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Why Hire a Cannabis Law Attorney?
Since California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, thirty-three states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have approved cannabis legislation. While most of the current laws restrict use to medical purposes only, 10 states approved marijuana as an adult recreational drug.
Cannabis is a thriving nationwide industry. It incorporates growers, distributors, testing facilities, nurseries, retailers, and all-inclusive micro-businesses. Retailers market a large assortment of marijuana, THC, and CBD consumables and topical products. Each facet of the cannabis industry has a unique hybrid of legal issues and liability concerns. An experienced cannabis attorney can protect your financial and legal interests and act as an advocate on your behalf.
Experienced Cannabis Attorneys
The whole cannabis industry is transitioning through new business growing pains. The products are still controversial. The laws and legal standards are still in flux. The entire industry exists under federal government scrutiny. If you own a cannabis business, you still have the same organizational and compliance requirements as other companies. You also have an added layer of concerns as you're producing and marketing a product with lingering legal issues.
Cannabis attorneys make a difference by staying abreast of legal and social issues, evaluating your risks and requirements, and helping you implement sound legal solutions abiding by state laws.
Advice on Trending Legal Issues
Cannabis businesses are in the tenuous position of being legal at the state level yet illegal at the federal level. Cannabis is still a Schedule I substance under the 1970 Controlled Substance Act. In recent years, it's also become a political issue. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. Justice Department eased its position on enforcement and prosecution. In 2018 the DOJ backtracked, renewing its commitment to enforce the rule of law. Cannabis attorneys monitor these legal changes, determine how they affect your business, and provide relevant guidance.
Start-Up Legal Assistance
Each state and U.S. territory establishes its own business ownership laws, requirements, and guidelines. Obtaining a Cannabis business permit can be as simple as filing an online form and proceeding through an approval process. It can also be a complex event with multi-page applications, high submission fees, committee hearings, and extensive criminal records checks. Cannabis attorneys work with you as you organize your business and prepare to open your doors. They help you navigate the start-up process, avoid legal complications, and comply with state and local standards.
- Assist with state application legal issues
- Review loan contracts
- Set up business structures
- Create distributor, supplier and retailer contracts and agreements
- Review compliance with licensing, taxation, zoning, patient records, and other state requirements
Federal Tax and Program Monitoring and Advice
Marijuana's illegal federal status prevents businesses from taking advantage of federally backed programs and traditional business benefits. The Small Business Administration regularly discusses modifying its loan guidelines to include cannabis businesses. Until they do, your business doesn't qualify for SBA loans. Some banks take the same position.
While cannabis business income is federally taxable, federal code prevents business-owners from claiming traditionally taxable business expenses. Cannabis attorneys not only provide business guidance for these legal issues, they actively advocate change.
Liability Exposure Assessment and Analysis
As a cannabis business owner, you market a popular but controversial product. It's not a matter of if someone will make a claim against you. It's a matter of when. Marijuana's medical use can subject your business to medical malpractice exposures. Your publicly accessible business location is at risk for slip-and-fall and other premises liability issues. The CDC's recent announcement of a THC/Vaping injury connection is just one example of a cannabis industry product liability issue.
Cannabis attorneys understand your unique liability issues. They can assess your potential liability exposures and advise you about the best ways to protect your business.
Contact a Cannabis Lawyer
The nationwide cannabis legalization trend has created a unique cultural, business, and legal dynamic. Its diminished marijuana's stigma and freed many users from criminal status. It's generating an annual 10.4 billion dollar industry with a growing tax base.
Despite federal concerns, cannabis businesses are thriving and they're not likely to go away. As your business transitions through changing social, financial, and legal standards, a cannabis lawyer can provide the assistance you need to help your business stay legally compliant.