Shryne Group adds Houseplant GC amid plans to double cannabis store count

Cary Berger joins Californian cannabis holding company as CLO reporting to CEO and former Goodwin Procter attorney Jon Avidor

Cary Berger

Los Angeles-based cannabis holding company Shryne Group has added the general counsel of Houseplant, a cannabis company co-founded by actor and comedian Seth Rogen, as chief legal officer.  

Cary Berger will lead Shryne's legal function and report directly to chief executive officer and former Goodwin Procter corporate attorney Jon Avidor. 

He joins Shryne after two years as general counsel and chief administrative officer for Houseplant, where he led the company’s legal, finance, governmental affairs and business matters in the US and Canada. 

Berger has held a number of other in-house roles in California across several industries, including as deputy general counsel of semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom and president and general counsel of online dating service eHarmony, according to his Linkedin profile. 

Berger also served as general counsel of media company Maker Studios and later became deputy chief counsel at the Walt Disney Company after leading Maker through its $675m acquisition by Disney in 2014. 

He began his legal career in private practice at Los Angelese-based firm Irell & Manella, where he became a partner and represented corporate and private equity clients in a variety of financing and M&A transactions. 

“Cary is that rare person who understands both the intricacies of cannabis law and more traditional corporate law and governance,” Avidor said. “His experience and leadership will be crucial as we continue to expand both in California and in new states.”

Founded in 2019, Shryne currently boasts the largest cannabis retail footprint in California with 20 open stores and plans to double its physical presence in the US by the end of next year. The company employs 2,500 employees across its different business lines and operates four cultivation, manufacturing and distribution facilities in Humboldt County, Los Angeles, Oakland and Lompoc. 

“Throughout my career I have worked with private and public companies at the brink of massive growth, and that’s certainly the opportunity I see for Shryne,” Berger said. “I’m excited to help Shryne navigate its next era.”

In related industry news, Duane Morris’s former cannabis industry group co-leader, David Feldman, launched a new law firm last month to complement his existing advisory business that supports legal hemp and marijuana growers.

And earlier this year, former Burns & Levinson partner Katrina Skinner joined specialist regulatory and compliance firm Simplifya, which focuses on the fast-growing legal cannabis industry. Skinner was previously general counsel at cannabis banking services firm Safe Harbor Services.

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