The Eversheds Sutherland cross-practice cannabis industry team is designed to bring greater legal operational certainty and insight to businesses operating in this nascent and rapidly growing industry, where state, federal and international regulations remain in flux.
Need for guidance
Eversheds Sutherland co-ceo Mark D Wasserman said, “As we listened to our clients, we noted a growing need for guidance on how to navigate the fluid legal landscape of the cannabis industry. We felt that the best way to meet this need was to build an interdisciplinary team that can help clients understand and evolve their business models as the cannabis industry advances.” Litigation Partners Meghana Shah and Greg Kaufman are leading the team with the additional leadership of Anusia Gillespie, the US co-head of innovation. Together, they built an innovative business model with practice group liaisons from across the US practices and a larger team involving each practice group to ensure comprehensive up-to-the-minute legal advice despite the speed at which the industry is changing. Mr. Kaufman said, “with deep industry knowledge, subject matter experience and regulatory knowledge, the cannabis industry team was built for clients looking to navigate regulatory uncertainty; capitalize on opportunities; and ultimately make better decisions for their businesses in the cannabis space.” The team provides an array of services to individuals and businesses, including: litigation; investigations and enforcement; licensing and compliance for cultivation, processing and dispensing; protecting intellectual property; regulatory advice; taxation; and more.
Recent select experience includes advising a medical marijuana provider on joint venture formation; protecting intellectual property related to licensing of cannabis genetics; assisting with private capital raising, acquisitions and debt financing; advising energy service companies providing energy to cultivation businesses; counseling insurance providers; and providing local, state and federal tax advice. Ms. Shah explained, “providing legal advice in the rapidly changing, sometimes murky cannabis landscape requires unprecedented interdisciplinary collaboration and the development of new capabilities. It is not business as usual.” Among the tools developed are the Eversheds Sutherland AI Sandbox on several projects and the development of a 50-state legislative and regulatory cannabis heat map for lawyers and clients.