Duane Morris attorneys represent businesses and individuals at every level of the cannabis supply chain. Our clients include state-licensed adult-use marijuana, medical marijuana and hemp cultivators, processors, distributors and dispensaries, whether vertically integrated or operating as standalone businesses, as well as investors in those businesses. We also represent the full range of business vendors that supply their products and services to the cannabis industry, such as raw materials, technology, advertising, social media, consumption products and security companies. We have advised a wide variety of non-cannabis companies, including traditional consumer goods companies, real estate developers, insurance companies, banks, media companies, government contractors, broker-dealers, and private equity and venture capital funds in evaluating the regulatory and business considerations pertinent to entering into the cannabis space.

Duane Morris attorneys have gained comprehensive, hands-on, cannabis-related experience and apply that knowledge to advise clients based in the United States, Canada and other countries on the federal, state and local laws, regulations and governmental guidance relevant to conducting business and investing in cannabis. This includes the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (also known as the 2018 Farm Bill), Bank Secrecy Act, anti-money laundering (AML) statutes and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and guidance, and state-specific marijuana and hemp regulations.

We assist our cannabis-related clients in understanding and assessing the federal and state regulatory framework for cannabis; applications for licenses to operate and related administrative matters; commercial litigation; negotiating and documenting investments, joint ventures, and mergers and acquisitions; conducting due diligence on the targets of such transactions; federal, state and local tax issues; day-to-day regulatory advice and general business counsel; and labor and employment, including workplace training and litigating workplace claims.

We have provided corporate governance and capital formation advice on both public and private securities offerings on behalf of privately and publicly held cannabis companies, including serving as counsel in the first investment-bank led public offering by a U.S. cannabis company. Additionally, we served as lead counsel for the first-ever trademark infringement action arising out of cannabis branding, and regularly represent clients in patent and trademark protection and enforcement matters.

Duane Morris’ deep commitment to the cannabis space is best reflected by our rankings as a national leader in cannabis law by Chambers and Partners, Legal 500 and Law360's Group of the Year series. In addition, we are the national law firm partner of the American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp, the first ever partnership between a major law firm and trade organization in this industry. Together, we are working on national issues affecting the legal cannabis and hemp industry as a whole. Duane Morris attorneys are at the forefront of this industry, driving thought leadership through frequent presentations at industry conferences, providing media outlets with insightful information, as well as supplying clients with the latest information through our Cannabis Industry Blog and webinar series.

Range of Experience

Duane Morris attorneys have specific experience pertinent to clients participating in or otherwise involved with the cannabis industry, including:

  • Regulatory
    • Licenses to grow, process or dispense adult-use marijuana, medical marijuana and hemp
    • Assessment of business and individual risks under federal and state cannabis-related laws, regulations and guidance
    • Administrative matters pertaining to licensure
  • Litigation
    • Civil matters, such as RICO actions, breach of commercial contracts, fraud/misrepresentation and partnership/shareholder disputes
    • Products liability, manufacturing defects and failure to warn
    • Trademark and patent infringement
    • Employment claims, such as harassment
    • Challenges to state licensure programs
  • Corporate
    • Corporate formation and structure, addressing complexities resulting from state-specific statutes and the conflict between federal and state law
    • Public companies and filings with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other agencies
    • Capital formation activities, including public and private securities offerings and lending transactions
    • Mergers and acquisitions 
    • Partnership and operating agreements
    • Domestic and cross-border financing and merger and acquisition transactions
  • Taxation
    • Federal and state planning and advice, including in connection with corporate formation and governance
    • IRS Section 280E
  • Real Estate and Construction
    • Zoning, water rights and land use
    • Leasing and landlord/tenant matters
    • Civil forfeiture risk
  • Intellectual Property
    • Trademarks and patents
    • Licensing agreements
    • Marketing and branding
  • Health Law
    • University research centers and licensing
    • Hospital compliance
  • Labor and Employment
    • Workplace training
    • Non-compete and trade secrets
    • Executive employment agreements and severance agreements
    • National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
  • Bankruptcy
  • Information Technology and Management Software
  • Public and Community Relations
  • Environmental Considerations

For More Information

For more information, please contact  Seth A. Goldberg, Tracy Gallegos, Paul P. Josephson or any of the group members referenced in the Attorney Listing.

Top 10 Cannabis Startup Legal and Business Considerations

The cannabis industry is ripe with potential and fraught with peril for budding startup businesses. Between the regulatory hurdles and investment challenges unique to the industry, there are many factors in play for those seeking success in hemp and cannabis. This webinar was a discussion of the 10 things cannabis startups need to consider from the viewpoints of both entrepreneurs and investors, including the legal and accounting issues cannabis businesses must face.

Cannabis Investment: How Greece Is Embracing the Opportunity and Leading the EU Market

Greece is a newcomer to hemp cultivation for medicinal purposes. However, the country is gradually emerging as a key European player, mainly due to its recent innovative regulation. This webinar provides latest developments and trends in the country. Please visit the event page for more information.

Duane Morris Cannabis Webinar, Series 400

The Duane Morris Cannabis Industry Group returns with its series of webinars reviewing issues and developments affecting the cannabis industry. Please visit the event page for more information.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act: What Cannabis Companies Need to Know

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) presents a minefield of legal issues for cannabis companies. 2020 has witnessed a number of high profile TCPA consumer class actions in the cannabis industry. This webinar covers the basics of the TCPA, a primer on lead generation and the telemarketing world, tips for compliance and best practices. Please visit the event page for more information.

Professional Sports & CBD: The Journey Ahead

This panel discussion, featuring NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, explores the legality of CBD use for professional athletes and provides an overview of the consumer and investor markets for CBD in the sports nutrition and recovery industries. Please visit the event page for more information.

Duane Morris Cannabis Webinar, Series 300

A series of webinars throughout 2020 to discuss issues affecting the cannabis industry. Each session features a “Hot Topics” segment to cover recent developments in the industry. Please visit the event page for more information.

Duane Morris Cannabis Webinar, Series 200

A series of webinars throughout 2019 to discuss issues affecting the cannabis industry. Each session covers a specific subject and features a “Hot Topics” segment to cover recent developments in the industry. Please visit the event page for more information.

Overview of New Federal Rules on Hemp Production and Q&A

On October 29, 2019, the USDA established the long-awaited regulatory framework fully implementing the legalization of hemp under federal law in the 2018 Farm Bill. While the new regulations should provide enhanced uniformity in certain areas of hemp production and distribution in the U.S., states may still regulate hemp more stringently than the federal government and differently from one state to another. Duane Morris attorneys and Michael Bronstein, a founder of ATACH, provide an overview of and answer questions about the new regulatory framework.

Q&A Webinar on the Farm Bill

Presenters reviewed the provisions and implications of the 2018 Farm Bill and responded to questions about this legislation. The 2018 Farm Bill, known as the “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018,” proposes the removal of hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and conferral on the Department of Agriculture authority over hemp, including CBD derived from hemp, and will allow states to be authorized as the primary regulator of hemp grown in their states. Interstate commerce of hemp and CBD derived from hemp will not be restricted. As anticipated, President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill on December 20, 2018, removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

Duane Morris Cannabis Webinar, Series 100

A series of webinars throughout 2018 to discuss issues affecting the cannabis industry. Each session  covers a specific subject and features a “Hot Topics” segment to cover recent developments in the industry. Please visit the event page for more information.