To keep up with the legal implications of an evolving industry, Offit Kurman started a Cannabis Practice Group this year. The goal is to provide counsel in an area with a lot of unknowns.
What is known: In 2014, Maryland’s legislature voted to legalize medical marijuana, and this year, the state’s medical marijuana commission began issuing the first licenses to growers. But federal and state law conflict over marijuana possession, transportation and use. Added to that, many established law firms are reluctant to represent clients in the medical marijuana business, said Jonathan Wachs, an attorney with Offit Kurman and chair of the Cannabis Practice Group, which he cofounded with Darren Weiss.
“Our first goal was to create a team of dynamic lawyers who could apply their experience in different practice areas to address the specific needs of a complex and rapidly changing industry,” Wachs said.
Attorneys within the group have experience in intellectual property, employment, corporate, real estate and insurance law.
The second goal was to create a peer advisory forum for people in the legal cannabis industry. A final aim was to pull together resources for those who want to follow and learn about this industry’s legal issues.
“All such goals were achieved within a few months,” Wachs said.
In a few years’ time, the public will regard the legal cannabis industry as “mainstream,” he said. But until it is organized and well regulated, and even after that, he and the other attorneys are prepared to offer advice and counsel.