Cozen O’Connor: Cannabis

Cannabis

Featured Publication:

DEA Issuing New Regulations to Address Growing Cannabis Research Needs [Alert]

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.

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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. 

Experience

Publications

DEA Issuing New Regulations to Address Growing Cannabis Research Needs [Alert]

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.

What Marketers Should Know About the Regulation of CBD-Based Products

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.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Revokes Argimed Grow Process Permit for Regulatory Violations [Alert]

July 31, 2019

Abby L. Sacunas discusses the importance of remaining compliant with reporting obligations under the MMA.

CBD-Based Products: What Marketers Should Know in Today's Uncertain Regulatory Landscape [Cannabis Business Executive]

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.

Why CBD-infused food and beverages could be ripe for a labelling class action [World Trademark Review]

June 13, 2019

Edward Weisz wrote about the legal landscape for food and beverage manufacturers looking to enter the hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) market.

CBD Is Still Not Free (To Register): An Update on Trademark Registration Guidelines for Cannabis Products [Alert]

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.

New Jersey Federal Court Finds That Employee Medical Marijuana Use Need Not Be Accommodated at Work

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.

Medical Marijuana Poses ADA Risks For Pa. Health Care Cos. [Law360]

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.

Gaps in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Law [The Journal of Lancaster General Hospital]

December 03, 2018

Danielle Sapega wrote about the rise of medical marijuana and the growing trends.

Alerted states for cannabis brands [Intellectual Property Magazine]

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.

The ADA and Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana: Top 5 Pitfalls for Healthcare Employers

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.

Can Canadians Enter US For Cannabis-Related Business? [Law360]

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.

Business Deductions Up In Smoke [Cannabis Alert]

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.

U.S. Travel Issues for Professionals Working in the Cannabis Industry [Alert]

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.

SBA Anti-Cannabis Lending Policy Creates Obstacles for Non-Cannabis Businesses [Cannabis Alert]

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.

STATES Act Would Exempt Legal Cannabis from Controlled Substances Act [Cannabis Alert]

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.

Pay Attention To The Law And The Science Of Cannabidiol

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.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program Expansion Impacts Patients, Physicians, and Dispensaries [Cannabis Alert]

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.

The Beltway Briefing Policy Spotlight Call – The Politics & Policy of Cannabis

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.

Federal Judge to Rule on “Fundamental Clash” Between PA’s Medical Marijuana Act and Federal Law [Cannabis Alert]

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.

Federal Budget Deal Reaffirms Executive Legislative Branch Split in Legalized Medical Marijuana Policy [Cannabis Alert]

February 12, 2018

Thomas M. O’Rourke and Nicole Sprinzen discuss how the budget deal affects the cannabis industry.

Sessions Jeopardizes Safe Haven for Cannabis Industry [Cannabis Alert]

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.

California’s Adult Use of Cannabis: Cutting Through the Haze

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.

Lawsuit Seeks to Shut Down Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program Before It Even Sets Up Shop [Cannabis Alert]

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.

Sessions Targets Pot, But Six Bills Could Keep the Industry Rolling [Cannabis Industry Alert]

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.

Zoning Hurdles for Budding Pennsylvania Cannabis Businesses [Cannabis Alert]

August 09, 2017

Bob Careless discusses how Pennsylvania municipalities are handling zoning cannabis related businesses.

The Growing Business of Marijuana [Cannabis Alert]

July 26, 2017

Samantha Evans discusses the problem marijuana businesses are facing getting property and liability insurance coverage.

Federal and Pennsylvania Tax Deduction Limitations on Medical Marijuana Businesses [Cannabis Alert]

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.

Delaware Legislature Considers Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Use [Cannabis Alert]

April 13, 2017

Richard Emge discusses Delaware's bill to legalize recreational marijuana and the primary restrictions proposed for retail marijuana stores.

Has the DEA Overstepped by Codifying Marijuana Extracts, Including CBD, as Schedule 1 Substances? [Cannabis Industry Alert]

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.

The Failure to Warn of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

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.

Lack of Federal Cannabis Regulations Continue to Foster Health and Safety Concerns [Cannabis Industry Alert]

February 02, 2017

Robert Lee and Rachael Wallace discuss the health and safety concerns created by a federally unregulated cannabis industry.

