lawyers:
Jennifer Mora; Eric Janson; Rich Mendelson; Brandon Bigelow; Tedd Lustig
‘Seyfarth Shaw LLP is a diverse firm offering it’s clients many specialized strengths in their law practice.’
‘As a client I have hired the firm for three different area of need. In each situation I was completely satisfied with their professional representation.’
‘In my introduction to the cannabis industry, I found the firm to be outstanding in their knowledge of compliance and how we need to proceed to licensing.’
‘Brandon Bigelow and his team, including Tedd Lustig were outstanding in their service, always caring and offering sound direction. We couldn’t have done it without them!’
Austin Peoples Action Center (APAC)
AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF
Outer Cape Cannabis Connection, LLC
- Assisted APAC with the establishment of a Social Equity Applicant entity and a joint application to the State of Illinois for up to five cannabis dispensary licenses, in which APAC would be the Social Equity Applicant partner.
- Provided advice and counseling to Pride Staff on cannabis related employment issues; prepared a 50 state survey on state law employment protections for applicants/employees using cannabis for medical/recreational reasons; assisted with revisions to drug testing policy.
- Prepared a legal opinion on the legality of cannabis ETFs for AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF using total return swaps in connection with the public offering of the ETF.