DLA Piper launches 70-strong cannabis law team to target $50bn global market

Team to be led out of Canada and London as firm joins growing number of practices eyeing medicinal products market
DLA Piper has launched an international cannabis practice

The global medicinal cannabis market's value is projected to rise to at least $43bn by 2024. Shutterstock

DLA Piper has launched an international cannabis practice in order to take advantage of the legalisation of cannabis across a growing number of jurisdictions.

It joins a number of law firms positioning themselves to gain a slice of the global medicinal cannabis market, whose value is projected to rise to at least $43bn by 2024.

The practice will be led by Toronto-based partner Robert Fonn and London-based senior associate Dylan Kennett and will comprise more than 70 lawyers and support staff practising in more than 15 countries.

The firm calculates that it has advised on global deals in the sector with a total value of $8bn. 

It also provides regulatory advice and cites a healthy existing client base ranging from investors to start ups as well as mature listed companies.

The practice will operate as a sub-group of the firm’s life sciences sector and include an array of legal disciplines – including corporate, IP, real estate and technology law – in market segments including pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, wellness and medicinal.

"The size, importance and growth of the global cannabis market can no longer be ignored,” said head of life sciences Marco de Morpurgo. “There is an ever-increasing acceptance of the medical benefits of cannabis and this knowledge is being rapidly expanded by considerable levels of research and development.”

Other firms to have launched cannabis practices include California-based Am Law 100 firm Sheppard Mullin, which launched a 70-lawyer team working out of 12 offices in June last year.

According to Chicago-based Hinshaw & Culbertson, which launched a cannabis industry team in December, 33 US states have approved medical marijuana and 11 have legalised recreational use.

UK magic circle firm Allen & Overy, which is also actively promoting its cannabis law expertise, says cannabis is now authorised for medicinal use in more than 25 countries, including Canada, Israel, Germany and the UK.

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