Cannabis Law

Goldberg Segalla is not what you might expect from a law firm of our size. With nearly 400 lawyers and 22 offices across 10 states clients from all parts of the burgeoning national cannabis industry rely on us for a geographic reach and bench depth rivaling other top-tier firms. But they don’t choose Goldberg Segalla for the numbers alone.They choose us because understanding each client’s business is our first priority — and we tailor both legal teams and cost-effective strategies to meet their immediate needs as well as their long-term goals.

This tailored, cross-practice approach positions us to provide exceptional and comprehensive counsel for clients operating in the cannabis industry, handling and advising on virtually any legal need — whether securing funding for a new business venture, adapting to the industry’s ever-changing regulatory landscape, or defending diverse and complicated claims. Our cannabis-industry clients represent the full range of the cannabis supply chain, including:

  • Directors and officers
  • Dispensaries/retailers
  • Distributors
  • Growers
  • Hydroponics suppliers
  • Investors
  • Medical professionals
  • Owners and shareholders
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Product manufacturers
  • Technology companies
  • Transportation companies
The Business of Cannabis — Key Issues in an Evolving Market

Cannabis is still listed as a Schedule I substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). According to the federal government, this means cannabis has no recognized medical use. However, 31 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have adopted legal and regulatory frameworks at odds with this position, and recognize medical and legitimate commercial uses for cannabidiol (CBD) and other constituent compounds of cannabis. While there are safeguards, such as the Rohrbacher-Blumenauer Amendment, that deter certain federal prosecutions of businesses operating within the nascent national cannabis industry, these are not permanent law, and require constant renewal by the federal government. And while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved a CBD-based epilepsy drug, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has not yet de-scheduled CBD from the CSA. While this will certainly occur in the near future, and while there are numerous other bills pending in Congress, businesses and professionals in the industry need to stay on top of these changes at all times.  

Goldberg Segalla’s attorneys monitor this evolving landscape, and many are recognized and cited as authorities on the industry and area of law. Our knowledge of the law and emerging regulatory and business issues, coupled with the breadth and depth of our capabilities in areas like insurance coverage, civil litigation, risk-management, employment, intellectual property, and transportation, allows us to partner with clients in the cannabis industry and provide a cost-effective combination of 24/7 legal counsel and long-range strategic planning. Below is a list of just some of the areas where cannabis law intersects with more established practices and our firm’s capabilities to assist your company.

Corporate Services and Commercial Litigation

Goldberg Segalla’s Corporate Services and Commercial Litigation Practice Group offers a comprehensive suite of resources designed to guide companies through any business decision, commercial interaction, transaction, legal dispute, or government investigation they may face. In the ever-changing world of cannabis law, this is especially important. With offices strategically located in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, St. Louis, and other major business and economic centers spanning our national footprint, we are able to assist virtually any new cannabis-based company in developing corporate structure, compensation plans, business formation, contract disputes, and business mergers, to name a few areas. 

We also regularly assist clients in complex commercial litigation and arbitration matters, corporate and business transactions, commercial real estate and development questions, intellectual property, real estate litigation and title disputes, white collar defense, and government investigations. These abilities and our national footprint position us to assist any cannabis-industry client as they grow their business now and in the future.

Environmental

Cannabis is currently the fastest-growing industry in the United States, and the environmental laws and regulations that are implicated by the legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes are vast. Given the lack of consistency in marijuana regulation on the federal and state level, and the often disparate laws between states on marijuana cultivation and production, we help businesses navigate the morass by ensuring their operations comply with state and municipal regulations pertaining to land use, water use, and the application of pesticides and rodenticides. We are committed to helping our businesses balance their commercial interests with the patchwork of various state and local laws and regulations.

General Liability

This area of law encompasses a variety of areas, including everything from transportation-related incidents involving drugged driving to premises liability cases. We defend cases involving personal injuries occurring to individuals while on the property of the owner or municipality, as well as in the workplace. We represent the insurers of major property owners, such as school districts, shopping centers and plazas, and other places where the public is accommodated. As cannabis companies open more manufacturing plants, grow facilities, and dispensaries, the need for proven attorneys who can handle any kind of case from a Dram Shop action to a workplace accident is paramount.  Also, with a nationally-recognized litigation practice and a deep and experienced roster of general liability attorneys, Goldberg Segalla is well positioned to defend virtually any cannabis-related liability claim.

Transportation

Goldberg Segalla also delivers comprehensive transportation litigation services and counsel focused on helping clients keep their income-producing assets moving, delivering, and reloading. We are experienced in representing regional and national trucking, rail, automobile fleet, aviation, and other transportation-focused companies. Our team of trial-tested attorneys will always be at your side to provide sound legal and regulatory advice or to defend you and your employees in even the most complex, high-exposure injury or property damage claims. 

