Although New Jersey lawmakers cancelled a vote on an adult-use recreational cannabis bill recently, medical cannabis use gained some support following a ruling from the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey that an employer’s failure to accommodate medical marijuana use by an employee constituted a valid basis for an employment discrimination claim.

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The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued an opinion earlier this year lending support to those interested in seeking patents related to cannabis. GW Pharmaceuticals, a U.K. company focused on therapeutic cannabinoids, walked away with a partial win concerning a patent that involved the use of cannabinoids to treat epilepsy.

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As more and more states continue to legalize cannabis for medicinal and/or recreational purposes, new issues are seemingly arising for landlords who wish to lease their property to businesses for the purpose of growing, manufacturing and/or selling cannabis. This blog discusses some issues landlords need to consider when leasing their premises for cannabis related activities.

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In what may seem like a male-dominated industry, the legal cannabis market has attracted many female entrepreneurs and participants who are making a big difference. Encouraged by states’ support for and focus on minority participation, women are taking advantage of opportunities in the developing and maturing legal cannabis space.

In fact, women hold nearly 27% of leadership roles in regulated cannabis compared to the 21% they hold in traditional businesses. Since women make about 80% of the health and wellness decision for traditional American households, women are well poised to create and sell cannabis products, especially those pertaining to luxury or skin-care such as topicals, lotions, candles, balms, and scents.


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New Jersey, like many other states, allows for the cultivation and sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Marijuana is not yet allowed for recreational use in New Jersey. While medical marijuana use and consumption is legal under New Jersey state law, it remains illegal under Federal law, which leads to an interesting and complicated situation when an applicant seeks zoning approvals for a marijuana facility. Planning and/or Zoning Boards are essentially asked to approve a use that is illegal under Federal law.

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Last month, Congress approved the final 2018 version of Section 7607 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the “Farm Bill”), which received bipartisan support in the Senate. The Bill removes “hemp,” a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species, from the Federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) and legalizes hemp cultivation as an agricultural commodity similar to grain, meat, and dairy. Commentators expect the historic new Farm Bill to considerably encourage and promote innovation, development, production, and consumption of hemp in the United States. But to understand the significance of the 2018 version of the Farm Bill, it is important to take a step back and understand what industrial hemp is, what distinguishes it from marijuana, which remains a Schedule 1 prohibited substance, and what the future of hemp looks like in this Country.

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dispensary insurance costRisk management is important for any business let alone a startup in a developing industry, but it takes on a whole new meaning for cannabis companies looking to make their mark on the burgeoning cannabis market. As more and more states go green and join the mounting number of sovereigns that permit, tax, and regulate medical and adult-use marijuana, the need for cannabis related banking, insurance, and real estate continues to grow.

As any cannabis entrepreneur and operator knows, the business is risky, capital intensive, and presents many unforeseen challenges. Proper and adequate insurance coverage and risk management is therefore paramount in such an uncertain, undulating industry.


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In addition to intellectual property and banking law, bankruptcy law remains a complicated field for marijuana companies to access, let alone navigate. In the United States, The U.S. Trustee Program (“USTP”) is the component of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) responsible for overseeing the administration of bankruptcy cases. The USTP appoints and supervises the 1,100 private trustees who handle every bankruptcy case across the country under federal bankruptcy laws.

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While 46 states have instituted laws permitting or decriminalizing cannabis or cannabis-based products in some way, prior events this year created an environment of legal uncertainty.

Since 2013, cannabis companies have relied on guidance contained within a trio of memos from former deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole, which detailed the federal government’s concerns with preventing marijuana distribution to minors, gangs, or into states where the drug’s sale remains illegal, as well as preventing the use of the drug as a pretext to traffic other illegal drugs, in use with violent firearms, driving under the influence, and growing marijuana on public lands or on federal property.

Those companies who were compliant with state cannabis laws and did not run afoul of any of these concerns basically considered themselves as being safe from federal prosecution.

But that security diminished earlier this year when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the guidance in the Cole memos.
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