The laws surrounding the cannabis industry are ever-changing, and to complicate matters, federal, state and municipal laws and regulations can be confusing and even contradictory. There is no question about it, you need to hire a cannabis lawyer. And if you were wondering if you could get by without one, the short answer to this is “no“. A good attorney specializing in the cannabis industry will protect you, your business and most importantly, your investments.
Here are the five things you need from a cannabis lawyer
1. Legal Representation
A professional cannabis lawyer should represent you in legal matters. Just like business lawyers do so in other industries, they should provide a range of legal services. These services may include:
- Dispute resolution
- Corporate structuring
- Tax consulting
- Intellectual property
- General operating advice
You should have legal representation whether you’re an individual entrepreneur or investor. These services are also applicable to nonprofits, trade groups, and publicly listed cannabis-related companies.
2. Licensing and Registration Help
Getting a license for your cannabis business can be an uphill battle. Business registration is also tasking, yet a very crucial component of compliance. You cannot afford to take the process of registration and licensing lightly.
As of January 2020, 33 states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes. Eleven states and Washington D.C. have legalized cannabis for recreational use. States set individual rules and regulations govern the process. To increase your chances of being up to date with all the news and fast-changing regulations and laws, you need a cannabis attorney. Cultivation, delivery, dispensary, distribution, and manufacturing all form part of the cannabis industry.
Each one of them has its requirements which a hawk-eyed lawyer can help you sort out. In California for example, you can apply for conditional licenses for use in outdoor activities. In other states, there might not be such provisions, and it’s essential to check with an attorney.
3. Lobbying On Your Behalf
The cannabis business is not without its fair share of challenges. Even if the cannabis business is legal in your locality, critics may be against the industry. Having a professional lawyer who understands the industry is beneficial to you.
Your lawyer will be your professional face that’ll combat the naysayers and other obstacles that you may encounter within your community. They’ll lobby on your behalf with other local businesses, citizens, council people, or community groups. The additional advantage with be that professional will add a degree of seriousness and professionalism to an often maligned industry.
4. Cannabis Lawyer Helps with Compliance
One of the most complex issues will likely be compliance. This is one of the areas that your cannabis lawyer should oversee. Compliance applies to all aspects of your business including but not limited to:
It always pays to have a lawyer keep an eye on compliance procedures. If you get an administration warning for lack of compliance, a good cannabis lawyer will help.
5. Intellectual Property Representation
The rapid development of the cannabis industry has seen many products come to market. If your business involves the development of innovative products, you need a lawyer that specializes in cannabis and intellectual property.
It’s vital to have legal representation if you’re developing a new product or brand in the industry. Copyrights, patents, trademarks, and licenses are a few examples of intellectual property waters.
When you think about a cannabis lawyer, it’s not just about representation in court. A good cannabis lawyer will offer you much more than protection when you have run afoul with the law, having a good cannabis lawyer will help you mitigate the legal risks associated with the cannabis industry.
The cannabis industry is a complex and uncertain space and still very contentious although legalized. Think of the legal fees as an investment in your business that in the long run, could save you much more than you spend.
Radina is the Marketing Manager of Cannabis Stack. She has been in digital marketing, branding and company growing management since 2011 and has a proven record of wins with different sectors. Her passions in the canna-businesses are the cannabis culture, fast-developing solutions, and the challenges the field is offering.