A replay of the webinar Distressed Cannabis M&A is available.
Duane Morris, in partnership with FTI Consulting, will hold its next Cannabis Webinar, Distressed Cannabis M&A, on Thursday, October 5, 2023, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern.
Learn more and register on the Duane Morris website.
Earlier today, on August 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially recommended that cannabis be moved from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) – a landmark recommendation from HHS which indicates that HHS no longer considers cannabis to be a drug with high abuse potential and no medical value.
After completing a scientific review into cannabis per a requested review from the Biden Administration, HHS advised the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that it believes marijuana should be placed in Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.
Note, HHS’s recommendation is NOT binding on the DEA but given the report’s findings and growing public sentiment is likely that the DEA agrees with the recommendation and shifts its policy.
Historically, cannabis has been federally prohibited as a Schedule I controlled substance. As noted by many pundits, the rescheduling to Schedule III would have major implications for researchers who have long criticized the Schedule I classification that creates significant barriers to access for studies.
For researchers, this change would likely mean that they would no longer need to go through the onerous registration process with the DEA in order to access cannabis for studies as a Schedule III drug. The shift to Schedule III would also enable various federal tax deductions to become applicable to the cannabis industry and unlock value for them that is currently stuck in an onerous tax structure under the Internal Revenue Code. Schedule III drugs are not subject to the same onerous structure under federal rules.
The cannabis ball is now firmly in the DEA’s court as the DEA has the final authority to schedule a drug as Schedule III rather than Schedule I under the CSA (or transfer a controlled substance between schedules or remove such a drug from scheduling altogether).
Parting Hits – With Congress due to reconvene after Labor Day, and the Biden Administration looking for a win on moving this issue along, look for pressure to continue to mount for some type of Congressional action in the Banking arena under a SAFE legislation bill and for the DEA to move through their rule making process in a swift and firm manner.
Duane Morris has a full service cannabis group that helps clients and investors in a wide array of cannabis-related issues including, but not limited to, licensing, fundraising, intellectual property protection and real estate. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Brad Molotsky or the attorney with whom you regularly communicate at Duane Morris.
In case you might have missed it with your year end festivities, the U.S. Virgin Islands became the latest U.S. region to legalize adult-use cannabis. Once regulations are finalized, the rules will allow residents and visitors to purchase medical and/or recreational cannabis products from licensed dispensaries. The bill was signed by Governor Bryant and is now effective.
The legislation also includes provisions proposed by Senators Sarauw and Bolques and automatically expunges cannabis possession charges in the territory.
Medical cannabis was previously approved in 2019 but the legislature continues to work on the applicable rules and regulations for the program.
It is estimated by Commissioner Richard Evangelista that it will likely be another 18-24 months before the government can finalize the applicable regulations for medical and adult use.
Sarauw said that even now, with adult-use reforms now heading to the governor’s desk, “we have done absolutely nothing to move cannabis forward.”
At the moment, current rules decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Key Take Away – the USVI has now officially approved adult use cannabis which will likely spark (sorry, could not resist) multiple businesses and business lines to look to establish operations in the Territory. Grow, manufacture, dispensing and businesses supporting these operations are sure to continue their thought processes as to how to engage and become licensed pending final rules to be issued by the Department of Licenses and Consumer Affairs.
Duane Morris has an active Cannabis Team to help organizations and individuals plan, respond to, and execute on your cannabis and hemp initiatives. We would be happy to discuss your proposed project and how these new rules might apply to you. For more information or if you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, or Tracy Gallegos, Seth Goldberg, or Paul Josephson who co-head the Cannabis Group or the attorney in the firm with whom you in regular contact .
According to recent reporting from the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (“NJCRC”), sales of legalized, recreational adult use cannabis in NJ exceeded $116.5 Million from July to September of 2022. This Q3 revenue figure represents a 46% increase from sales receipts in Q2 of 2022 of $80 Million generated from April to June 2022, when 13 state dispensaries expanded to adult cannabis sales for the first time.
By way of background, New Jersey legalized the sale of recreational marijuana for those 21 and over in April 2021. Sales were initially confined to 12 licensed dispensaries, which had approximately $24 Million in sales through May 2021, or an average of $5 Million per week in a state with 9.3 Million residents. By comparison, adult recreational cannabis generated approximately $80 Million in total sales between April and June 30 per the Cannabis Authority or $6.7M per week. Continue reading “NJ Cannabis – 3Q 2022 Adult Use Sales Numbers Continue to Blaze”
Cannabis Law Report compiled the list from the publication’s annual survey of clients and lawyers in the cannabis legal services sector “as well as our personal editorial decisions based on our reporting of the industry on a daily basis for the past six years.”
For more information, please visit the Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers website.
California’s business tax collector is ramping up enforcement against unlicensed and licensed cannabis companies, which owe the state nearly $200 million in unpaid taxes. […]
Tracy Gallegos, a corporate partner in the Las Vegas office of the Duane Morris law firm, said many of her clients entered the regulated industry with high aspirations, but naiveté and poor, early business decisions compounded problems. Continue reading “California Targets Cannabis Businesses over Unpaid Taxes”
Duane Morris’ Cannabis Industry Group is honored to once again be recognized with the elite law firms and attorneys in the cannabis industry.