Protection of Marijuana Brands in the United States [Cannabis Industry Alert]

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.

Financial Institutions Continue to Bank on Status Quo with New Round of Marijuana Account Closures [Cannabis Industry Alert]

October 26, 2016

Robert Lee and Rachael Wallace discuss big banks’ refusal to service marijuana-related businesses.

Pennsylvania’s New Medical Marijuana Law: The Legal Roadmap For A Growing Industry [Pennsylvania Bar Association]

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.

Ninth Circuit Enjoins DOJ from Prosecuting Medical Marijuana Growers, But Future Uncertain [Cannabis Industry Alert]

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.

The Impact of Pennsylvania's New Medical Marijuana Act [The Pennsylvania Lawyer]

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.

New Pa. Medical Marijuana Law: What Employers Should Know [Law360]

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.

Medical Marijuana Legal in Pennsylvania [Cannabis Industry Alert]

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.

Litigation In The Marijuana Industry Lights Up [Law360]

February 09, 2016

Abby Sacunas, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Products Liability practice, discusses litigation in the marijuana industry in Law360.

Employers May Fire Employees for State-Licensed Medical Marijuana Use, Colorado Supreme Court Holds [Labor & Employment Alert]

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.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

What’s Trending in Labor and Employment Law

May 23, 2019 - Pittsburgh, PA

Business Issues in the Cannabis Industry

April 09, 2019 - Minneapolis, MN

Current Topics in Cannabis and CBD

March 26, 2019 - Santa Monica, CA

Health Law 2019

December 05, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA

2017 Health Law Year In Review

December 06, 2017 - Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Labor and Employment Relations Association

November 14, 2017 - Philadelphia, PA

Legal Guide to PA Medical Marijuana Act

October 18, 2017 - Philadelphia, PA

Labor and Employment Law Update

June 14, 2017 - Philadelphia, PA

ACCGP's Health, Biotech & Pharma Law CLE Institute

May 18, 2017 - King of Prussia, PA

In The News

California employers wrestle with drug testing after cannabis legalization

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.

Hazy Regulations, Huge Reward

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.

Marijuana Legalization Raises Workplace Safety Worries

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.

Outside Counsel: Federal Trademarks Still Difficult to Obtain for Cannabis Companies

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.

6 Fundamentals of Structuring a Multi-Million-Dollar Cannabis Deal

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.

Cozen O’Connor Advises Cannabis Industry Leader, Acreage Holdings, Inc., in $160 Million Acquisition of Form Factory, Inc.

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.

What's Next as Pot Nears Legalization in NJ?

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.

What Canada's Marijuana Law Means For Travelers And Businesses

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.

Pot Topics: Canada legalizes cannabis; Colorado pot sales top 1B

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.

The Breakdown with Toni Waterman - Oct 18th 2018

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.

Regulatory roundup

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.

Will legal marijuana get thousands of people banned from entering the U.S. from 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.

Citigroup Requests California Dispensary Citidank Stop Infringing on Trademark

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.

Marijuana Insurers in Holding Pattern After Sessions Memo [Business Insurance]

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.

The Golden State Rules

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."

Philly Council panel wants to develop workplace guidelines on medical marijuana

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.

The Growing Concerns of Marijuana Producers

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.

Philly-Area Law Firms Bullish on Cannabis Despite Grave Legal Risks

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.

Pressing Questions Answered About PA’s Cannabis Cultivation Application Process

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.

Pot of Gold: Tycoons and Others are in Frenzied Race to Win Pa. Medical Marijuana Licenses

March 10, 2017

Mark Alderman, chairman of Cozen O'Connor's Public Strategies, discusses medical marijuana licenses in Pennsylvania on Philly.com.

Smoke Point: How BigLaw Finally Learned to Try Pot

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.

George Voegele Discusses Pennsylvania's New Medical Marijuana Law

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.

Daniel Harrington Discusses Professional Conduct after Medical Marijuana Legislation

April 14, 2016

Daniel Harrington discusses professional conduct in light of Pennsylvania's new medical marijuana legislation.

Contacts

Joseph C. Bedwick

Member

jbedwick@cozen.com

(215) 665-4753

Sandra A. Bloch

General Counsel

sbloch@cozen.com

(215) 665-2722

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