The complex laws and regulations governing the use and legality of marijuana and their disparity in each individual state provide a great opportunity for legal counsel. With 33 states having some legal form of cannabis, opportunities to spell out the law abound.
Furthermore, the prospects of Marijuana getting legalized at a federal level spells an opportunity for big business, and therefore big law.
The industry has been forecasted to reach $80 billion in the next decade in the US alone and $200 billion worldwide. With so much cannabis changing hands, there is opportunity for law in all forms. As the industry grows and starts to feature in the fortune 500, there are mergers, acquisitions, and incorporations happening all which need advice on tax planning, corporate structure, financing and M&A. There are also multibillion tie-ups with alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies to mediate.
Apart from the business side, with the unclear laws and policies, some cannabis companies still flaunt these rules and require legal representation. As this is an enviable niche with great potential, huge law firms are establishing specialised sections to deal specifically with the weed industry.
We will look at some of the top cannabis lawyers in the US today.
Ryan Ewing – Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
Ryan Ewing is a Team Leader on Steptoe & Johnson’s Cannabis Counsel. He represents a large number of cannabis organizations as he has a comprehensive grasp on the cannabis industry. His proactive approach to corporate compliance and regulation and knack for applying his wealth of knowledge in assisting his clients to grow their cannabis businesses put him at the top of the pile.
He has vast experience in representing cannabis clients from the whole spectrum of the industry that is the cultivators, processors, dispensaries and other retail outlets. He is also counsel to a various number of resale, wholesale and producers/brokers of hemp and its products strewn along the Eastern side f the United States.
With his vast and current knowledge, the makes sire his clients are kept up to date on the ever-changing amendments on regulations in the labelling, marketing and sale of both CBD and products made of Delta-8 THC. His experience in the hemp and cannabis industries make him an advocate of choice to either guide one when they are starting their business or advice on the everyday operations as well as offer counsel if things go wrong.
Thomas Haren – Frantz Ward
In the Ohio and national marijuana industry, Tom is currently one of the highest sought after. He has great experience representing licensed operators in the adult use and medical markets, companies operating within the hemp industry and secondary service providers.
Because he is a former State Senate nominee, he understands the importance of building consensus both at the state and local level in order to further the interests of clients. He greatly contributes to a number of national and local media outlets and also speaks during industry events and conferences to share his expertise.
Tom regularly provides indigent clients with pro bono litigation and defends clients against defamation claims in the case of constitutionally protected speech. He was named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list (2019-2020)
Jonathan Storper – Hanson Bridgett
Jonathan is the head of Hanson Bridgett’s cannabis team. He has been head of the corporate section at this firm as well as the founder of the law practice.
The areas he handles are entities and investors in the respect of intellectual and business property transactions, which include the finance, formation, contracts, licenses, development and joint venture, acquisitions and mergers , ecommerce, licensing, technology-related issues and generalized corporate law. Jonathan is both very decorated and philanthropic.
The clients he handles include land owners, marijuana a retail dispensaries, growers, manufacturers, distributors, processors, medical officers and subsidiary technologies.
Christopher McHugh – Joseph Hollander & Craft
In addition to being a civil and criminal litigant in the Missouri and Kansas courts, Mr. McHugh counsels both individuals and entities on marijuana and hemp law. He assists new applicants trying to register a medical cannabis business procure licenses and comply with regulatory requirements.
His vast experience in criminal defense First Amendment Law and prisoners’ rights have made him quite formidable in the cannabis industry. Not only is he a cannabis attorney, he also cofounded and is the CEO of Vertical Enterprise LLC, a legal medical marijuana growing, processing and dispensary outfit based in St. Joseph, MO.
He is a member of several cannabis committees, in particular MoCannTrade, Government affairs Committee and the Cultivation Committee. He also serves in numerous other boards.
Mr. McHugh has license to practice in Kansas, Missouri and Kansas City Metropolitan. He is a frequent speaker at legal education programmes in regards to the Missouri Cannabis Industry.
Ariel Clark – Clark Howell
Ariel Clark is undoubtedly one of California’s most renowned dedicated cannabis business attorneys. Having practiced for almost a decade, Ariel is familiar is intimately familiar with cannabis policy and law. Her clientele is mainly farmers born and bred in California, cutting-edge manufacturers, operators who cross state lines as well as highly successful innovators and investors. She was lauded by Rolling Stone, as one of 18 “Women Shaping the Culture of Tomorrow.” Her hard-work, tenacity and intelligence, have ensured she is considered one of the cannabis industries’ most fierce lawyers.
Rod Kight – Kight on Cannabis
Rod Knight represents both US and international clients in the cannabis industry. He consults and assists with the strategic planning and advices them on compliance issues as well as offers them an end to end business services in the business sector including CBD, hemp, medical marijuana and other cannabinoids and adult-use marijuana.
He has also been involved in the drafting of draft legislation to promote lawful cannabis trading in international markets.
Jana Wetzin – Attorney and Principle Owner of JDW Counsel
Counsel to Hoban law, Jana Weltzin is a Fairbanks, Alaska native who practices zoning and land use law, Arizonian medical marijuana law and recreational and business marijuana law and compliance to marijuana regulations in Alaska.