Cannabis Industry

Farella Braun + Martel is ideally positioned to assist companies and investors in the rapidly developing cannabis industry.  We have significant experience with some of the top players in the industry, and decades of experience assisting companies grow and succeed in other highly regulated industries such as the wine and alcohol beverage industry.

Advisors for All Aspects of Your Business

Our attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of the laws and the hurdles that our clients in this industry face every day.  We are able to assist our cannabis industry clients in every stage of their businesses life cycle: from the initial structuring and formation of their business and collectives; through their financings, employment issues, regulatory compliance issues, general contract issues, and other operating issues; to their ultimate liquidity event such as the sale, merger or other liquidation of the business.

More often than not, we act as the outside general counsel for our clients’ businesses, serving as our clients’ attorneys in all their legal matters and applying the wisdom and experience of our 50+ years as a firm to their businesses.  In addition to our corporate group that handles most business matters, we have attorneys in the following related practice areas that are able to join our client teams as needed to address our clients’ needs and provide a level of experience unmatched in the industry:

  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Intellectual Property / Trademark
  • Insurance
  • Litigation
  • Product Liability and California’s Prop 65
  • Real Estate / Land Use
  • Restructuring and Insolvency
  • Tax
  • White Collar Crime

Investment for Growth

We advise investors looking to make strategic investments in the industry. Utilizing the experience we have developed from advising our investor clients across a multitude of different industries (including the Silicon Valley investment model), we work hand-and-hand with our cannabis industry clients to review investment opportunities and negotiate fair and protective investment terms.

Established Credibility

While the cannabis industry continues to evolve and gain its own legitimacy, uncertainty abounds. All cultivation, distribution and sale of cannabis remains illegal under the United States Controlled Substances Act.  Although the US Department of Justice has issued guidance to its attorneys and law enforcement to focus their resources and efforts on cannabis-related conduct that implicates one or more of its enumerated enforcement priorities, neither the guidance nor any state or local law provides a legal defense for the violation of federal law.  The guidance is also subject to change at any time, and may be modified without notice.  This means that even in states where the production, use, and sale of cannabis for medical and/or recreational uses has been permitted under some circumstances pursuant to state and local law, the federal government may still take criminal or civil enforcement action against individuals and/or businesses related to the production, use, or sale of cannabis.  Simple business functions such as banking and leasing property can pose significant hurdles for cannabis-related businesses.  Different tax regimes apply. Enforcement of contracts by cannabis-related businesses may be problematic or impossible.

These and the multiple other challenges faced by those operating in the cannabis industry underscore the need for experience and credibility in the service providers that advise businesses in the cannabis industry.  Farella has that experience and credibility.