The cannabis industry faced heightened antitrust scrutiny from the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2019.  There were public reports regarding several “Second Requests” seeking information about potential cannabis transactions.  Second Requests are a part of expensive and time-consuming antitrust investigations typically issued in the approximately 2 percent of transactions that present significant anticompetitive concerns.  To have several Second Requests within a short period of time in the same industry, particularly in an emerging industry such as cannabis, appeared unusual to many observers.  Recent events have shed light on some possible reasons for DOJ’s heightened focus.
Continue Reading High Risk of Second Requests in the Cannabis Industry

This article originally appeared in Cannabis Business Executive​ on June 10, 2020.

Claimed “illegality” of cannabusinesses continues to be a critical issue for them in their ability to enforce their rights in the courts. The ability to seek judicial relief may be especially important to some cannabusinesses that are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., to seek bankruptcy relief, or to obtain compensation from customers or suppliers that breach contracts). In our December 2019 articles[i], we observed that a cannabusiness may find it difficult to pursue its Intellectual Property (IP) rights in certain jurisdictions where cannabis remains illegal. Here, we provide an update on the “illegality” issue, including outside of the IP arena. We discuss some recent legal rulings in the cannabis space and some potential ramifications to cannabusinesses’ ability to seek bankruptcy and other relief in the courts.
Continue Reading The Status of a Cannabusiness’ Ability to Seek Relief in the Courts — the ‘Illegality’ Issue

In a case of first impression, the New Jersey Appellate Division determined that employers in the state must reimburse employees for medical cannabis following a workplace accident, despite federal prohibitions
Continue Reading New Jersey Court Commands Cannabis Reimbursement in Workers’ Compensation Dispute

The California Legislature has passed Assembly Bill 1482 – Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (“AB 1482”), providing for comprehensive statewide residential rent control and eviction protections.  Signed by
Continue Reading Tenant Protection Act of 2019 May Have Unintended Consequences in the Cannabis Space

The legalization of cannabis in several states had left a major question unanswered: is an employee who violates the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) by distributing cannabis as part of
Continue Reading Tenth Circuit Holds the Controlled Substance Act Is Not At Odds With the Fair Labor Standards Act

On October 12, 2019, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1291 (“AB 1291”) into law, which requires companies to sign a so-called “labor peace” agreement with a union or risk losing their cannabis license; thereby, strengthening already union-friendly statewide cannabis law.
Continue Reading AB 1291 Forces California Cannabis Companies To Sign “Labor Peace Agreements” With Unions, But Statute May be Unconstitutional

U.S. House lawmakers on Wednesday approved overwhelmingly by a 321-103 vote the SAFE Banking Act. The SAFE Banking Act would pave the way for financial institutions and insurance companies to serve state-legal cannabis businesses and ancillary businesses without fear of federal reprisal. Ninety-one Republicans voted for the measure, in a showing of strong bipartisan support. This marks the first time a body of Congress has approved pro-cannabis legislation.
Continue Reading U.S. House of Representatives Passes SAFE Banking Act