Serving Cannabis Businesses and Cannabis Entrepreneurs Nationwide
Cannabis Regulatory Compliance Attorneys
If you are looking to enter the cannabis business in any capacity, getting a license is only the first step. You also need to keep that license.
To do so, you need to be across a vast array of local, state and federal regulatory compliance requirements so that you can be confident that your business is not going to be flagged by the authorities.
This can be confusing without the guidance of professionals who understand the industry and keep up to date with the various federal and state laws regarding cannabis.
From growing to testing, manufacturing, distributing, and selling cannabis, the legal and compliance hurdles can be significant—and they are frequently changing.
At Cannabis Law Solutions, our experienced cannabis business attorneys can help you navigate the red tape to get your business set up, operational, established, and off the radar of the regulatory authorities.
What is regulatory compliance?
One of the “trade-offs” of the increasing trend to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis around the U.S. is that the emerging industry is heavily regulated by federal, state, and local governments.
In fact, it’s fair to say that few other industries need to deal with the same degree of regulatory restrictions as the cannabis industry. Most states have introduced stringent guidelines for how cannabis business owners run their businesses.
Regulatory compliance is the process of meeting these regulations and ensuring that your business “ticks all of the boxes”.
In many cases, business owners are familiar with only a fraction of the regulatory measures in place—which can lead to potential risks of fines, holds, suspensions, or even license revocation and business closure. In extreme cases, state or federal involvement can lead to criminal charges.
To prevent this, our cannabis business lawyers can help get your business compliant with all the local, state and federal regulations—wherever in the U.S. you are based.
For more established cannabis businesses, regularly auditing compliance levels will help ensure that you identify potential violations, correct any faults, and remain legal.
Our cannabis regulatory services
The cannabis attorneys at Cannabis Law Solutions have considerable experience with matters of regulatory compliance and can help you navigate the choppy waters of this growing industry, remain compliant, and keep your business license safe.
We provide the following regulatory compliance services:
Consulting and assistance for state cannabis license applications: to help you get off to the best possible start with your business.
Advisory services for local permitting and licensing processes: ensuring that you are aware of all the local regulations and can meet the requirements.
Drafting and management of plans: for submission to states/local municipalities for operational licenses.
Monitoring the federal, state, and local regulatory landscape for cannabis businesses: to help your business stay current in this fast-evolving industry.
Periodic compliance audits: to provide the peace of mind that your business remains compliant and operates according to the most recent regulations.
Cannabis businesses cannot afford to make mistakes. “Cookie-cutter” legal guidance should not be an option as every state is different. The compliance advice you receive needs to be specific to the relevant regulations that apply in your area.
How can you uphold the latest cannabis regulations?
One constant with the cannabis industry in the U.S. is to expect change.
It is evolving quickly and, while that presents exciting opportunities for those involved (or looking to get involved), it also creates challenges for business owners to keep up with the regulations.
Indifference to these changes can land you and your business in serious trouble. But many cannabis industry business owners are confused about whether they are doing the right things.
Remember, without a license, your business is nothing. All the hard work put into getting your license comes to naught if you lose it.
Fortunately, you can call on compliance professionals who stay up to date with the regulations and can advise you on the steps required to remain in the good books of the authorities and retain your license.
Get help with cannabis industry compliance in your area
Whether it’s changes to the local fire, electrical, and plumbing codes for cannabis businesses in your area or an amendment to regulations for storage, waste, security or safety, our team of cannabis industry attorneys expects change.
We have been scouring the regulatory landscapes to flag where clients may be affected for over a decade and have watched the cannabis industry change before our eyes.
Our advisors understand the written requirements of the laws AND how those requirements are enforced by the local and state authorities in your area.
Our cannabis business attorneys can help you prepare and apply for your cannabis business license. Call 866-329-0729 for a consultation with a knowledgeable cannabis attorney at Cannabis Law Solutions.
How will our cannabis and psychedelic business services help you
Cannabis & psychedelics business entity formation
Whether you are looking to form a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, our experienced business lawyers can discuss the pros and cons of both and help you incorporate your business with the optimal structure to achieve your goals.
Cannabis & psychedelics business licenses
If you want to run a cannabis or psychedelics business, you will need a valid business license issued by your state authority as well as local permits. Eligibility criteria are likely to be stringent and we can help you navigate the often-complex license application process.
Cannabis & psychedelics corporate documentation
Whether you need to prepare for a license application, transfer of business ownership, change of corporate structure, transfer business location or another business process, we can help you identify and draft the documentation you need to operate legally in your state.
Cannabis & psychedelics administrative law
State authorities watch licensed and unlicensed cannabis and psychedelics businesses closely. If you violate regulations, you could face an administrative penalty. Our attorneys can provide representation or help you prepare for an administrative hearing, settlement conference or appeal.
Cannabis & psychedelics disputes and litigation
Whether you have a dispute with another business, a legal issue with one of your partners or a licensing or administrative issue, you may need legal assistance to help resolve it. We are adept at alternative dispute resolution methods as well as civil litigation.
Cannabis & psychedelics regulatory compliance
As the cannabis and psychedelics industries emerge in states around the U.S., they are more heavily regulated than most other industries. We can help your business navigate the red tape and plan to stay on the right side of the regulatory authorities in whichever state you are based.
McKenzie and her firm were definitely awesome. She was conscientious of my money, and made efforts to let me help to decrease the expense of my case. I was not confident about my chances of success before hiring her, but once I did, I slept so much better. Definitely the best choice (and I met with a few!)
