Ryan Lowther has a broad-based general business practice that assists early stage and mature companies meet their corporate, securities, financing, and operational needs. He has extensive experience leading merger and acquisition transactions and working with investors to evaluate investment opportunities. Ryan’s clients are in a variety of industries, many highly regulated like alcoholic beverages and cannabis. He also negotiates resolutions to business disputes and has advised family businesses on governance issues and succession planning.
Ryan is the founder and chair of Farella’s Cannabis Industry practice group. He represents every kind of stakeholder in this rapidly-growing and dynamic industry, including cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and investors. Ryan counsels his cannabis clients to launch, fund, and expand their businesses and address the significant legal and regulatory hurdles faced by enterprises in this industry. Unlike many industry attorneys, he draws on years of experience as a high-level general legal advisor where he has experienced parallel issues faced by his cannabis clients. At Ryan’s insistence, Farella was one of the first midsized firms in the country to develop a dedicated cannabis practice to leverage more than 50+ years’ experience in other highly regulated industries for the benefit of cannabis and cannabis-adjacent clients.
As outside general counsel for many of his clients, he is the conduit to identify and bring in the specific attorney at the firm to assist with the full spectrum of relevant legal topics and issues, including employment, environmental, intellectual property (including trademark), insurance, business litigation, product liability (including Proposition 65 defense), real estate, and tax matters. Because the legality of the cannabis industry is rapidly evolving and subject to changes in state and federal law, cannabis clients and clients servicing the cannabis industry—for example property owners—need to understand the risks and mitigation strategies available to them. By counseling clients on the future as well as the present, he can help ensure optimal business outcomes while minimizing exposure to risk. Ryan accomplishes this through meticulous, constant analysis of the pending changes in the regulatory and legal landscape, and active involvement in a variety of industry organizations.
Ryan also has a significant practice advising high net worth individuals and their families, where he protects the patriarch/matriarch’s life work and ensures its longevity while transitioning to the next generation. These relationships range from counseling on an intended investment, overseeing the purchase of personal property or assets, or guiding a family member through a personal regulatory or legal obstacle. Ryan becomes the extra-familial general counsel working side-by-side with his clients and other professionals to orchestrate the transfer of assets, redefine roles and responsibilities from one generation to the next, and assist in the education and guidance of up-and-coming family members on the intricacies of the family’s assets.
- Chambers USA 2019, Cannabis Law, Band 1
- "Top 100 Lawyers" in California (2018) - The Daily Journal
- "Top 40 Under 40" leading lawyers in California (2016) - The Daily Journal
- Trailblazers in Cannabis Law - National Law Journal (2018)
Memberships and Affiliations
- Founding member, chair, Cannabis Law Committee, Bar Association of San Francisco
- Lifetime member of the National Cannabis Bar Association
- Member of the National Cannabis Industry Association
- Former member, Board of Advisors, Sprouts Cooking Club