Cannabis Industry Group and Attorneys Nationally Recognized by Chambers USA
What the team is known for: Utilizes cannabis expertise on a nationwide basis and across a broad spectrum of practice areas, with practitioners specializing in IP, corporate transactions and regulatory advice within the sector. Offers expanded capabilities in the wake of the 2018 Farm Bill for clients trading in hemp and hemp-derived CBD products. Also boasts litigators able to handle contentious issues for producers and distributors across the industry.
Strengths: Clients describe Duane Morris as “a very well-regarded and respected firm in this space.” One client acknowledges its “deep bench with a lot of talent and experience in the cannabis industry.” Another adds: “The team as a whole is exceptionally knowledgeable. Its strengths include responsiveness and the ability to collaborate.”
Work highlights: Represented Glass House Group in its acquisition of Los Angeles-based cannabis concentrates manufacturer F/ELD Taste Matters.
Notable practitioners: Seth Goldberg boasts high-level experience advising cannabis businesses throughout their life cycle. “He’s a top-notch lawyer who really knows his stuff.” “He’s consistently responsive and knowledgeable.”
Tracy Gallegos has extensive experience in the cannabis sector. Her practice covers regulatory issues, including licensing, in addition to corporate structuring and transactions.
Seth Goldberg Named a Law Firm Innovator by The Legal Intelligencer
Seth Goldberg, partner and team lead of the Cannabis Industry Group, has been named a Law Firm Innovator in The Legal Intelligencer’s 2021 Professional Excellence Awards. The award honors lawyers “who push the envelope to build their businesses [and] think outside the box and have demonstrated an ability to distinguish their brands in a crowded market.”
Earlier this week (March 18, 2021), U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (R-KY), Bob Menendez (D – NJ) and Rand Paul (R – KY) introduced a law, the Clarifying Law Around Insurance of Marijuana Act of 2021 (the “CLAIM Act“) to enable access to insurance coverage for cannabis businesses.
Named the “Clarifying Law Around Insurance of Marijuana Act of 2021“, the bill is intended to ease federal restrictions around insuring businesses related to cannabis growth, processing and dispensing.
Per NJ BIZ, 44 states have enacted some type of legal cannabis – whether medical, recreational or both. This past election season saw voters in New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, Mississippi and South Dakota approve legal adult use cannabis; and last month, New Jersey enacted legislation to officially legalize and regulate adult use cannabis.
The goal of the CLAIM Act according to Senator Paul is to stop legitimate businesses from being shut out from obtaining basic business protections.
Insurance Products – Under the proposed CLAIM Act, cannabis businesses would be permitted full and legal access to insurance products such as worker’s compensation, property, casualty and title insurance. Currently, state-authorized cannabis businesses are often denied access to the insurance market because the businesses could be prosecuted or face penalties under the Controlled Substances Act (a federal law).
Policy Limitations – Under the proposed CLAIM Act, insurers couldn’t be penalized or discouraged from providing coverage to a state-sanctioned and regulated cannabis business or ancillary business; and policies could not be limited solely because the insurer engaged with a cannabis-related business.
Supervisory Actions – Under the proposed CLAIM Act, according to NJ Biz, the federal government wouldn’t be able to take any adverse or corrective supervisory action on a policy to an owner or operator of a cannabis-related business or real estate or equipment that is leased to a cannabis-related business, solely because the owner or operator is engaged with cannabis or cannabis-related business.
The CLAIM Act represents a big step for cannabis related and ancillary businesses and would enable them to more easily access insurance related products that up until this point have been denied to them.
Duane Morris has an over 62 person Cannabis Practice Group that focuses on regulatory licensing, funds creation and raising, structuring, real estate related lease and ownership issues and intellectual property matters in the Cannabis arena.
If you have questions regarding the above post, please do not hesitate to contact Brad A. Molotsky, Tracy Gallegos, Christiane Schuman Campbell, Paul Josephson or Seth Goldberg or any other attorney you regularly contact at the firm.
Be well and stay safe.
Earlier today, February 22, 2021, NJ Governor Murphy signed legislation to create an adult use/recreational marijuana marketplace, decriminalize cannabis and loosen certain penalties for underage possession of the drug and alcohol. NJ joins 13 other states (and the District of Columbia) which have legalized adult use marijuana including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Washington, D. C.
The Assembly and Senate passed a compromise bill to address most of Governor’s concerns that had held up the signing of the Bills – these areas mostly focused on easing penalties on underage possession of both alcohol and marijuana.
Under the law, NJ adults may legally purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana; retail sales will be taxed with 70% of such revenue being dedicated to lower income communities; a Cannabis Regulatory Commission will be established and oversee licensing; NJ will allocate 37 new grower licenses over the next 2 years; and currently licensed medical cannabis retail operations will be eligible to sell adult use cannabis.
The firm has an active Cannabis and Hemp practice, with over 65 lawyers who counsel businesses and investors in the regulatory and licensing area, the funds formation and fund raising arena, the leasing and acquisition of real estate fronts and the patents, trademarks and IP area of the cannabis and hemp industry.
We can be reached at any of the following email addresses and will direct your inquiry to the appropriate person within our Cannabis and Hemp Taskforce – email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; or firstname.lastname@example.org.