Less than one year after hemp production was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its proposed industrial hemp regulations. These eagerly anticipated regulations establish a proposed federal domestic hemp production program, as authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. More
The cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the United States economy, with many states having legalized the use of marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes. However, inconsistent state laws, coupled with continued federal criminalization, make cannabis arguably the most complex market segment in which to operate. The cannabis industry presents a world of opportunity, but also poses a dizzying array of shifting laws, policies and practical challenges. Cozen O’Connor and our government relations affiliate, Cozen O'Connor Public Strategies, are attuned to these issues and the variety of contexts in which they arise.
Investors, entrepreneurs, and established legal enterprises within the cannabis industry are navigating uncharted territory, facing complex and unprecedented regulatory, investment, real estate, insurance, banking, intellectual property, and employment law issues, to name just a few. As the cannabis industry expands and insiders develop new strategies to operate effectively in this complex and ever-changing marketplace, they need lawyers who understand the industry and all of its complexities. To meet this need, Cozen O’Connor has developed an interdisciplinary, national team of lawyers and government affairs professionals to guide clients through the labyrinthine landscape of financing, manufacturing, processing, distributing, marketing and retail selling of marijuana under applicable state laws.
In an arena as complex as the cannabis industry, clients do not need the added burden of having to engage multiple law firms to meet their needs. Cozen O’Connor’s cannabis industry team presents a one-stop shop, and stands ready to tackle even the most daunting challenges our clients face. Our team offers the depth and breadth of relevant experience needed to operate effectively in the cannabis industry, offering decades of experience in the areas of the law that intersect with cannabis enterprises. Further, our cannabis industry team is studded with experience on the government and regulatory front, including public affairs professionals whose fingers remain on the pulse of relevant regulatory and legislative developments and who have vast experience representing clients’ interests at the local, state and federal levels.
Cozen O’Connor is uniquely suited to meet cannabis industry clients’ needs. From its humble beginnings in the 1970s as a four-lawyer upstart, to its current status as one of the top 100 firms, with over 700 lawyers in 27 cities across two continents, Cozen O’Connor holds tenacity, creativity and a strong entrepreneurial spirit as hallmarks of the firm’s identity. Our cannabis industry team will bring these qualities to bear on each client’s unique circumstances in this very unique industry.
Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and as such it remains a federal crime to grow, sell and/or use marijuana. Any content contained herein is not intended to provide legal advice to assist with violation of any state or federal law.
December 02, 2019
Less than one year after hemp production was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its proposed industrial hemp regulations. These eagerly anticipated regulations establish a proposed federal domestic hemp production program, as authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.
November 26, 2019
Abby Sacunas discusses how cannabis companies can help ensure their contractual agreements are enforced.
November 25, 2019
Lindsey Stillwell and Joseph Bedwick discuss the MORE Act and what happens with the legislation now.
October 14, 2019
Ashley Kessler reviews trademark applicant process for hemp and hemp-derived CBD products and how date of “first use anywhere” and “date of first use in commerce” could impact who gets the trademark.
October 07, 2019
Germain DeMartinis discusses the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019, what happens next, and what this means for the cannabis industry.
September 20, 2019
Germain DeMartinis discusses implications for vaporizer manufacturers and licensed retailers of vaporizers.
September 05, 2019
Abby L. Sacunas discusses a DEA Federal Notice advising of its intent to issue new regulations for its marijuana growers program for scientific and medical research.
August 16, 2019
Adam Gutmann and Anna Wermuth discuss what employers should do to comply with the new Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
August 05, 2019
Richard Fama & Kristin Keehan discuss the different regulatory bodies as well as various state laws that create these challenges for companies marketing CBD-containing products.
July 31, 2019
Abby L. Sacunas discusses the importance of remaining compliant with reporting obligations under the MMA.
July 15, 2019
Richard Fama and Kristin Keehan contributed an article to CBE discussing the high demands of CBD-containing products along with concerns from the FDA.
June 13, 2019
Edward Weisz wrote about the legal landscape for food and beverage manufacturers looking to enter the hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) market.
May 06, 2019
The USPTO issued an examination guide on May 2, 2019 regarding the examination of trademarks for cannabis and cannabis-related goods and services after the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill. The Guide answers some questions about how applications are going to be reviewed going forward, and how current pending applications are going to be reviewed, but also opens up a whole host of additional questions and uncertainties.
January 17, 2019
George Voegele and Ben Shechtman discuss a New Jersey court's dismissal of plaintiff’s claims of disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and retaliation and what this could mean for other states including Pennsylvania, Arizona, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Connecticut.
