Cannabis, CBD & Hemp
The cannabis industry continues to grow rapidly, even as state and federal laws remain mired in conflict. A majority of states have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes and many are laying the groundwork for recreational use. Following passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, states have turned toward the production of hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) products. Though this explosive growth has led to tremendous opportunities in health and wellness, pharmaceuticals, personal care, and food products, businesses and investors find themselves facing unprecedented challenges in navigating complex and sometimes conflicting local, state, and federal regulations.
Success in this emerging and sensitive industry requires a legal team that offers more than just a comprehensive knowledge of its evolving laws. Equally critical is an understanding of its intersection with the federal and state consumer protection regulations that impact an array of business and operational matters including licensing, marketing and advertising, product labeling, sales practices, consumer outreach, and compliance for physicians. Businesses operating outside the cannabis industry must also contend with its impact on their operations as they develop workplace policies addressing matters such as employee drug testing, insurance, and workers’ compensation.
With previous experience as former state regulators, the M&S team brings an intimate and practical knowledge of the law and a nuanced approach earned through decades working within other highly regulated industries. Whether you operate in the cannabis marketplace or are simply looking to manage the impact of medical marijuana in your workplace, we can help you understand, comply, adapt, and thrive against this evolving regulatory landscape.
We provide our cannabis industry clients with a full range of services that address their current business challenges and proactively identify and protect against future threats, including:
Licensing & Registration
Permission to produce and sell cannabis products comes in the form of licensure, which varies depending on the nature of the entity. From cultivator to dispensary, we help businesses obtain and maintain the licensing needed to operate legally.
Proactive compliance is critical to success in this sector, especially in complicated regulatory regimes like Ohio, home to some of the strictest industry governance in the nation. We advise clients on how to comply with the complex web of federal, state, and local regulations affecting cannabis businesses.
We provide comprehensive audits of our clients’ operations as well as their vendors and other partners to identify and remedy compliance gaps throughout the distribution chain. We also regularly conduct enterprise-wide compliance training to ensure employees understand applicable laws and the actions that can be taken to reduce risk.
Marketing & Advertising
Medical cannabis and CBD products are subject to some of the toughest state and federal regulations out there. Our team thoroughly reviews advertising and marketing materials across all media to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
Labor & Employment
We advise clients on developing and implementing effective policies that protect their interests, taking into account disability laws, drug testing requirements and practices, and insurance implications.
We help physicians comply with applicable regulations and develop best practices when recommending marijuana to their patients.
The threat of litigation looms large in the cannabis industry. We bring deep trial experience and a thorough understanding of the complex, state-specific regulations unique to cannabis litigation to deliver wins in the courtroom and at the pre-litigation stage.
State & Federal Investigations
We help businesses navigate and respond to investigations brought by state regulators and federal agencies.
Protecting our clients’ positions doesn’t end when the case is over. We advocate for client and industry interests in policy matters at both the state and national level.
Consumer Complaint Response
Consumer complaints are often “the canary in the coal mine.” We regularly assist businesses in responding to and resolving consumer issues before they lead to a government investigation or lawsuit. We also advise on how to use these complaints to proactively ward off future issues.