When I started representing cannabis businesses in 2010, the biggest epidemic in the industry next to I.R.C. 280E was the overwhelming lack of cannabis banking. This inability to access financial institutions for just depository accounts was staggering to businesses, leading to endless public safety hazards and organizational chaos. Almost 14 years later, the cannabis banking crisis has somewhat improved due to the 2014 FinCEN guidelines. But they’re not enough on either side of the aisle, and Congressional Research Services (“CRS”) echoed that point in a recent “Legal Sidebar”, detailing the myriad liabilities financial institutions to face if they want to bank cannabis businesses.Continue Reading Cannabis Banking: What’s a Financial Institution to Do Right Now?
With a passion for organizational growth, Hilary advises clients in the cannabis, healthcare, and life sciences spaces on transactions, regulatory compliance, governance matters, and other corporate needs.
Hilary likes being a dealmaker: she values building collegial relationships with clients and other attorneys, and she loves helping clients create value and business opportunities. She also appreciates the in-depth strategies that transactions rely on.
Much of Hilary’s practice is devoted to mergers, acquisitions, and other transactions, as well as to serving as first point of outside counsel for certain clients. She also assists with entity formation and the drafting of various governance documents and asset portfolio management. In addition, Hilary advises clients on industry-specific regulatory compliance.
Hilary’s experience with the cannabis industry dates to 2010, when she began assisting medical cannabis providers with business questions. It was immediately clear to her that this emerging, growing industry had a massive need for corporate counsel, and she has advised cannabis clients—including many major national and international companies—ever since. Her experience includes cannabis licensing; marijuana and industrial hemp regulatory compliance; mergers and acquisitions; corporate and transactional matters, including negotiating management services agreements, fee slotting agreements, cultivation supply agreements, and intellectual property licensing agreements; receiverships; dissolution and wind downs; and financing and debt restructuring. In 2023, Hilary joined Husch Blackwell out of enthusiasm for the firm’s deep bench of innovators in the cannabis and healthcare space.
Hilary also devotes a significant portion of her practice to healthcare clients, including physicians, physician groups, and medical services organizations, and she represents clients regarding the off-label application of controlled substances.
Known for offering a commonsense business approach to legal questions, Hilary never gives legal advice in a vacuum. She provides clients with definitive guidance that has practical applications, adding value and supporting business goals.
On the heels of New York and Missouri legalizing adult use cannabis, on November 7, 2023, Ohio voters approved “Issue 2” – a citizen initiative paving the way for adult use marijuana legalization in the state, which according to voter ballots creates “a system that regulates and taxes marijuana just like alcohol”. While the law goes into effect on December 7th, lawmakers can modify the new law before it goes into effect, and of course Ohio’s newly created Division of Cannabis Control (within the Department of Commerce) will need to rulemake around the new law, which could throw some curveballs at enterprising adult use marijuana businesses.Continue Reading Ohio Marijuana Legalization Hits Home
Many states with cannabis legalization have manufacturer and dispensary licensees that make and sell cannabis-infused beverages and even cannabis-infused drink mixes. What you don’t usually see is a major liquor retailer carrying any form of cannabis drink. Why? First, states with cannabis legalization on the whole ban alcohol and cannabis being mixed together in a single beverage, and, second, major liquor retailers won’t bother getting a state cannabis license due to a multitude of legal issues, including federal law and how it conflicts with cannabis negatively impacts alcohol licensing. However, Total Wine & More (“Total Wine”) is breaking the mold by offering cannabis drinks in Minnesota.Continue Reading Cannabis Drinks Hit Total Wine
Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended to the Drug Enforcement Administration that cannabis be rescheduled on the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) from a I to a III. At the same time, the SAFER Banking Act is winding its way through the Senate. And as of October 26, the cannabis industry will try to end prohibition through the courts. Cannabis litigation at this level has been tried before and failed. This time, however, may be different for a few important reasons (not the least of which is that renowned litigator David Boies is leading the charge). I’ve been practicing in this space for 14 years, and this is really the first time that all three branches of government are seeing the cannabis movement all at once, which is exciting and should give the industry some much needed hope.Continue Reading Cannabis Litigation Alert: Commerce Clause Back on Blast