Cannabis

Surefooted counsel in rapidly changing legal terrain

The shortest distance between your cannabis business and success? Us.

A trusted guide for cannabis businesses.

Our lawyers are accustomed to addressing corporate legal matters in difficult emerging markets and can provide your cannabis business with the comprehensive legal planning, nimble local regulatory support, broad corporate guidance, and nuanced compliance strategies it requires.

We’ve helped hundreds of businesses navigate rapidly evolving cannabis regulation and policy, as well as a variety of corporate legal matters including formation and structuring, transactional agreements, IP, corporate governance, taxation, licensing, expansion, and the acquisition and leasing of real property. Our cannabis lawyers are highly experienced business attorneys and a much sought-after industry resource, consistently delivering a powerful combination of state-specific knowledge and national perspective.

With nearly a decade of multi-state experience in the nation’s fastest-growing medical and recreational cannabis markets, you won’t find a more experienced and reputable cannabis law team than Harris Bricken’s, anywhere. Our lawyers successfully serve the exacting needs of our California, Oregon and Washington state cannabis clients in this high-risk, thriving, and ever-changing industry.

National leaders and counsel to Cannabis businesses in California, Washington and Oregon

Harris Bricken’s renowned Cannabis Law attorneys are recognized national leaders at the forefront of the cannabis industry and the movement to legalize. Prior to legalization in Washington state, our attorneys formed a semi-independent sub-practice formerly known as the Canna Law Group to act as trusted and deeply knowledgeable industry advocates, helping to educate would-be cannabis operators, state and city council representatives, and an anxious public.

Over the years, as the effort to legalize cannabis has steadily progressed across state lines, our attorneys have been there. They have tirelessly continued to educate in an effort to help shape cannabis legislation and policy in some of the most dynamic, complex, and heavily scrutinized cannabis markets in the US.

With legalization, Harris Bricken’s well-established Corporate Law and Emerging Markets practices—in addition to our firm’s deep knowledge of cannabis regulation and extensive industry and regulatory networks—uniquely positioned us to build a robust, client-centered Cannabis Law practice. We’ve designed our practice to meet the unique needs, challenges and opportunities of our cannabis clients: the retailers, processors, growers, investors, and ancillary businesses that are the future of a strong, sustainable cannabis industry.

Since 2010, our Cannabis Law practice has grown considerably, but our commitment has always remained the same: to help our clients build a durable legal framework for long-term growth and success.

An intelligent, timely resource for the cannabis industry and major media outlets

Beyond advising individual businesses, our attorneys are committed to fortifying, defending, and building credibility for the industry as a whole. Harris Bricken’s cannabis business attorneys are more than legal strategists—they are thought leaders: forward-thinking bloggers, educators, writers, and speakers.

They regularly write articles for legal journals and frequently post to our acclaimed and widely followed Canna Law Blog. We speak to business groups, academic institutions, and government bodies on a variety of cannabis legal issues, and are frequently quoted by global and local media outlets.

Our cannabis lawyers consistently collaborate with the other lawyers in our firm to leverage a wide range of legal strengths and a national and international network of industry-leading professionals to offer our clients effective and timely support.

In the News

Top industry organizations and media outlets throughout the country and abroad turn to Harris Bricken for our perspective on the latest developments in cannabis law.

Full service planning for legal cannabis business

Our attorneys actively monitor local, domestic, and international legal and political developments affecting our clients’ businesses, reacting swiftly to keep them informed and in step with local and federal cannabis law.

our services

BUSINESS FORMATION

Harris Bricken attorneys help you choose the legal strategy that best matches your long-term business objectives.  Entity selection, licensing, operating agreements, employment contracts, corporate shareholder agreements, and partnership agreements can create vastly different rights and responsibilities for new and growth-stage business owners.

Our formation services include:

  • Entity selection and registration
  • Drafting of governance documents
  • Financing and capital contribution negotiations
  • Corporate governance and business operations
  • Commercial contracts and corporate transactions
  • Employment contracts
  • Licensing agreements
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Mergers and acquisitions

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Sales of ownership or significant assets fundamentally shift the operations and control of a business. From simple business sales or purchases to more involved issues of shareholder approval or spin-off of company divisions, Harris Bricken attorneys give our clients a critical edge in negotiating and closing their most important deals.

Our M&A services include:

  • Purchase and sale agreements
  • Operating agreements
  • Bylaws
  • Shareholder agreements
  • Investment agreements
  • Contribution agreements
  • Ownership option contracts
  • Consultant agreements
  • Vesting equity agreements
  • Lending agreements
  • Security interest agreements
  • Collateralization agreements

STATE LICENSING AND REGISTRATION

States across the country have embraced stringent licensing regimes for marijuana entrepreneurs. Each state’s licensing process is different, and each is demanding and capital-intensive. To obtain their state license or registration, new marijuana businesses face a long, labor-intensive process fraught with changing laws, multiple state agencies, and an ongoing list of state regulations and standards. At Harris Bricken, we’ve built a national reputation for making the state licensing process as efficient and successful as possible.

