The marijuana industry has become one of the most rapidly emerging sectors over the last ten years. If you are considering establishing—or have already established—a legal marijuana business, then you may be wondering whether you need to hire a marijuana attorney or how to select the best lawyer for your needs. Here’s more on navigating the legal marijuana industry and what to consider when selecting a marijuana attorney.
Do I Need A Marijuana Lawyer?
Ever-changing laws and regulations are an unfortunate reality specific to the legal marijuana industry. In fact, marijuana’s status federally is still uncertain, and it may take years before any real change is enacted. Because of the frequent changes to the law, it is recommended that you retain the services of a marijuana lawyer if you are operating a business growing, processing, or selling legal marijuana. An experienced attorney would be aware of any changes to the laws surrounding cannabis and could help you keep your business in compliance with the latest regulations.
What Does A Marijuana Lawyer Do?
A marijuana lawyer can help you in a number of ways, depending on your business’s needs. From helping you to establish your business, to ensuring that you remain in compliance with local zoning and licensing laws, your lawyer will be a critical resource in navigating the world of legal marijuana. As a new business, you may also be considering trademarking your products and services or branding them in unique ways. Your marijuana lawyer can help to protect your intellectual property and to ensure that you do not violate existing copyrights. In the event that there is a legal dispute, your marijuana lawyer will be there to aggressively fight for your rights and represent your business in litigation.
Location, Location, Location
Where you will be operating your marijuana business will be a critical factor in selecting a marijuana lawyer. Because the laws surrounding marijuana differ from state to state, and even from county to county, you will want to retain a lawyer that focuses their practice in the geographical area where you will be operating your business. A local marijuana lawyer typically will be well versed in local regulations and ordinances and likely will be familiar with the bureaucracy that regulates the industry. Your lawyer may also have local contacts within the cannabis industry itself that could be useful in establishing or expanding your business. Be wary of not working directly with the lawyer. If they are just passing you have to another firm, do your homework on that firm.
When searching for a marijuana lawyer, the importance of experience within the industry cannot be overstated. You should look for a lawyer or law firm that has been at the forefront of marijuana law. It is also important that your attorney have experience in the business world generally. While legal marijuana is an emerging industry, business law has been around for over a hundred years. A lawyer with both business and marijuana law experience will be best suited to help you through the legal matters associated with starting a business and navigating the marijuana industry.
It is likely that you have invested a considerable amount of time and money into your business, so you will want to find an attorney who you feel you can trust to handle your business with the utmost care. Some law firms’ websites have client testimonials that you can consider when deciding on an attorney. A cannabis business gets reviews. So do cannabis lawyers. On Google and Yelp. Look them up. They don’t always have to be perfect. You can’t please all of the people, all of the time. Still, it gives you a sense of what they are doing and what they are doing right. If the reviews are for all the criminal defense work they have done, or for what colorful videos they post on instagram, this might be red flag. You want a firm that practices in the area you need help in. If they are just posting videos or resting on the laurels of helping get bills passed in years gone past, look closer. When you interview your lawyer, ask the right questions. If it is a conflict that may require litigation, ask when is the last time they have been to trial and took a case to verdict. If you are trying to get a license approved, ask whether they have been through the process with this particular agency. If it a merger or purchase and sale, ask how many times they have engaged in these types of transactions. This is a service and you have to ask the tough questions, so you have the right attorney.