15 June 2016
Those of you following the industry will know that multi-office cannabis law firms are still fairly thin on the ground. So, the announcement last week by Florida regulated industries specialists, Greenspoon Marder, who have decided to open outposts in Nevada, California & Colorado is without a doubt a bit of news that will be filtering through to all parts of both the legal and cannabis industries.
CLR contacted the firm with a few questions about the expansion and received the following responses from principal and co-founder Gerald Greenspoon
As he says below in response to one of our questions about the opening of the Californian market
“If the legalization initiative passes in November, we will see a dramatic expansion in the cannabis market throughout California as we go from about 500,000 current medical patients in the state to a potential market of 38 million consumers.”
Here’s the interview in full…
How long has the firm had a Cannabis related practice and was it initially only Florida based?
Greenspoon Marder launched a Cannabis Law practice and opened new offices in Denver, Las Vegas and San Diego this June. The core attorneys in the Cannabis Law practice are currently based in these three offices; however, the team is expected to continue to grow as additional states legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana.
Your new offices in Denver & San Diego are only single attorney offices with three in Las Vegas? Will there also be paralegals working in these locations? If so would it possible to get a sense of the size of each of these offices
Rachel K. Gillette joined the firm as a Shareholder and the founding member of the Denver office, and Lance Rogers has joined the firm as a Shareholder to found the San Diego office. The attorneys are supported by a team of paralegals and associates.
Additionally, the firm welcomes Phillip Silvestri, Neal Gidvani and Vincent Aiello to its new Las Vegas office. The attorneys will join current firm shareholder Amy Sances, a prominent member of the firm’s Resort & Hospitality Practice, in the new Las Vegas office.
The firm plans to expand all three offices as the cannabis market continues to grow in these states and the firm gains new clients in the industry.
Are you looking to provide a full range of services to the Cannabis industry in CO, AZ & CA or are you looking to specialize in particular practice areas such as regulatory, lobbying, land use & Govt relations?
The firm will provide strategic guidance and representation across the full spectrum of legal matters impacting the cannabis industry. Some of the specific services include:
Advising on state, federal and local cannabis laws and regulations
Counseling companies establishing licensed marijuana dispensaries, cultivation facilities, infused product manufacturers and other ancillary businesses to the cannabis and hemp industries
Assisting companies with state and local zoning requirements applicable to cannabis businesses
Guiding clients through the state and local licensing process
Advising cannabis and industrial hemp businesses in all aspects of corporate formation, business development, investment strategy, and tax matters.
CLR understands why the firm has chosen these states. Are you also looking to expand into Northern California and the Pacific NW at some point?
While we do not have immediate plans to expand into Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, the firm plans to extend its presence and open additional offices in cities and new states that are likely to play a key role in shaping the cannabis industry. Additionally, Lance Rogers of the firm’s San Diego office services cannabis businesses in San Diego, as all as throughout California more widely.
How do you perceive the market will change if the AUMA ballot and subsequent legislation comes into play in California?
If the legalization initiative passes in November, we will see a dramatic expansion in the cannabis market throughout California as we go from about 500,000 current medical patients in the state to a potential market of 38 million consumers. Perhaps more important that the size of this new legal market is the fact that when responsible marijuana use is legal like alcohol you do away with some of the social stigma that exists with consuming an “illegal” drug. You can look to other states that have legalized like Colorado to see that marijuana consumption there is a normal social activity, like drinking alcohol. And as we know, marijuana consumption is safer than alcohol consumption.
We’d be very interested to know how the firm perceives itself in relation to the Am Law 100 firms who appear to have little or no interest or expertise in the industry except for a couple headquartered in California. Do you feel that they are behind the curveball with regard to the speed at which all aspects of the Cannabis industry is growing or that is innate conservatism that holds them back from investing time and energy in a new sector?
Greenspoon Marder will be one of the first firms of its size with a dedicated team of attorneys servicing the $5.4 billion legalized cannabis market. While many national firms tend to be more conservative when investing in new sectors, our firm has a long history of breaking into expanding markets and emerging, highly-regulated industries such as alcohol, firearms and tobacco. We are excited to continue this tradition as we service the cannabis sector – a new, rapidly growing and complex industry that is in need of legal guidance on a national level.
Is the firm just looking to provide standard advice and representation services to industry clients or do you see a role for technology, apps and solutions as part of creating a more efficient legal integration throughout the states whilst the federal question waits to be answered?
The firm believes in taking a creative and proactive approach to assisting clients and is open to employing technology to help clients to stay apprised of all legal developments on the state and national level that impact the cannabis industry.
Finally, at CLR we see the U.S leading a global change with regard to legalization and especially with regard to medical marijuana and pharmaceutical does the firm see opportunities outside the country in the future?
Greenspoon Marder http://www.gmlaw.com