Significant players in the rapidly-evolving cannabis industry rely on Farella to guide them through the substantial legal and regulatory hurdles faced by businesses in this industry. We represent cultivators, manufacturers, retailers, and investors, leveraging our decades of experience working with clients in other highly-regulated sectors to help our cannabis clients move into and navigate the medicinal and adult-use markets in California.

We Represent the Industry Ecosystem

Established cannabis companies require skilled legal advice across a variety of disciplines. These enterprises need lawyers that have experience advising clients in highly-regulated industries. For newer entrants and investors in the cannabis market, working with lawyers that understand the myriad of compliance issues that cannabis companies face from the outset is critical to maximizing every opportunity.

We work directly with executives, founders, owners, and entrepreneurs at cannabis companies. We help our clients identify and mitigate risks, sharpen areas of focus within their enterprise, and tweak their operational models to ensure compliance and keep their transactions on track—ultimately positioning them for business success.

We often act as outside general counsel for our cannabis clients, helping them navigate a complicated and evolving regulatory framework. As the industry has seen a large number of consolidations in recent years, we spend a great deal of time advising clients on merger and acquisition transactions. We also advise non-cannabis companies on risk analysis and mitigation strategies for engaging in transactions with cannabis businesses.

Both investment fund clients and individual investors in cannabis businesses rely on us to review potential investments, negotiate fair and protective investment terms, and guide them in making solid business decisions. Our experience in working with investment clients in other industries enables us to quickly adapt best practices for the cannabis industry and create models and form agreements to drive efficiencies and bring quicker solutions to their business pursuits. Our clients benefit from our depth of experience in working with investors in the cannabis industry as we are able to guide these businesses from the outset to ensure that they are ideally organized to attract investment capital.

From Start-up to Liquidity and Everything In Between

Our teams are smartly-staffed and nimble—led by one or more Farella partners who remain actively engaged in every matter. Farella’s cannabis industry group brings together skilled lawyers who represent clients across the full lifespan of a business. We advise cannabis companies on their initial structuring and formation, through their financings, employment issues, regulatory compliance issues, general corporate issues, and other operational needs—all the way to an ultimate liquidity event such as a sale, merger, or other type of business exit.

We often leverage the knowledge of our insurance group which has a depth of experience in working in other highly-regulated industries. Our employment group has experience across multiple sectors, facing many different client situations and business models, and can craft appropriate employment policies for cannabis operations.

Farella helps our cannabis clients with real estate leasing and acquisition, land use, intellectual property, tax planning, environmental issues, product liability, Proposition 65, and corporate governance. When disputes or internal investigations arise, our experienced litigation and white-collar crime defense teams step in. We also advise clients on potential federal enforcement actions.

Professional Leadership

Our commitment to our clients’ success in the cannabis industry includes our active participation and leadership roles in significant industry legal groups including the Cannabis Law Committee for the Bar Association of San Francisco and the National Cannabis Bar Association. We are also active members of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

The widely-read legal news source Law360 recognized our firm as a “California Powerhouse” in 2018, noting that Farella was one of the first law firms in the state to form a cannabis group. Our cannabis lawyers also regularly appear in national and California-based rankings from U.S. News - Best Lawyers, the Daily Journal, The National Law Journal, and Super Lawyers and Rising Stars annual lists of the top lawyers in Northern California.

Firm Highlights

Publication

Insuring Cannabis: Not Business As Usual, Yet

The legalization of cannabis in many states is helping the industry to become mainstream and gain access to insurance products taken for granted in other economic sectors.   But there is still a long...

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Event

Insurance for the Cannabis Industry

Shanti Eagle is the moderator of this BASF Insurance Section program co-sponsored with the Cannabis Section. This panel will provide important risk management and insurance placement advice to those dealing with businesses involved in cannabis...

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Event

North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference

Farella Braun + Martel is proud to underwrite the North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference featuring keynote speaker Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. The event will also feature...

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News

Prior Litigation Can Impact Coverage in Future Disputes

GlobeSt.com March 6, 2019 "Prior Litigation Can Impact Coverage in Future Disputes" Insurance Recovery Senior Associate Shanti Eagle discusses how positions taken by insureds in prior litigation can impact or foreclose coverage in subsequent disputes...

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Publication

Doing Business With the Cannabis Industry? Make Sure Your Insurance Will Cover You

By Shanti Eagle, Farella Braun + Martel, and Martin Fox-Foster, Emergent Risk Insurance Services Much has been written about the difficulties and limitations of insuring leaf-touching cannabis businesses. However, any individual or company simply interacting...

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Publication

Will It Go Forward? First Cannabis Patent Infringement Case Filed in Federal Court

A patent infringement case pending in front of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado has the potential to set an important precedent that will have ramifications for many of our clients...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Advises Cannabis Distributor Blackbird Holdings Corp. in Sale to TILT Holdings Inc. for $50 Million

SAN FRANCISCO (January 29, 2019): Farella Braun + Martel represented Blackbird Holdings Corp. , a distribution company providing operations and software solutions that facilitate the movement of cannabis products at each touchpoint within the...

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Publication

Evicting Tenants Over “Illegal” Cannabis Operation Comes Back to Bite Landlords in Coverage

A 6th Circuit case decided earlier this year demonstrates how positions taken by insureds in prior litigation can impact or foreclose coverage in subsequent disputes with insurers. See K.V.G. Properties, Inc. v. Westfield Ins....

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Publication

CBD in Foods and Beverages? Not Quite Yet

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