Never begin any cannabis business without the help of a qualified lawyer
No matter what state your cannabis business is in, the privilege of legal recreational or medicinal cannabis comes with a lot of legal implications. It’s not advised that any business person interested in cannabis retail try to do it without the help of a qualified lawyer. The great part is, many lawyers are now choosing to specialize in cannabis law and providing services wholly for the cannabis industry. Cannabis law is confusing as heck, and this is why you should be relying on someone whose job it is to know the cannabis laws inside out. Also, when you attempt to take legal requirements to task, you can end up missing some important legal details that can get you into hot water. Here is an overview of the ways marijuana business lawyers are working on behalf of cannabis business to protect them:
Simply put, there are too many complicated parts of opening up a cannabis business that you simply can’t cross all your Ts and dot all your Is without a cannabis lawyer. If you’re incorporating your cannabis business, you’ll need a lawyer to help you with those processes. They can also help you draft governance documents, ensure your business plan in airtight, have your proof of funds drafted, your capital plan secure, and most of all that all partners of the businesses are protected on their portion of ownership. If you’re creating a business partnership, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to have your lawyer look over your partnership agreements, and even have one drawn up within their office on your file. This will save a lot of headaches if a partnership is ever dissolved.
Licensing & Registration
Simply put, licensing and registration is a pain in the ass for cannabis companies, but a very necessary component of compliance for a cannabis company. Cannabis companies cannot afford to take their licensing and registration processes lightly. Each state, and municipality will have their own licensing and registration rules, and you will likely need a lawyer to help you navigate the requirements and the processes. From cultivation, to delivery, to dispensary, to distribution, to manufacturing, to laboratory testing, the world of cannabis licensing is broad, and the devil is in the details. In addition, in states like California that will allow people to apply for conditional use licenses for outdoor festivals, etc, which may have requirements that the hawk-eye of a cannabis-lawyer can help you sort out.
When you’re purchasing a property to use for a cannabis business, it’s not cut and dry like purchasing any other commercial property. Some cannabis lawyers specialize in cannabis real estate specifically, such as CalCann Holdings in California. They use experience in the real estate industry, tack on cannabis law, and provide a unique service to cannabis businesses by providing them with options for cannabis properties that have been properly zoned within municipal regulations. A cannabis lawyer will also ensure that your cannabis property meets all the regulatory requirements and make sure all your bases are covered in order to protect you from compliance violations.
No business is immune to the odd legal upset, and the cannabis business is no exception. Unfortunately, some cannabis businesses can find themselves at the center of disputes surrounding contracts, properties, administrative appeals, intellectual property, compliance, licensing, or in extreme cases, liabilities. A cannabis lawyer will not only help try to settle disputes out of court, but will also aim to protect the integrity of your cannabis business throughout the legal process, especially if it gets to the point of litigation. A recent example occurred when the Gorilla Glue strain was forced to ditch its name after being sued by a glue company of the same name. Lawyers protect businesses against litigation, cannabis lawyers protect cannabis businesses against litigation by bringing a strong knowledge base in cannabis law.
Products within the cannabis industry are developing at rapid rates, and if you’re creating something innovative for cannabis in a product, or an enhancement to existing technology, then you must consult a lawyer. Intellectual Property is a complicated, and a little dry, part of law, but 100% necessary to have in your legal plan if you plan to be a proprietor of something new in the cannabis business. Patents, licenses, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights are just a few examples of the intellectual property that can be developed within marijuana retail to keep ideas and innovations protected. If you have something new and you haven’t taken the legal steps to secure your intellectual property, people can snatch up your idea and start making money off it themselves.
Lobbying Locally on Your Behalf
Even if medicinal or recreational cannabis is legal in your municipality, you may come up across tough critics of marijuana who will try to take you down. This is where having a professional lawyer on your side is beneficial. Your cannabis legal representative is the professional face of your organization, who will meet the criticisms of council people, citizens, or community groups with education and an approach to educate. A cannabis lawyer can represent you in municipal planning processes, prepare the necessary documentation/presentations for city council meetings, and be who meets regulators of the law on behalf of your business so you don’t have to.
One of the biggest issues for marijuana retail is compliance, and this is the biggest area your cannabis lawyer will be overseeing. You have to be compliant in your marketing, advertising, zoning, packaging, inventory, just to name a few areas, and it always helps to have a legal eye on your compliance procedures. If you are given a citation, an administrative warning, or even worse, your license is lost for lack of compliance, you will need someone strong in rhetoric and knowledge to go to bat for you so you can resume your operations.
Simple, If You’re Not a Lawyer…
Cannabis is a tough space, even if it’s legalized within a certain municipality or state. It’s a highly contentious, highly regulated industry that has a lot of legal components to it. Lawyers are trained to help people through legal processes. Simply, if you’re not a lawyer, you can be hurting yourself and your cannabis businesses if you don’t consult a lawyer throughout your operations or if you ever find yourself in legal hot water. While legal fees may be a lot to pay up front that added protection can end up saving you millions down the road.