Cannabis Law
Cannabis Law
Kelley Drye has extensive experience navigating the rapidly-changing cannabis industry. We represent a multitude of stakeholders in the cannabis ecosystem, from growers and processors, manufacturers and retailers, to investors and financial organizations.
Cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries in America — and an area of huge potential and unique challenges for growers, distributors, processors and investors, as well as companies seeking to capitalize on the hemp and CBD emergence.  As more states move towards the legalization of medical and adult-use cannabis, Kelley Drye offers extensive experience navigating the rapidly-changing environment and conflicting federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Kelley Drye’s interdisciplinary team helps companies navigate the full range of cannabis-related legal and regulatory challenges, including: state licensing compliance, food and drug, advertising, intellectual property procurement, corporate formation, real estate issues, tax consequences, banking concerns, employment issues, litigation, trade secret protection, internal investigations, criminal defense and other issues.  We leverage our nationwide footprint to provide holistic advice and representation to those directly involved in or looking to enter the industry.

Our recent experience includes:
 
  • FDA and Advertising Regulatory Advice:  Assisting multiple companies in navigating complex federal-state issues relative to product labeling and advertising, particularly with regard to CBD products.

  • Corporate and Real Estate:  Assisting the largest medical marijuana operation in Maryland with corporate, tax, and real estate issues.

  • Intellectual Property:  Actively prosecuting patents directly or peripherally related to cannabis in a variety of technical disciplines, including smoking apparatuses, medical treatments for various diseases including HIV and chemical delivery systems and manufacturing methods for edibles; and conducting U.S. trademark clearance searches, prosecuting trademark applications, and advising clients on trademark protection issues for cannabis-related products and services.

  • Banking, Securities, and AML: We counsel clients relating to payment transactions, anti-money laundering, and securities issues.

  • Compliance, Investigations, and Litigation:  We represented a medical marijuana growing operation on business matters, state investigation and litigation matters.

  • State Regulatory: Assisting clients in preparing and filing applications for grower, processor and dispensary licensing in multiple states.

  • Labor & Employment: Counseling employers throughout the country on cannabis issues in the employment context.
 

Disclaimer

Possessing, using, distributing, and/or selling marijuana or marijuana-based products is illegal under federal law, regardless of any state law that may decriminalize such activity under certain circumstances. Although federal enforcement policy may at times defer to states’ laws and not enforce conflicting federal laws, interested businesses and individuals should be aware that compliance with state law in no way assures compliance with federal law, and there is a risk that conflicting federal laws may be enforced in the future. No legal advice we give is intended to provide any guidance or assistance in violating federal law.
 
  • Advising numerous parties involved with manufacturing, retailing, and marketing of hemp CBD on compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill and relevant state laws.

  • Counseling a manufacturer of hemp-based cosmetics on labeling issues.

  • Assisting medical cannabis processors with state licensing applications.

  • Representing the first licensed growing operation in Maryland on business matters (potential mergers; management agreements; private investment; contract review), litigation, licensing, compliance and ethical issues.

  • Representing a cultivation company in a state investigation and the negotiation of a favorable consent decree.

  • Filing Letter of Protest on behalf of luxury fashion brand client regarding registrability of trademark for cannabis-related products.

  • Conducting U.S. trademark clearance searches, prosecuting trademark applications, and advising clients on trademark protection issues for cannabis-related products and services.

  • Drafting patent applications for everything from cannabis-based HIV treatments, to recreational edibles, to containers and transportation systems that promote proper plant flowering.

  • Working on an offering for a cannabis exchange.

  • Advising lenders on transactions with cannabis-related businesses.

  • Federal criminal defense of cannabis-related charges.

  • Counseling conventional companies interested in entering the cannabis market.

  • Advising investors, including conducting due diligence on potential investment targets.

  • Counseling financial institutions and payment processors in the provision of financial services to the cannabis industry.

  • Assisting companies with leasing of growing and processing facilities.

  • Representing companies with private investor participations in compliance with related state regulatory considerations as well as general securities matters.

  • Assisting companies with respect to tax aspects of application of IRS Section 280E to cannabusiness operations.

  • Providing advice and counsel to multi-state employers on employee discipline, separate agreements, employee handbook and hiring policies, including state-by-state drug testing requirements.

  • Providing advice to clients about new laws prohibiting pre-employment drug testing.

  • Conducting a 50 state survey on the legality of recreational and medical marijuana laws for a client with a national workforce.
 
 

Overview

Kelley Drye has extensive experience navigating the rapidly-changing cannabis industry. We represent a multitude of stakeholders in the cannabis ecosystem, from growers and processors, manufacturers and retailers, to investors and financial organizations.
Cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries in America — and an area of huge potential and unique challenges for growers, distributors, processors and investors, as well as companies seeking to capitalize on the hemp and CBD emergence.  As more states move towards the legalization of medical and adult-use cannabis, Kelley Drye offers extensive experience navigating the rapidly-changing environment and conflicting federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Kelley Drye’s interdisciplinary team helps companies navigate the full range of cannabis-related legal and regulatory challenges, including: state licensing compliance, food and drug, advertising, intellectual property procurement, corporate formation, real estate issues, tax consequences, banking concerns, employment issues, litigation, trade secret protection, internal investigations, criminal defense and other issues.  We leverage our nationwide footprint to provide holistic advice and representation to those directly involved in or looking to enter the industry.

Our recent experience includes:
 
  • FDA and Advertising Regulatory Advice:  Assisting multiple companies in navigating complex federal-state issues relative to product labeling and advertising, particularly with regard to CBD products.

  • Corporate and Real Estate:  Assisting the largest medical marijuana operation in Maryland with corporate, tax, and real estate issues.

