18 February 2017
The Boston law firm Foley Hoag has created a new legal practice focused on marijuana law, in light of last year’s ballot question legalizing recreational marijuana in Massachusetts.
The firm has also launched a public blog focused on marijuana-related legal, regulatory and legislative updates.
The passage of the ballot question, in addition to legalizing the drug, sets up a massive new industry in Massachusetts. There will eventually be retail shops and marijuana growers and producers, all of whom will be regulated by the state. The Massachusetts Legislature set up a new committee this session to review all marijuana-related bills, and lawmakers have said they plan to tweak the ballot question before the law fully goes into effect.
The industry is also opening up an entirely new legal field. There are some national firms that specialize in marijuana law, and some smaller firms in Massachusetts. Vicente Sederberg, for example, which has offices in Massachusetts, Colorado and Nevada, is an influential specialty law firm focused exclusively on marijuana law.
Another large Boston firm, Burns and Levinson, also has a marijuana group. But Foley Hoag, with 250 lawyers, of which 200 are in Boston, has the potential to be one of the first large players in the field based in Massachusetts.
Foley Hoag currently represents companies facing regulatory challenges in Massachusetts – including casino developers, energy companies and health care companies. Conroy said he hopes his firm will attract clients who need help navigating state regulations, such as marijuana companies looking to start businesses in Massachusetts. Three attorneys will handle regulatory matters, and one attorney each will specialize in labor and employment, intellectual property, and business advice.
“Companies will look for specific Massachusetts knowledge when they’re coming to set up offices in Massachusetts,” Conroy said.
Foley Hoag has already represented companies seeking medical marijuana licenses, and recreational marijuana companies looking for assistance with trademark services and corporate governance.