December 06, 2018
Mariah Passarelli, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, wrote an article for Law360 discussing the top 10 pitfalls of health care employers pertaining to the ADA, the MMA, and the crossroads between these two complicated statutes.
December 03, 2018
Danielle Sapega wrote about the rise of medical marijuana and the growing trends.
November 30, 2018
Edward Weisz and Alanna Miller, both of Cozen O'Connor's Intellectual Property department, published an article in Intellectual Property Magazine, exploring the United States legal landscape for cannabis brands.
November 20, 2018
Mariah Passarelli, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, wrote an article for the Pittsburgh Human Resources Association on the crossroads facing the ADA and the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act.
November 16, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, wrote an article in Law360 about the impact on Canadians that are involved in a cannabis business entering the United States.
October 11, 2018
Heidi Schwartz and Richard Silpe discuss three cases published this past summer that provide guidance to cannabis businesses and their owners in preparing their federal income tax returns. These cases turn on the application of IRC Section 280E, which precludes taxpayers from deducting any expense relating to a business that consists of trafficking in cannabis.
September 25, 2018
Scott Bettridge warns Canadian professionals employed in the cannabis industry that travel to the United States may not lead to routine entry and should continue to exercise caution on any upcoming travels.
June 26, 2018
Heidi Schwartz discusses the updated SBA policy prohibiting lending to marijuana and hemp-related businesses — and to businesses that work with them.
June 18, 2018
On June 7, Senators Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., introduced a bill that would permit states to pass their own marijuana laws without interference from the federal government. The bill is a bipartisan response to the steps taken by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse Obama-era protections for cannabis businesses that are operating in compliance with state cannabis laws.
May 09, 2018
Brett Taylor and Amy Alderfer, members of the firm's Commercial Litigation Department, co-authored, "Pay Attention To The Law And The Science Of Cannabidiol," for Law360.
April 26, 2018
J. Nicole Martin discusses the recent expansion to Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana program that broaden the types of products available for patients and the types of conditions that may be treated with medicinal marijuana.
April 25, 2018
On today’s call, Mark Alderman, Howard Schweitzer, Jim Davis, Allison Wils, and Blake Rutherford of Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies walked through the current marijuana policy landscape, examining the Trump Administration’s impact on the industry, the complexity of conflicting state and federal laws, and the myriad ways the issue has evolved.
March 15, 2018
Thomas G. Wilkinson and Thomas M. O’Rourke discuss a case pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that could seriously undermine the ability of medical marijuana businesses to operate.
February 12, 2018
Thomas M. O’Rourke and Nicole Sprinzen discuss how the budget deal affects the cannabis industry.
January 11, 2018
Robert Lee and Heidi Schwartz discuss the possible impact of Attorney General Sessions recision of the Cole Memo on the Cannabis Industry.
December 20, 2017
Amy Alderfer, a member of the firm's Commercial Litigation Department, details California voters recent approval of Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
December 06, 2017
Tom Wilkinson discusses Keystone ReLeaf's request for an injunction against the state’s medical marijuana program after it was denied one of 12 coveted grower/processor permits granted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
September 29, 2017
In May, Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions sent a letter to Congress that zeroed in on the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, a cornerstone of federal cannabis legislation that has handcuffed the Department of Justice from using its resources to enforce the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in states with marijuana-legalization laws.
August 09, 2017
Bob Careless discusses how Pennsylvania municipalities are handling zoning cannabis related businesses.
July 26, 2017
Samantha Evans discusses the problem marijuana businesses are facing getting property and liability insurance coverage.
April 27, 2017
Richard J. Silpe and Heidi Schwartz discuss the obstacles, medical marijuana organizations are subject to limitations in deducting their business operating expenses — even if those business expenses are not otherwise illegal.
April 13, 2017
Richard Emge discusses Delaware's bill to legalize recreational marijuana and the primary restrictions proposed for retail marijuana stores.
March 08, 2017
Robert Lee discusses a new ruling released by the DEA establishing all marijuana extracts, not just THC, as illegal under federal law.
February 22, 2017
Avin S. Singh discusses the growing issue for those in the chain of distribution of the contents of a product’s label and whether it provides for an adequate warning of the side effects associated with consumption of marijuana.
February 02, 2017
Robert Lee and Rachael Wallace discuss the health and safety concerns created by a federally unregulated cannabis industry.
December 20, 2016
This client alert addresses trademark protection for companies in the cannabis industry and suggests strategies to address the limitations imposed on such companies by the current state of the law.
October 26, 2016
Robert Lee and Rachael Wallace discuss big banks’ refusal to service marijuana-related businesses.
