As more and more states move to legalize possession, growing, and selling cannabis products, from CBD and marijuana, to edibles, beverages, and more, investor opportunities abound for new businesses and business ideas in this burgeoning industry. Our experienced business and cannabis industry attorneys provide strategic advice on business formation and operations, help marijuana cultivators create investor-friendly and industry-compliant corporate structures, and represent domestic and international investment funds that focus on cannabis and cannabis-related early-stage companies.

We counsel clients on issues related to lack of federal benefits for investors and operators, such as bankruptcy and IP protection, and work with stakeholders to understand their exposure and mitigate it as best as we can. We also stay up-to-the-minute on the rapidly evolving legal requirements and challenges as states, and the federal government, continue to evolve their thinking on marijuana regulation. And our real estate team works closely with cannabis clients to manage the zoning and permitting process, and provides representation in real estate acquisitions, sales, and leasing.

Whether you’re an operator, producer, seller, investor, property owner, insurer, or entrepreneurial startup, Pierce Atwood offers firmwide expertise to help clients navigate this complex regulatory environment.

Areas of Expertise

Catalyst Program for Start-ups

Entrepreneurs turn to our Catalyst Program to get an idea off the ground, access funding sources, address basic legal requirements for running a business, and more. We welcome clients with creative ideas and disruptive new technologies. We tailor our legal services and advice according to your particular vision and near term objectives. Our Catalyst team members are experienced business advisers who know the challenges and triumphs that lie ahead of you, and how to prepare for them.

Jon Gelchinsky and Matt Stein discuss the importance of having trademark paperwork in order, because undoing the damage of not doing so can be costly.

Andrea Suter and Matt Stein share a cautionary tale of a company receiving less value in its acquisition due to unclear IP agreements.

Click here to learn more about how our Catalyst program can help your start-up or emerging business.

Contract Drafting & Negotiation

Attorneys in the firm’s Technology Transactions & Outsourcing group, a team comprised of members of Pierce Atwood’s IP and Business groups, provide strong drafting and negotiation skills with a focus on getting deals done efficiently and effectively. We’ll negotiate and draft contracts related to advertising, promotions, and marketing, as well as agreements related to technology and data privacy and security. Click here for more information.

Emerging Companies & Venture Capital in Cannabis Industry

Members of our Business Group have guided young companies through every stage of their life cycles, from inspiration and formation through seed funding, to venture capital, to growth and exit through acquisition or IPO. We help our emerging company clients keep sight of not only the important issues of the moment, but also what will be important when they reach the next stage – and the ones beyond that. By taking this long-range view, we seek to lay a foundation for our clients' long-term success.

Through our experience on the operator side of the cannabis industry, we’re able to effectively represent investors that focus on opportunities in the cannabis industry. And by representing both cannabis companies and investors in this space, we’re able to provide a complete perspective that paves the way for successful transactions. Pierce Atwood’s work with cannabis industry investors and operators includes:

  • Due diligence on cannabis companies
  • Private placement of cannabis-focused funds
  • Advice to investors on structuring liability and due diligence
  • Advice to operators on corporate strategy in advance of funding round
  • Corporate formation and conversion

Intellectual Property Expertise for Cannabis Clients

Pierce Atwood’s IP, trademark, and patent attorneys help cannabis clients navigate the often conflicting state and federal regulations in order to protect new strains, processes, techniques, and other trade secrets, as well as branding, business name, logos, and domain names that identify and distinguish each product from its competitors.

Real Estate & Land Use in the Cannabis Industry

Each development project presents a unique set of challenges, so we work closely with local planning boards and state and federal regulators to simplify and expedite the zoning and permitting process whenever possible. Whether a project entails real estate acquisition, sale, development, or leasing – even if the lease contains cannabis-restrictive language - our skilled real estate and land use attorneys have the expertise to implement creative and effective solutions to even the most complex commercial lease or purchase and sale agreement.

Our services in this area include:

  • Counseling landlords on legal exposure when renting to cannabis companies
  • Negotiating land leases to support host agreements and medical licenses
  • Advising on co-location of marijuana and regulated land use