Article: One lawyer’s passion for ERISA led her to help cannabis companies with retirement benefits

Jewell Lim Esposito enjoys the complexity of ERISA tax law. As a partner at FisherBroyles and head of the law firm’s ERISA/tax practice, she is drawn to advising employers who are looking to bring retirement benefits like 401(k) plans to their workforce.

But Esposito’s job as an ERISA tax lawyer led her in a new direction when in 2017 she was approached by several cannabis companies who were looking for guidance when implementing their own retirement benefits. Questions over legality of cannabis on a state and federal level presented what some would consider a difficult task — but Esposito was up for the challenge.

“There were a number of cannabis companies asking me for solutions, how to have the ordinary perks that no cannabis employees have,” she says.

The U.S. cannabis market was valued at $11.3 billion in 2018, according to data from Grandview Research, a U.S. market research and consulting firm. That number is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.5% until 2025, the research finds.

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