Volume 1, Issue 3 Volume 1, Issue 1 - Page 14

Building a house with a lawyer? I begin the following by addressing my experience from a matter of perspective. My perspective comes from, in some fashion, a lawyer who is new to the cannabis industry as I have been practicing in this space for just over one and a half years. With that said, I bring to bear over 17 years of the practice of law, both as a prosecutor working in one of the largest state prosecutors offices in the United States, and as a commercial litigator who has seen what takes place when business relationships and investments go wrong. Over the past year and a half, I have represented individuals and entities looking to be hands-on the plant in legal markets, ancillary businesses, growers who have thought they were legally operating, but were not and are under federal investigation, as well as answered many questions that have come up in regard to trademark law, securities law, and basic legal principles. The practice of law as it relates to the cannabis industry is fascinating in that it really draws from so many areas including business transactions, regulatory, securities, trademarks, and zoning, not to mention the litigation which has resulted from the transactional work done during the early years both in Colorado and California and now other states. When speaking with practitioners in those states about their experiences, this seems to be the next wave, which is the litigation of partnership agreements and other relationships as well as trademark disputes. I predict we will see more and more of this in the trademark realm where we see certain names being recycled in states as they come on line in some capacity and others move 14 forward trying to forge nationally recognized identities. The most important thing that I can say, which I draw out of a discussion with a client the other day, is the importance of building a strong house. It is important that one’s house is built on a solid foundation and within the context of the cannabis industry, that foundation should include not just the forming of an entity, but among other things, strong business planning, properly drafted partnership or operating agreements, documents which memorialize loans or equity properly, strong human resources and operating parameters, and thinking about potential trademark or copyright issues that are necessary. As an aside, if the house is built properly it should include forward thinking also from a marketing standpoint. One must question whether the framework put in place from a name and perhaps domain name is able to be captured across all mediums and can it be carried forward effectively over the years. Turning back to the building of the house from a business standpoint, if entities are using outside consultants or entering into other agreements, it is paramount to make sure that resulting contracts have deliverables and other information included so that the parties clearly understand their respective obligations and what is actually be accomplished by their agreement. It is hard to describe all that is necessary to go into the building o