As the cannabis industry continues to spread across the United States, it has spawned a need for entrepreneurs to retain legal counsel well versed in this particular sector of the law. Not only is it vital to have a strong legal eagle in place to ensure grow operations and dispensaries are in compliance with various state cannabis laws, but it is also a good idea to have a solid attorney in your corner to prevent any unnecessary discrepancies with the federal government.
It is for this reason that team of lawyers, including members of the Miami-based firm Akerman and former partner of Reed Smith, have assembled the National Cannabis Bar Association. The group’s mission, according to their website, is to connect attorneys interested in working with the cannabis trade with other lawyers knowledgeable in the field.
In a recent article from the American Lawyer, attorney Jonathan Robbins, who oversees Akerman’s Regulated Substances Task Force, said the cannabis industry is still very much the Wild West, as many businesses are confused about how to operate within the fine line of state and federal law. This, of course, is not made any easier by the fact that most attorneys, too, remain perplexed about whether it is acceptable in the eyes of their respective state bar’s to represent clients who earn a living selling weed. “You’re dealing with law that has not been tested and companies that have not been tracked,” he said.
To narrow this confusion, the cannabis bar aims to provide attorneys practicing in medical and recreational states with a network of legal expertise to assist them in navigating through the treacherous terrain of their individual markets.
“As more and more states decriminalize or legalize cannabis — and set up their own regulatory structures — the legal conditions cannabis industry clients and their attorneys face are likely to get even more complex before they get simpler,” Shabnam Malek, one of the founders of the NCBA, said in a statement. “The NCBA will offer support and advocacy for attorneys working with businesses in this rapidly changing, swiftly emerging industry.”
Membership for the bar is open to practicing attorneys, paralegal, law students, and retired attorneys.
The NCBA will officially launch later this month at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Cannabis Business Summit and Expo in Denver.