Overview of Our Marijuana & Cannabis Law Practice
Marijuana is now legal for recreational use by adults in at least seven states and Washington DC. Medical marijuana is legal in at least 26 states and several states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The international community is following suit, with an increasing number of nations decriminalizing or outright legalizing cannabis. With the legalization of marijuana, Colorado now brings in more tax dollars from cannabis than from liquor. The momentum is clear; cannabis is here to stay. Marijuana law is a combination of other practice areas, including business law, administrative law, intellectual property, criminal law and employment law; all of these are areas we are highly specialized in.
Colorado and Washington were the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana in the United States, with the approval of each state’s voters in 2012. In both states, adults 21 and over may legally possess one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana. At Glade Voogt Lopez Smith, we have attorneys licensed in both Washington and Colorado who can advise marijuana businesses and others on legal compliance with state and local law.
Glade Voogt Lopez Smith represents businesses and individuals who are engaged in the quickly-developing cannabis industry. Our current practice area focus is in:
- Denver and the greater Colorado area
- Seattle and throughout Washington State
We are able to assist licensed cannabis growers, processors, and retailers. Additionally we work with entrepreneurs and investors who are focused on bringing new goods, services, and sources of financing to the cannabis marketplace. At Glade Voogt Lopez Smith we assist with planning and structuring business entity, regulatory compliance, employment law, leasing, trademark protection and enforcement, contracts and licensing, litigation (including criminal defense), and mergers and acquisition.
Marijuana Regulatory Law Expertise
In the face of federal law that still criminalizes the manufacturing and distribution of cannabis, we deal with Colorado and Washington state cannabis regulators; this ever-changing regulatory landscape can be challenging and daunting to navigate on your own. Our attorneys, including former State and Federal prosecutors, proactively advise clients on all aspects of regulatory compliance. Should you ever receive an inquiry from a regulator, we can guide you on dealing with the appropriate regulatory agency. If the resolution is unsuccessful, we can represent you in the administrative appeals process. Our Regulatory Compliance services include advice on permit and licensing processes, legal compliance audits, and monitoring existing and evolving state and local regulations for marijuana businesses. We also represent companies and individuals accused of violating criminal marijuana or money laundering laws.
Legal Services for Marijuana & Cannabis Businesses
Our business attorneys can assist you in the legal aspects of starting and growing your cannabis business. From selecting the best legal entity for your unique situation to negotiating your contracts with partners, investors, and vendors. In addition, we can help you establish and protect your brands. While the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not permit the registration of trademarks on cannabis, we have assisted clients with strategies to protect their marijuana trademarks that do not involve registration. Through a variety of means, such as the negotiation and preparation of licensing agreements or through enforcement action such as litigation, we can help you protect your brands.
Employment Law Help for Marijuana Companies
Businesses in the cannabis industry, like any other industry, face a myriad of employment and labor law issues. This includes state and federal anti-discrimination laws (e.g., ADA, FMLA, Title VII), wage hour compliance issues (e.g., minimum wage and overtime laws), as well as other employment law issues such as wrongful discharge claims, severance agreements, and non-compete issues, among others. We have vast experience in employment and labor law issues and are able to help you address challenging situations before they turn into expensive problems. We did this for a Colorado cannabis business employer whom we have advised regarding resolution of various issues including disability claims, wage-hour issues and allegations of harassment. We appreciate that employment law requires more than a one-size-fits-all approach. The issues involved are often highly fact-specific and sensitive. Our attorneys appreciate these complexities (often unique to the cannabis industry) and will work with you to achieve your objectives.
Our Marijuana & Cannabis Law Practice Attorneys
- Cynthia R. Smith, Practice Leader
- Asher M.B. Ritmiller
- Edward L. Shepyer
- Eric J. Voogt