The cannabis industry is a rapidly growing and evolving sector that exists in an ever-changing legal and regulatory landscape.

Participants in this market are seeing great opportunity, while also navigating complex state regulations coupled with existing federal restrictions on cannabis use. It is precisely the novel challenges that the cannabis industry presents, coupled with conflict between some state and federal law, that necessitates the use of an experienced legal team to help advise you on cannabis-related issues.

Lawyers in Womble Bond Dickinson’s Cannabis practice are working closely with cannabis companies and other market participants to grow their business, protect their innovations, fulfill their regulatory and compliance responsibilities, and legally defend their products and services.    

For nearly half a century, Womble Bond Dickinson has represented high-profile companies in highly regulated industries, including dietary supplements, food, beverages, homeopathic medicines, prescription pharmaceuticals for both human and veterinary uses, medical devices, cosmetics, personal care products, tobacco, e-cigarettes, healthcare, life sciences and wellness, among others. Whether in the courtroom, the board room, or before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), we bring years of hands-on experience to bear for our cannabis clients.  

Our multi-disciplinary Cannabis Team provides the full spectrum of legal services often required by companies operating in this fast-changing industry as well as in the vast network of ancillary products and services. Our attorneys, jurisdiction permitting, serve businesses at every level of the cannabis supply chain. We have extensive experience advising clients on the federal and state laws and regulations relevant to the industry, including the Controlled Substances Act, Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill), the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), relevant rules, regulations, and guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture and state-specific marijuana, CBD and hemp law and regulations.

We can scale our services and customize teams based on the life cycle of your business – bringing in the right resources when you need them. 

Our core services include:

Corporate/Transactional

Our corporate and transactional lawyers can help you structure and finance your growing business.  We represent clients in a full-range of complex transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations and divestitures, corporate financing, equipment leasing and finance, strategic alliances and joint ventures.  We also advise on corporate governance and regulatory matters, including counseling company executives and boards of directors on their fiduciary duties under state law. 

Intellectual Property

Innovation is the lifeblood of your company.  We work alongside you when new products and services are developed, produced, and introduced to the market, and we help protect and defend your valuable intellectual property assets including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.  We also advise on marketing and advertising compliance that accompany new product development. 

Regulatory

Our team of regulatory professionals and Ph.D. level scientists has the in-depth knowledge and experience interacting with the FDA to guide you in navigating the complex regulatory landscape. We assist new product developers, established manufacturers, and retailers with their regulatory needs.  We have a full range of regulatory services, including strategic and technical guidance, regulatory submissions, preclinical testing, GMP manufacturing support, and FDA inspection preparation. Our regulatory lawyers can also help you respond to (and proactively seek to avoid) FDA warning letters, internal investigations, and enforcement actions. 

Litigation

When litigation is necessary, our trial-tested litigators defend companies in complex commercial, intellectual property, and product liability litigation throughout the United States.  Our WBD Advance services, such as the Case Management Facility, BullDox eDiscovery and Information Management, Medical and Scientific Solutions, and Graphic Solutions, are designed to help companies control costs and improve outcomes in high-stakes, complex litigation. Our team also regularly represents companies in resolving disputes through arbitration and mediation. 

Examples of Work

  • Represented a leading California-based sustainable infrastructure finance company in a significant equipment leasing transaction for one of the preeminent cannabis operators and distributors in the country. 
  • Represented Colorado-based manufacturer of CBD and hemp oil products in:
    • forming a joint venture with a New York-based distributor;
    • drafting and negotiating commercial agreements, including processing agreements, distribution agreements, supply agreements, confidentiality and non-circumvention agreements, broker agreements, and employment agreements;
    • class action litigation; and
    • employment litigation matters.
  • Advised a leading cannabis manufacturing and consulting company on general product liability risk and compliance issues related to designing, licensing and operating cannabis extraction facilities. 
  • Represented cannabis and CBD companies as intellectual property counsel in the areas of trademarks, licensing, and brand protection.
  • Guiding clients in Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) compliance matters and defending them against allegations of TCPA violations. 

Disclaimer:

No legal advice that our firm gives is intended to provide any guidance or assistance in violating federal or state laws. Please note that possessing, using, distributing, and selling marijuana are crimes under federal and some state laws. All firm services are subject to the firm’s obligations under applicable state and federal law and rules of professional conduct.