Cannabis practices are sprouting as big law firms follow the money. Cannabis is now a $10 billion industry and the number of states that have legalized it has grown to 28.
The fox rothschild is a cannabis company that has been recognized as one of the top 10 most valuable companies in the world. This is due to their innovation and expertise in the cannabis industry.
Known for being a risk averse individual Big Even though the substance is still mostly illegal under federal law, law firms are forming cannabis practice groups as a growing number of states allow recreational and medical usage.
Cannabis professionals come from a wide range of backgrounds, mirroring the many problems that their customers confront. In a constantly evolving field where voters and legislators move to advance—and sometimes fight—legalization, attorneys must be adaptable.
Eric Berlin, who co-leads Dentons’ cannabis practice and helped design and approve Illinois and Ohio medical cannabis legislation, stated, “This is not for the faint of heart.” “You have to cope with a certain amount of uncertainty.”
Cannabis businesses need legal counsel in a variety of areas, including intellectual property, employment, taxation, licensing and regulatory compliance, financing and financial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and a variety of other areas. This provides a plethora of billable possibilities for attorneys.
“First and foremost, the law must be followed. The expertise comes first, and then you use it to help the industry. “Knowing what you’re talking about and applying it to the intricacies of the business is what makes you a successful lawyer for the industry,” Shabnam Malek said. The intellectual property lawyer is the founding president of the International Cannabis Bar Association and co-founded the Brand & Branch legal practice in Oakland, California.
For law firms, the legal uncertainty has been a stumbling barrier.
Attorneys, according to Kathryn Ashton, a Dentons partner in Chicago who founded the firm’s 50-lawyer practice group, “aren’t particularly renowned for a great appetite for risk.”
This fear of taking risks is dissipating now that 19 states have legalized recreational and medical cannabis, and 34 have legalized therapeutic usage. The fact that the worldwide legal cannabis industry is expected to reach $91.5 billion by 2028, according to Grand View Research, adds to the allure.
According to cannabis industry research firm New Frontier Data, the U.S. market will expand at a rate of 21% per year until 2025, when it will reach $41.5 billion. By 2025, medical cannabis sales in the United States are expected to reach $16.3 billion, with regulated adult-use sales expected to reach $25.1 billion.
According to practice chair Jonathan S. Robbins, Akerman started its cannabis legal business seven years ago because of the potential for growth.
“It’s a large corporation. It’s an established company with roots in the South, as well as an AmLaw 100 business. That’s important since there was no cannabis legislation in place when Robbins began his business in 2014.
It all starts with a phone call.
Ashton is a financial attorney specialized in tax-exempt organizations and health care in Denton. When a customer inquired about obtaining a medical cannabis license in Illinois, she entered the industry in 2014.
Cannabis, like health care, would be a highly regulated market, an intriguing practice, and would grow into a “huge US industry that has grown up state-by-state in the face of federal prohibition,” according to Ashton, who saw an opportunity for “Big Law to have a role because this is a multifaceted industry.”
Most cannabis attorneys at big firms provide just a portion of the services they provide to their clients in this growing practice area. Akerman’s Robbins advises broker-dealers and other financial services companies, while Ashton continues to serve a broad variety of health care, elder living, and banking clients.
Dentons has approximately ten attorneys in the United States that devote all or almost all of their time to cannabis-related issues. Another ten attorneys devote considerable time to these cases, while another 30-40 are engaged on a regular basis. In all, approximately 100 Dentons attorneys from the United States have worked in the sector, according to Berlin.
Joseph Bedwick, co-chair of Cozen O’Connor’s cannabis industry team in Philadelphia, stated, “I’m a business attorney, M&A, corporate transactional attorney by trade.” Clients of cannabis businesses “have the same requirements as anybody else, except they work in a regulated sector that is federally illegal.”
Gaming was important in establishing Fox Rothschild’s 70-lawyer cannabis practice, according to co-chair William Bogot. For seven years, Bogot served as the Illinois Gaming Board’s acting general counsel and legal counsel.
Bogot said, “I didn’t go into cannabis; it got inside me.” The state’s cannabis competitive bidding procedure is “very much patterned after Illinois’ ten casinos.”
“Both are heavily controlled, and they are very different in each state. The only distinction is that gambling isn’t banned at the federal level, according to Bogot.
In 2015, when Florida started granting medicinal cannabis licenses, Foley & Lardner partner James McKee, a business litigator, received a similar “call out of the blue.” The firm’s journey into defending cannabis clients in regulatory and other issues began with that.
“Even though I cut my teeth on constitutional problems, I’d say probably 50 percent -60 percent of my business is in marijuana regulation work right now,” McKee said.
Foley saw a 63 percent rise in cannabis-related collections/revenues from fiscal year 2019 to fiscal year 2020, according to company spokesperson Shannon Reith.
According to partner Seth Goldberg, Duane Morris developed its 50- to 60-lawyer business with lawyers “who are regularly working on cannabis issues in their different areas of expertise, whether it corporate, litigation, regulatory, IP, tax,” as well as additional attorneys supporting the core group.
Goldberg said, “We definitely look forward to continuing to develop as the business expands.”
A Lawyer by Any Other Name is a Lawyer by Any Other Name is a Lawyer by
Lawyers must be nimble in order to keep up with the rapidly changing rules and regulations around legal cannabis.
According to Irán Hopkins, an Akerman real estate associate in Los Angeles, cannabis businesses in California must traverse 18 organizations for licensing cultivation or production, including state and municipal institutions.
“Today, it is the world’s most heavily regulated business. Hopkins said, “Anyone who commits to cannabis is doubling down on schoolwork.”
Attorneys gradually embraced the label of “cannabis attorney,” just as the legal profession took a long time to delve into cannabis activities for fear of upsetting other clients or hurting business, according to lawyers.
Joshua Ashby, a Fox Rothschild associate in Seattle who handles transactions for a range of startup clients, said, “I fought being branded a cannabis attorney for a long time.” “It turns out that everyone in the cannabis business is a startup.”
According to Sativa Rasmussen of Dorsey & Whitney in Seattle, “new areas of law don’t come up every day,” putting young lawyers “on a bit of a level playing field with practitioners who have been practicing 20-25 years.”
“As a whole, cannabis law gives young, entrepreneurial lawyers the chance to carve out a niche for themselves,” Rasmussen said.
As the legalization of cannabis becomes more widespread, law firms that were early adopters are being poached. According to Ackerman’s Robbins, larger companies that are now establishing operations are “spending a lot of money at these lawyers.”
“Every legal firm will rush in with both feet the minute federal prohibition ends,” Robbins said. “Cannabis will be practiced by all of them.”
The what is fox rothschild known for is a question that many people ask themselves. Fox Rothschild LLP has been the top cannabis law firm in the United States since its inception.
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