The cannabis industry has exploded in the past decade, from a taboo topic to a multi-billion dollar industry. As the legal cannabis industry continues to evolve, it is crucial to stay on top of industry trends and the ever-changing regulatory landscape. Tune into The Grass is Greener: Cannabis Law News, hosted by Husch Blackwell’s Cannabis Law team as they discuss the most pressing topics in the cannabis industry.

Episode 1 – The State of the Cannabis Industry: Where Do We Go from Here?

In the inaugural episode of The Grass is Greener: Cannabis Law News, Husch Blackwell Cannabis Group Co-Leaders Steve Levine and Marshall Custer discuss the state of the cannabis industry, including the current federal landscape and predictions for the future. The big money that we’ve been waiting for may be trickling in, but what will the exit moment look like for most operators?

Tune in and find out.

Husch Blackwell’s Cannabis Group is thrilled to announce their expanded presence in the Northeast. This expansion into Boston coincides with a strong year for the cannabis team. In June 2021, Chambers USA cited the team’s cross-disciplinary approach that utilizes its well-established base in regulatory compliance to advise on a range of transactions and business structuring matters. The team was also recognized by Legal 500, saying that the practice is well regarded for its experience with cannabis in multiple states as well as its impressive connectivity to regulators.

With the additions of Andrew Levine, Sean Ryan and Steve Tringale to the Cannabis group, the team can better serve their clients in the Northeast. The trio brings decades of regulatory experience, making them uniquely suited to serve New England’s expanding cannabis industry.

“I’m extremely excited to have Andrew, Sean and Steve join our Cannabis group. We’ve been a truly national marijuana practice for years,” said Husch Blackwell partner Marshall Custer, who co-leads the firm’s cannabis group. “But admittedly our bench in the Northeast has lagged a little behind the assets we have in the Midwest and West Coast. Both on personality and capability, Andrew, Sean and Steve are a great fit and I’m looking forward to working with them.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The recently released IPCC Report shows irreversible harm to the global ecosystem.
  • Fund managers focused on ESG criteria will have an increased focus on environmentally conscious companies and substantial sums of investment dollars will likely flow into companies that commit to more aggressive ESG plans.
  • Cannabis companies could benefit from looking at how industries like the wine industry have embraced sustainability.
  • In an industry where competition for capital is fierce, adopting ESG principles is an effective way for cannabis companies to not only foster good will, but to foster investment.

On Monday, August 9, 2021 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report (the “IPCC report”) sent shock waves through the financial markets and the world in general. This report, the most comprehensive of its nature released since 2013, made it abundantly clear that much of the damage incurred by the global ecosystem will be irreversible and the harm is accelerating at an alarming rate. This has catalyzed investment funds and asset managers focusing on ESG investments to rethink their approach. According to Bloomberg Law, Chris Meyer of Praxis Mutual Funds, a well established socially responsible investment firm stated that the report “…changes the calculus. We will need to have a sharper focus. This report shows that investors are not moving quickly enough.”  Financial investment itself may not be able to curb the problem, however, what is certain is that fund managers focused on ESG criteria will have an increased focus on environmentally conscious companies and substantial sums of investment dollars will likely flow into companies that commit to more aggressive ESG plans. Continue Reading The UN Report on Climate Change: What does it have to do with Cannabis and Wine in the US?

Cannabis Co-Leader Steve Levine is slated to provide an update on compliance for marijuana and hemp packaging at the Cannabis Packaging Conference in Anaheim, CA on August 11, 2021.

This presentation will provide a detailed update surrounding the challenges with import compliance for packaging related to marijuana and hemp and how to ensure compliance with applicable state law requirements.

In collaboration with WestPack and the California Cannabis Industry Association, CannPack (formerly known as Cannabis Packaging Summit) delivers a robust conference and exhibition to showcase the latest innovative products within cannabis packaging solutions.

For more information, click here.

Husch Blackwell has named partner Marshall Custer as co-leader of the firm’s 80-plus lawyer Cannabis practice group. Custer will share leadership duties for the team with partner Steve Levine, who was appointed by the firm to lead its Food & Agribusiness strategic business unit. Levine was a prime mover in creating Husch Blackwell’s cannabis practice and has led the group for the past decade.

Custer has worked with industrial hemp and marijuana companies since the industry’s beginning. He works closely with individual entrepreneurs and executives on regulatory compliance, corporate structuring, debt and equity financing, governance, securities compliance, and mergers and acquisitions.

In 2021, Custer was ranked by Chambers USA as a leading attorney in Cannabis Law and was mentioned as a key lawyer of the Cannabis group by The Legal 500.

“Marshall is a strategic and pragmatic leader” said Levine. “His significant industry experience, business acumen, and legal prowess make him the right co-leader for our cannabis practice going forward.”

The “Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act,” was published today. The proposed legislation, sponsored by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, delivers a plan for the comprehensive rescheduling and federal regulation of marijuana.  We have highlighted a few key aspects of the proposed legislation and our thoughts on the overall landscape below. Continue Reading One Step Closer to the Federal Decriminalization of Marijuana

On June 21, 2021, the U. S. Supreme Court declined to hear Eric D. Speidell, et al., Petitioners v. United States, which sought to overturn the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2020 opinion on Speidell v. United States. In that case, the Tenth Circuit rejected the argument of several Colorado medical marijuana dispensaries that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not have authority to investigate whether a taxpayer is dealing in controlled substances. Because the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, the Tenth Circuit ruling stands, and taxpayers can reasonably expect courts across the country to reach similar results as the Tenth Circuit did. Marijuana-related businesses can expect the IRS to continue aggressively enforcing Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code. Continue Reading Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to IRS Enforcement of Cannabis Tax Rules

On June 4th, 2021 we provided a brief overview of coming changes in online ordering which was updated on June 14, 2021, “Business as Usual: The June 11, 2021 Expiration of COVID-19 Emergency Rules and the Impact on Colorado Marijuana Businesses”. Since our last update Governor Polis signed an extension of Executive Order 2020-011 which now allows for transactions completed outside of the licensed premises by licensed retail marijuana stores through electronic means to resume until July 10, 2021. What is the current status of online ordering and online transactions? Continue Reading Current Status of Online Orders in Colorado

As vaccination prevalence increases and COVID -19 case numbers go down business has started to go back to normal, for better or for worse. Some of the changes resulting from the COVID-19 emergency proved to be beneficial to regulated marijuana businesses, patients, and consumers. In Colorado some of these measures expired on June 11, 2021. Continue Reading Business as Usual: The June 11, 2021 Expiration of COVID-19 Emergency Rule and the Impact on Colorado Marijuana Businesses