As cannabis companies expand throughout a state, products will need shipping. As more states legalize the use of recreational cannabis, drugged driving cases will occur. Cases with a cannabis focus will become more prevalent. Through our strong and active affiliations with leading national networks of select defense counsel across the United States, we can immediately connect our clients with experienced and trusted transportation law attorneys anywhere in the country. 

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property covers the nexus between creativity, innovation, and consumerism. The pressing question for businesses and professionals in the cannabis industry is, can I patent, copyright, or trademark something that is federally illegal? Curiously, the answer is yes. In fact, the U.S. government holds the foremost patent on cannabis-related products, commonly known as the ‘507 patent, which covers the use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids. In an exponentially growing market, Goldberg Segalla has the resources and interdisciplinary experience to help clients navigate cannabis IP law, to protect and develop intellectual property, and gain recognition, protection, and registry for their ingenuity.

Workers' Compensation

Medical marijuana is becoming the preferred treatment for an ever-increasing list of medical conditions. New York State alone has 57,000 certified medical marijuana patients with costs ranging from under $100 to over $1,000 per month. Workers’ compensation boards across the country, including in New York, Connecticut, and New Mexico, are directing carriers to reimburse claimants for medical marijuana expenses despite federal and state laws. Goldberg Segalla's Opioid Impact Program and Cannabis Initiative exist to guide clients through these constantly evolving marijuana laws and policies. We take the time to identify and understand each client’s goals, needs, and responsibilities under federal law.  We control risk and exposure through proper analysis to determine what is appropriate treatment for any claim, and offer guidance on how to challenge requests for medical marijuana through every step of the claim process.

Product Liability

With the sale of cannabis in different states becoming commonplace, it is only a matter of time before product manufacturers will be at risk of being sued for failure to warn about potential dangers associated with use of cannabis. Cigarette manufacturers continue to defend these claims across the country. Also, in absence of established safety and quality control standards for these cannabis products, claims of manufacturing and design defect are in play. Lastly, in some contexts, ingestion of cannabis-containing foods could lead to food-related exposure claims. Goldberg Segalla has a nationally-recognized Product Liability practice that has tried cases on behalf of Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States and FTSE 100 companies in the United Kingdom. These cases have involved catastrophic personal injuries, wrongful death, multimillion-dollar property losses, and environmental damage. In addition, our national Toxic Tort practice includes attorneys experienced in foodborne illness litigation, equipping Goldberg Segalla with tremendous depth and experience in defending any product liability suits brought against cannabis-industry clients.

Regulatory

We provide proactive counsel and strong representation for clients whose products or services are monitored by an array of federal, state, and international regulations. As cannabis remains a Schedule I substance under federal law, it’s important for businesses in the cannabis industry to partner with a firm that provides thorough and concise counseling with regards to each state’s evolving regulatory landscape. Whether advising on compliance issues, appearing before regulatory authorities, or responding to an inquiry, our attorneys focus on minimizing risk and maintaining positive working relationships with regulatory bodies. Our Insurance Regulatory Practice Group counsels insurers and reinsurers throughout the U.S. and Europe on meeting the full range of domestic and international regulatory challenges they face.

Insurance Coverage

Goldberg Segalla is one of the premier law firms advising and representing the global insurance and reinsurance industry. Our 75-lawyer Global Insurance Services Practice Group, which Law360 ranks among the largest in the United States, exists to serve insurers, reinsurers, and all others operating in the insurance arena. Within the cannabis law field, insurers and companies will need to be aware of the variety of different insurance and reinsurance options that may be required. Understanding how decisions in other areas of the law may be applied in the cannabis field is a necessity.

Comprehensive Counsel for the Cannabis Industry

These are just a handful of the areas in which Goldberg Segalla can assist pioneering businesses in the cannabis market. With a footprint stretching from Los Angeles to London, our attorneys have counseled companies both here and abroad. In the growing cannabis industry — as full of opportunity as it of uncertainty — successful businesses need more than traditional legal counsel. Goldberg Segalla is home to true leaders in cannabis law, as well as a collaborative culture that allows us to make the most of our diverse practices for clients with complicated needs. “Putting the client first,” for us, means that our work begins with a concentrated effort to understand both the client’s industry and individual concerns and goals, and offer proactive legal counsel always aimed at long-term success. We built a reputation for exceptional work and outstanding value by listening to our clients, appreciating their specific business philosophies and needs, and respecting their desire for efficiency. These values allow us to excel in every area of cannabis law.