Navigating the Evolving Cannabis Industry 

The legal cannabis industry is thriving in the majority of U.S. states and a growing number of nations around the world since recognition of the plant’s therapeutic benefits spurred widespread legalization.

The industry’s most notable members include everything from small-scale medical marijuana dispensaries to large extraction laboratories and hemp cultivation plants, and their success has made it clear that cannabis-related commerce has the power to change the world’s commercial landscape in numerous key ways.
There are a variety of unique sectors within the greater cannabis industry that span beyond the scope of dispensaries and growing plants. The industry contains four core sectors: extraction, cultivation, testing, and retail sales. It also covers ancillary operations that are crucial to the success of cannabis businesses.

Cannabis Cultivation

The legal cannabis industry enlists the expertise of people with extensive experience in botany and horticulture. These professionals breed and cultivate classic and new cannabis strains according to consumer demand.

Many of today’s cultivators have degrees in plant science and horticulture, which gives them the high level of experience necessary to perfect traditional and modern grow methods and the use of the most advanced technology in the industry. It is this technology that has made cultivation methods such as vertical growing, cultivation automation and hydroponics possible on a large scale.

Testing and Extraction

Once legal cannabis has been grown and harvested, it leaves the cultivation facility to be tested for microbes, solvents, pesticides, and other contaminants. U.S. states such as Colorado now legally require testing on all commercially grown cannabis to ensure its safety and quality. Many cultivators choose to enlist the assistance of a cannabis attorney to navigate these requirements.

After the product is tested, samples of plant material is processed to produce tinctures, waxes, oils, and other extracts. Many of these products are destined for use by medical marijuana patients who need high quality medication at reliable doses, which is why cannabis extraction laboratories adhere to such stringent industry standards.

Retail Sales

The retail side of the cannabis industry encompasses dispensaries, shop owners, managers and staff, and sells the end products to customers. One of the better-known roles in this sector is that of the ‘budtender,’ who is tasked with offering accurate and helpful information about the effects and benefits of different cannabis strains and their various methods of consumption.

Many dispensaries hire staff with pharmaceutical training in order to provide their patients with the highest possible levels of guidance and care.

Ancillary Roles in Cannabusiness

The ancillary sector of the industry is dedicated to supporting the first cultivation, testing, extraction, and retail sales. Roles in this sector include product packaging, packaging and web design, investment, marketing, consulting, cannabis patent management, and media-related roles.

Many professionals in these field will never handle cannabis products themselves, but their positions are crucial to the cannabis industry as a whole.

Goodwin’s Areas of Experience in Cannabis Law

The Goodwin team has a deep and comprehensive knowledge of the cannabis industry and the legal and operational nuances that make it unique.

Our Cannabis team is comprised of a cross-disciplinary group of lawyers who are capable of covering the full spectrum of legal services required by members of this industry. Our experience and capabilities pertain to:

  • Obtaining and developing investment opportunities
  • Securing funding
  • Issuing cannabis patent documentation
  • Structuring transactions
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Protection of intellectual property
  • Implementing best cybersecurity and privacy practices
  • Handling governmental and regulatory investigations
  • Advising clients regarding the risks of the cannabis industry as they pertain to federal law
  • Offering vigorous cannabis attorney representation in all forms of litigation and all services subject to a firm’s obligations under federal law

Our trusted legal advisors understand that as the cannabis industry grows and its legal environment changes, the needs of businesses within the industry will change as well.

It is our highest priority to understand the business goals of our clients, and to provide them with best-in-class services as the industry continues to evolve and expand.

Our Lawyers’ Experience in the Industry

  • Represented Dutchie, a leading dispensary technology provider, in its $200 million Series C at a $1.7 billion valuation, as well as its acquisition of Greenbits and LeafLogix.
  • Representing KIVA Brands, one of the most recognized cannabis companies in California that creates cannabis-infused confections, in corporate and litigation matters.
  • Representing Gotham Green, a leading cannabis-focused venture fund, in fund formation and other matters. Advised regarding iAnthus restructuring and related regulatory issues.
  • Representing CANN, a leader infused beverage brand, in general corporate and geographic expansion matters.
  • Representing Raw Garden, a leading California-based brand, in litigation and general corporate work.
  • Representing Mercer Park, a leading branded cannabis company in the U.S., on its definitive agreement to acquire Glass House Group and all related assets for total consideration of approximately $567 million.
  • Representing Zen Cannabis, in general corporate and geographic expansion matters.
  • Representing Waitr, an American online and mobile prepared food ordering and delivery company, in M&A with strategic cannabis-related entities.
  • Representing Pax Labs, an e-cigarette company that produces and markets vaporizers across the U.S. and Canada, in corporate and litigation matters including a $420 million raise, which was the largest private investment deal of 2019 in the cannabis sector.

Enlist Our Expertise

Learn more about Goodwin’s Cannabis practice by reaching out to our cannabis law team. Access the latest state-level developments in our Green Wave publication.