  • Intellectual Property:  Actively prosecuting patents directly or peripherally related to cannabis in a variety of technical disciplines, including smoking apparatuses, medical treatments for various diseases including HIV and chemical delivery systems and manufacturing methods for edibles; and conducting U.S. trademark clearance searches, prosecuting trademark applications, and advising clients on trademark protection issues for cannabis-related products and services.

  • Banking, Securities, and AML: We counsel clients relating to payment transactions, anti-money laundering, and securities issues.

  • Compliance, Investigations, and Litigation:  We represented a medical marijuana growing operation on business matters, state investigation and litigation matters.

  • State Regulatory: Assisting clients in preparing and filing applications for grower, processor and dispensary licensing in multiple states.

  • Labor & Employment: Counseling employers throughout the country on cannabis issues in the employment context.
 

Disclaimer

Possessing, using, distributing, and/or selling marijuana or marijuana-based products is illegal under federal law, regardless of any state law that may decriminalize such activity under certain circumstances. Although federal enforcement policy may at times defer to states’ laws and not enforce conflicting federal laws, interested businesses and individuals should be aware that compliance with state law in no way assures compliance with federal law, and there is a risk that conflicting federal laws may be enforced in the future. No legal advice we give is intended to provide any guidance or assistance in violating federal law.
 

Experience

  • Advising numerous parties involved with manufacturing, retailing, and marketing of hemp CBD on compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill and relevant state laws.

  • Counseling a manufacturer of hemp-based cosmetics on labeling issues.

  • Assisting medical cannabis processors with state licensing applications.

  • Representing the first licensed growing operation in Maryland on business matters (potential mergers; management agreements; private investment; contract review), litigation, licensing, compliance and ethical issues.

  • Representing a cultivation company in a state investigation and the negotiation of a favorable consent decree.

  • Filing Letter of Protest on behalf of luxury fashion brand client regarding registrability of trademark for cannabis-related products.

  • Conducting U.S. trademark clearance searches, prosecuting trademark applications, and advising clients on trademark protection issues for cannabis-related products and services.

  • Drafting patent applications for everything from cannabis-based HIV treatments, to recreational edibles, to containers and transportation systems that promote proper plant flowering.

  • Working on an offering for a cannabis exchange.

  • Advising lenders on transactions with cannabis-related businesses.

  • Federal criminal defense of cannabis-related charges.

  • Counseling conventional companies interested in entering the cannabis market.

  • Advising investors, including conducting due diligence on potential investment targets.

  • Counseling financial institutions and payment processors in the provision of financial services to the cannabis industry.

  • Assisting companies with leasing of growing and processing facilities.

  • Representing companies with private investor participations in compliance with related state regulatory considerations as well as general securities matters.

  • Assisting companies with respect to tax aspects of application of IRS Section 280E to cannabusiness operations.

  • Providing advice and counsel to multi-state employers on employee discipline, separate agreements, employee handbook and hiring policies, including state-by-state drug testing requirements.

  • Providing advice to clients about new laws prohibiting pre-employment drug testing.

  • Conducting a 50 state survey on the legality of recreational and medical marijuana laws for a client with a national workforce.
Partner
Email (202) 342-8805(202) 342-8805
Kristi Wolff’s practice focuses on food, drugs, dietary supplements, medical devices, personal care and consumer health products, as well as wearable technology and health privacy issues.&nbs...
Partner
Email (212) 808-7628(212) 808-7628
Barbara Hoey is chair of Kelley Drye’s Labor and Employment practice group, and a member of the firm’s executive committee.  In her third decade of practice, Barbara’s experi...
Partner
Email (212) 808-7959(212) 808-7959
Mark Konkel is committed to protecting and maximizing the interests of employers of all sizes, from the major multinational to the startup.  Whether Mark is helping his clients with seasoned, ...
Partner
Email (312) 857-2623(312) 857-2623
Matthew Luzadder focuses his practice on white-collar crime and internal investigations, commercial litigation and labor and employment law matters. Matt’s clients include national and g...
Partner
Email (212) 808-7695(212) 808-7695
Jaimie Nawaday focuses her practice on government investigations, white collar defense and civil litigation.  She advises and represents organizations and individuals in government investigati...
Partner
Email +(32)(2) 899-2931+(32)(2) 899-2931
Laura van der Meer is the managing partner of Kelley Drye’s Brussels office.  Laura is dedicated to assisting her clients in understanding and navigating complex international and E...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8431(202) 342-8431
Allan Weiner co-chairs the firm’s Washington, D.C. business team and is a senior member of the firm’s Corporate, Real Estate and Private Client groups.  His practice is focused on ...
Partner
Email (973) 503-5964 (973) 503-5964
Michael Zinna’s practice comprises all aspects of intellectual property, with a focus on patent matters and including complex patent litigation, patent licensing, due diligence, patent cleara...
Senior Advisor
Email (202) 342-8638(202) 342-8638
Joan Galvin advocates on behalf of client interests before the U.S. Congress and federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture, in the areas of ...
Special Counsel
Email (310) 712-6170(310) 712-6170
Kimberly Carter is special counsel in Kelley Drye’s Litigation and Labor and Employment practices and is located in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Kimberly’s practice focuses...
Special Counsel
Email (202) 342-8422(202) 342-8422
Bezalel Stern’s practice focuses on commercial litigation, including litigation regarding complex business disputes, real estate and employment matters.  Bezalel also advises and represe...
Associate
Email (202) 342-8845(202) 342-8845
Lee Baumgardner is an associate in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Prior to joining Kelley Drye, Lee was a law clerk at the Department of Justice in the Torts Branch, Aviation and Ad...