We started this blog four years ago with the express goal of becoming “a forum for discussion about the practical aspects of cannabis law and how it impacts those involved in this growing industry.” On our About Page, we implore you to reach out to us, believing that reader input would tells us what sorts of blog posts we should be doing and gives us information that better enables us to keep our pulse on constantly changing legal situations from state to state.
Setting aside all humility for just a moment, this blog has succeeded beyond our wildest expectations in both reach and in interactions with you, our readers. We consistently receive thoughtful comments both here and on our Canna Law Facebook page (which recently exceeded 100,000 likes) and, equally importantly, we get a steady stream of emails from lawyers, cannabis business-owners, and cannabis organizations, asking us about a particular legal matter and asking us to analyze it on our blog. More than anything else, we get emails asking us if we are aware of a case on “such and such” that may affect the industry as a whole.
A few weeks ago, we did a blog post setting out what we as business lawyers to the cannabis industry actually do all day. We titled that piece Cannabis Business Lawyers: What We Do and, in it, we described our cannabis law work as follows:
Though we do no criminal work, we do provide far ranging legal services on a daily basis, including corporate structuring, contracts, dispute resolution, tax consulting, intellectual property, labor, real estate, licensing, compliance, and general operating advice. We provide these services to everyone from individual entrepreneurs and investors, to trade groups, to non-profits like NORML, and to publicly traded cannabis companies.
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Finally, we litigate. Having seen state-legal cannabis roll out in a series of jurisdictions, we have observed a natural arc that sees an uptick in administrative law litigation when new rules are imposed, and an uptick in partnership beefs after pot businesses are legally allowed to operate. Like businesses in any industry, the unfortunate reality is that not everyone succeeds and litigation is often a byproduct of that.
As legalization continues to spread, the number of cannabis litigation matters is spreading with it. Ten years ago, it would have been downright silly (from a legal perspective anyway) to sue an employer for terminating you for consuming cannabis. But with cannabis now legal in more than half the states, such lawsuits no longer seem so absurd and they’re increasing in frequency. And whereas ten years ago a lawsuit alleging a breach of a cannabis supply contract would have been laughed out of court, some states now treat them no differently than a breach of an agreement to supply pencils.
But nobody has yet sought to catalog all of these cannabis litigation matters in one (searchable) place.
Our plan is to put in one place — here on our blog under the category of “Cannabis Case Summaries” — every single cannabis civil case with a published court decision, going back to 2005. By civil case, we mean any case that involves cannabis or the cannabis industry that is not a criminal law matter. These cannabis case summaries are intended both to keep you up to date on cannabis laws as interpreted by the courts and also to serve as a resource for anyone conducting cannabis law research. We also will seek to provide key unpublished cannabis law decisions as well, when available.
Though a number of our lawyers, law clerks, and paralegals (from multiple states and countries) will be tasked with ferreting out all relevant civil cannabis cases that have been filed and/or published and summarizing them here on the blog, we nonetheless implore you to help. If you hear of any case anywhere that involves a civil court ruling that implicates cannabis in any way, please alert us to it as soon as you can. Please do that either with a comment on one of our blog posts, by messaging us on Facebook, or by sending an email to email@example.com.
And please start following our Cannabis Case Summaries.