These guys rock!!! Met with McKenzie about an issue I needed some help on. She was honest, professional and gave great direction that was easy to follow and solved the problem! Legal Solutions of New Mexico conduct themselves unlike any other lawyers I’ve ever seen – starting with their website, all the way through to the personal attention they provide! They are direct and get the job done while keeping their clients interests at heart. 10/10 would recommend to anyone needing legal help.
“One of the best for sure”
McKenzie St.Denis is THE best! She’s very thorough and listens to you. She gives the best recommendation based on YOUR needs and wants. She genuinely has the clients best interest at heart—no doubt. I definitely recommend her as she has integrity—super sharp! One of the best for sure. Thank you so much, McKenzie!!!
Opening a successful and legal marijuana dispensary begins with hiring a knowledgeable cannabis attorney and learning all that you can about this industry and the applicable laws. The next step is to set up a corporate business structure and create a retail business plan, which an attorney can also help you with. You will also need to research potential locations for your business to find out where licensing is legal.
Next, obtain the necessary licensing to operate your cannabis business and ensure that your operational infrastructure follows all laws and regulations. If you are not growing or producing your products yourself, you will need to contract with cultivators and product manufacturers to supply your business.
Before you begin the process of applying for a cannabis license, you need to establish a business from which to apply. The state will not consider an application from an individual; instead, the applicant must be a business entity in good standing with the state.
Your business will begin when you choose a legal entity and file the appropriate paperwork with the Secretary of State. After that, you will file with the IRS and obtain a taxpayer identification number.
You would start with articles of incorporation and include other key corporate provisions in the bylaws that state how your company will be governed. If your business is a partnership or limited liability company, you will need an operating agreement. Depending on your line of business, you may also need other licenses to operate.
In addition, you will also need other corporate documents that the Department of Health will want to see when they are considering your cannabis application. Of importance here, your application would ask you to provide:
Your articles of incorporation
Certificate of good standing
An attorney can help you both choose the appropriate business entity and draft and file any necessary documentation. When you are seeking to enter the cannabis field, it is important to get your business formation process right to make the best possible impression on the Department of Health. Doing so will allow you to devote as much time as possible to your cannabis-related business arrangements.
As a precursor to even being able to apply for state approval of your cannabis business, you must have a properly formed business entity. As a result, the first documentation you must file is the documentation establishing your business.
Next, you will need to obtain a tax identification number by registering with the IRS. In addition, the licensing application also asks you to provide your current state business license registration.
Beyond your general business licenses, you would also need specific permission to operate a cannabis business. This involves a very strict registration process where the state will closely scrutinize your application. You can expect the state to review each of the licenses that they request since it wants to be sure that your business complies with laws before they are granted the right to operate in the cannabis industry.
Compliance means making sure that you follow the myriad of laws that apply to your state’s cannabis businesses. Further, the regulatory landscape is fast-changing as the state gains more experience overseeing the businesses.
What this means for you is that knowledge is one of the most important things that you can have. Not only do you need an expert in the current laws, but you also need to be able to anticipate future changes in the law. This means that each business needs an expert who understands the laws and can advise them as to the best means of following them.
Also, compliance also means that you have sound policies and procedures in place that govern your business. The Department of Health is already looking at your policies when they evaluate your initial application. However, they reserve the right to audit and inspect your business to verify that you are complying with the law. You should always be ready for an inspection by documenting how you are following the regulations.
The best way to show compliance is by keeping your paperwork organized and conducting your own internal audits. The Department is interested primarily in your safety procedures, so you should be ready to show how you are following your own procedures. Further, you should always reevaluate your own policies to see if there are any weaknesses or changes that can be made to strengthen them.
The major thing that the Department of Health is interested in is the safety of both the product and the operation. As a baseline, the state wants to know who all of the owners are and the people who will be working in the operation.
While there are common documents among all the application classes that the Department is seeking, there are also special requirements for each of the categories.
For example, when the Department is evaluating a manufacturing application, it will pay close attention to measures that your business takes to ensure proper hygiene and testing methods. The Department also will pay attention to the manufacturer’s procurement practice and the security of its inventory.
With regard to laboratory submissions, the focus is partially on the testing processes and equipment that the business will use. The Department wants technical, scientific details of the exact tests and the quality control that the laboratory will use for testing. The emphasis is on ensuring product safety.
For courier businesses, the Department will scrutinize the safety and security of the delivery process, including the vehicles and the delivery routes that are used. The emphasis is on the safety of qualified patients, primary caregivers, and courier staff in light of the product being delivered. In addition, since there is interaction with patients, the Department wants to see how the applicant plans on protecting patient privacy.
Cannabis legalization often works in a series of steps. Broadly speaking, cannabis policy reform occurs in the following stages:
Prohibition: Criminal penalties apply for the possession or use of cannabis.
Decriminalization: Low-level criminal penalties are removed for cannabis usage (e.g., personal possession) and criminal penalties may be replaced with civil fines.
Medical legalization: Full medical legalization with commercial licensing and testing may come straight away or in a series of stages.
Legalization: State laws are changed to make any cannabis activity a crime no longer. Cannabis must be removed from the Controlled Substances Act and new rules added for the legal commercial cultivation, distribution, testing, and sales of cannabis.
Oregon and Colorado states have decriminalized the use, sale, and possession of psilocybin, which is the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” and has been shown to have great value in treating certain medical conditions, like depression, anxiety and life-threatening cancers.
Besides these states, the cities of Oakland and Santa Cruz in California as well as Washington, D.C., Somerville, Cambridge and Northampton (Massachusetts) have all decriminalized psilocybin.
It should be noted that all psychedelics are illegal in the United States under federal law and drugs like MDMA, DMT, ketamine, LSD and psilocybin are Schedule 1 controlled substances. This means they are viewed as having no medical purpose and no legitimate commercial application