Our licensing and registration services include:

  • Guidance regarding compliance with state regulations and the interplay between governing state agencies
  • Business plan development
  • Education regarding ongoing compliance with applicable regulations
  • Development of required manuals and handbooks to meet state regulations
  • Financial reviews to ensure compliance with state regulations
  • Compilation of license and registration applications
  • License application assistance for cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers

REGULATORY COMPLIANCE

Compliance with state and local rules and laws is crucial to the survival and success of your business. Harris Bricken attorneys act as in-house counsel to hundreds of marijuana businesses. We provide routine due diligence and careful vigilance regarding changes in state and local regulations to ensure our clients remain fully compliant with all state and federal law.

Our compliance services include:

  • State license application assistance
  • Drafting and managing of operational plans to be submitted to state and municipalities for operational licenses
  • Advice and assistance on local permitting and licensing processes
  • Periodic legal compliance audits
  • Monitoring existing and changing state and local regulations for marijuana businesses

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE & FINANCING AGREEMENT

Decision-makers owe duties of good faith, loyalty, and good care to their companies, and they must know what those duties entail. Harris Bricken attorneys provide business entities and their leadership with a thorough understanding of their rights and responsibilities so that our clients can prevent, and quickly resolve, their internal issues.

Our corporate governance services include:

  • Negotiating and drafting operating agreements and shareholders agreements
  • Drafting corporate bylaws
  • Creating plans to maintain meeting minutes and other corporate documents
  • Identifying and accounting for conflicts of interest
  • Mediating corporate disputes
  • Drafting initial financing and loan agreements

TRANSACTIONAL AGREEMENTS – CORPORATE/COMMERCIAL AGREEMENTS

Harris Bricken attorneys keep our clients informed, protected, and ready for what’s next with robust, industry-focused contracts. A sound contract is invaluable for providing stability and predictability to businesses engaged in a rapidly-changing market. Our big picture perspective ensures that we understand the nuances and terms of each deal.

We negotiate and draft virtually all types of corporate and commercial agreements, including:

  • Shareholder Agreements
  • Employment Agreements
  • Non-Compete/Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • Commercial lease review and advisement
  • Company purchase and sale agreements

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Cannabis businesses contend with a variety of complex legal issues as they seek to register, protect, and license their trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and other intellectual property. They must stay abreast of the legal restrictions that affect how they protect and leverage their cannabis brands and their other intellectual property rights. Harris Bricken’s attorneys are well-versed in the unique challenges our clients face when it comes to securing their IP and we take swift action to identify and implement the specific protections they need.

Our IP services include:

  • Branding establishment and support
  • IP licensing
  • IP contract drafting and negotiation
  • State and federal trademark searches
  • Counseling on trademark law, trade secret, and other intellectual property matters
  • Trade secret agreements
  • In-state screening and registration of trademarks
  • Policing and enforcing of registered trademarks
  • Domain name disputes
  • Copyrights
  • IP litigation
  • Trademark and other intellectual property counseling related to secondary merchandise such as clothing and glassware

CANNABIS LITIGATION

Harris Bricken attorneys are known for their ability to navigate the most challenging aspects of marijuana law. Harris Bricken has successfully represented cannabis businesses in legal disputes relating to contracts, intellectual property rights, licensing, administrative appeals, municipal disputes, and landlord/tenant issues. Having both defended and prosecuted a wide range of claims on behalf of marijuana businesses in multiple states, we know how to guide you through this complex process and to help you achieve the sustainable results your business needs.

  • Litigation against cities in defense of your cannabis business
  • Administrative hearings regarding the denial or revocation of business license
  • Administrative hearings regarding the denial or revocation of your state-issued cannabis license
  • Tax litigation against IRS and Departments of Revenue from state to state
  • Civil litigation regarding commercial leases and landlord disputes
  • Civil litigation of zoning compliance issues
  • Litigation of contract disputes
  • Litigation of trademark disputes

ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS

Harris Bricken attorneys understand the exacting standards marijuana businesses must meet to prevail in state administrative hearings and on appeals. Failure to comply with the strict timelines and detailed rules mandated by your state can mean compromising your appeal or losing your window to appeal altogether. Once your appeal has been submitted, we’ll work with you to building the timely, and well-researched arguments crucial to maintaining your successful appeal.

  • Business license revocations and denials
  • Specialty license revocation denials
  • Fines, sanctions and penalties for violations

REAL PROPERTY

Marijuana commercial leaseholds and real property purchases demand experienced legal counsel and proactive planning. Through effective lease, purchase and sale negotiation and dispute resolution, Harris Bricken attorneys help build secure and sustainable relationships between landlords, tenants, buyers, and sellers across the country. Our attorneys focus on helping clients establish strong communication and agreements from the start to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship in the face of Federal prohibition. Beyond lease and purchase and sale drafting and review, our attorneys regular defend and prosecute a wide range of claims involving eviction, unpaid rent, purchase and sale default, and property damage.

Our real property services include:

  • Developing landlord marketing packages to describe cannabis business models for banks and other lenders
  • Drafting leaseholds to accommodate cannabis business
  • Review and advise regarding commercial leases
  • Amendments to commercial leases
  • Litigation and mediation
  • Drafting real property purchase and sale agreements
  • Due diligence for real property purchases and sales

AWARD-WINNING CANNA LAW BLOG

Understand your rights, responsibilities, and opportunities everywhere you operate.

Follow our Canna Law Blog for in-depth analysis and up-to-the-minute information on the laws and issues affecting the cannabis industry.

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