It would be an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted transactional activity for buyers and sellers across a range of industries, the hemp and cannabis merger and acquisition (“M&A”) space being no exception.  In particular, the current period of COVID-19 volatility in the hemp and cannabis space is marked by numerous consequential outcomes, namely: (1) a sharp decline in the number of deals; (2) decline in capital raises; and (3) overall decline in market valuations.
Continue Reading Up in Smoke: COVID-19’s Impacts on Hemp & Cannabis M&A

As the novel coronavirus (COVID or COVID-19) continues to ravage the United States, the cannabis industry is feeling the pandemic’s negative impacts despite an initial spike in sales after cannabis operations were deemed essential under various state “stay-at-home” orders.[1]  This article details the most recent state-level responses activated in California and Illinois.
Continue Reading COVID-19’s Continued Impacts on Cannabis Operators

Many Illinois cannabis contracts, including intellectual property licensing agreements, development agreements and supply agreements, contain force majeure clauses.  Depending upon the language of these clauses, the COVID-19 pandemic may be an event that triggers these clauses and provides a defense to nonperformance of the contract.

Companies that are experiencing difficulties complying with or enforcing compliance with their contracts should carefully examine their contracts to determine if a force majeure clause may excuse performance.

On March 20, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a stay at home order for all Illinois residents.  (Executive Order 2020-10.)  On April 30, 2020, Governor Pritzker extended the stay-at-home order through May 30, 2020.  (Executive Order 2020-32.)  Many other state and local government agencies have taken similar measures.  And, while cannabis dispensaries and cultivation facilities are deemed to be “essential businesses” under the Illinois orders, some other states, such as Massachusetts, have not exempted such facilities.[1]  As a result of the restrictions placed on businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies operating in the cannabis industry in Illinois may be experiencing compliance-related difficulties with their contracts.


Continue Reading IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON ILLINOIS CANNABIS CONTRACTS — Do Force Majeure Clauses Provide A Defense To Non-Performance