October 18, 2016
Tom Wilkinson, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation department, discusses Pennsylvania's new medical marijuana law in the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
September 15, 2016
Robert Lee and Rachael Wallace discuss a recent (and unexpected) Ninth Circuit decision that barred the Department of Justice from pursuing criminal prosecutions of individuals from California and Washington who had strictly complied with state medical marijuana regulations.
August 29, 2016
George Voegele, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, discusses the impact of Pennsylvania's new medical marijuana act on employers.
May 10, 2016
George Vogele, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, discusses what employers should know about the new PA medical marijuana law in Law360.
April 14, 2016
Jim Davis and Joe Bedwick discuss Senate Bill 3, legalizing medical marijuana in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which the Pennsylvania Senate had approved the bill earlier in the week and the state House of Representatives passed on April 13, 2016. The governor announced he will sign the legislation on Sunday, April 17.
February 09, 2016
Abby Sacunas, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Products Liability practice, discusses litigation in the marijuana industry in Law360.
June 18, 2015
While the case highlights the growing tension between state and federal marijuana law, it is also welcome relief for employers who have or are considering a zero-tolerance drug policy based on federal law’s continued classification of marijuana as an illicit drug.
August 14, 2019
Debra Friedman was quoted in the North Bar Business Journal about how the legalization of cannabis impacts businesses managing pre-employment drug-testing.
March 13, 2019
Rich Fama discussed with Marijuana Ventures the rise of CBD products and the lack of clarity at the federal level on regulating CBD.
February 13, 2019
George Voegele discussed with Politico how the legalization of marijuana in states will likely make it more difficult for cannabis employers to find trained staff, who must pass certain background checks and receive approval by state's marijuana regulatory bodies.
February 08, 2019
Edward Weisz discussed with Corporate Counsel how different strains of cannabis can be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under the federal patent law which allows for patents to be places on plants.
January 17, 2019
Joe Bedwick, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Corporate practice, was quoted in Cannabis Business Times discussing how companies can be prepared to negotiate their terms.
January 02, 2019
Acreage will issue approximately 6.4 million Subordinate Voting Shares to Form Factory shareholders at a deemed price of $25 (USD) per share. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.
December 09, 2018
David Hackett, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, appeared on NBC10 @ Issue discussing the potential legalization of marijuana in New Jersey with host, Rosemary Connors.
October 22, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, did a question and answer in Forbes discussing the recent impact on immigration with the legalization of marijuana in Canada.
October 21, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times discussing the recent impact on immigration with the legalization of marijuana in Canada.
October 18, 2018
Stephen Pate, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, interviewed with ZBM 9 News of the Bermuda Broadcasting Company about the impact of that the legalization of cannabis has on the insurance industry.
October 18, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, was quoted in Politico discussing the recent impact on immigration with the legalization of marijuana in Canada.
October 16, 2018
Scott Bettridge, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Immigration practice, spoke with USA Today about the legalization of marijuana across Canada and the widespread fear that U.S. border guards will block Canadians working in the cannabis industry from traveling south into the United States.
April 19, 2018
Ed Weisz, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Intellectual Property department, discussed in Cannabis Dispensary Magazine about the trademark infringement disputes of Citigroup and a California dispensary.
April 17, 2018
Stephen Pate, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, was quoted in the Business Insurance article, Marijuana Insurers in Holding Patter After Sessions Memo.
April 04, 2018
Tom Casparian, a member of the firm's Commercial Litigation Department, was recently quoted in Cannabis Business Times's article, "The Golden State Rules."
March 14, 2018
George Voegele, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, was invited to discuss the intersection of medical marijuana and the law during a session at Philadelphia City Hall.
February 07, 2018
Richard Close, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Real Estate Practice Group, discusses the legal concerns of recreational marijuana growers due to the numbers of states legalizing the industry in Super Laywers.
August 21, 2017
Joe Bedwick, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Corporate practice, discusses Philadelphia area law firms setting up cannabis practices on Philly.com.
March 17, 2017
Mark Alderman and Jim Davis, both of Cozen O'Connor's Public Strategies, discuss PA cannabis cultivation application process in the Cannabis Business Times.
March 10, 2017
Mark Alderman, chairman of Cozen O'Connor's Public Strategies, discusses medical marijuana licenses in Pennsylvania on Philly.com.
December 19, 2016
Tom Wilkinson, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation department, discusses how Big Law is becoming more involved with cannabis legislation in Law360.
May 16, 2016
George Voegele, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, discusses Pennsylvania's new medical marijuana law on LVB.com.
April 14, 2016
Daniel Harrington discusses professional conduct in light of Pennsylvania's new medical marijuana legislation.