Latest Articles

What if a company patented any liquid form of high-potency cannabis? And, what would happen if that company used the patent to shut down the operations of anyone making these liquid forms? Those are the questions raised by a lawsuit filed in Colorado federal court on July 30, 2018, and the answers could have existential consequences for many cannabis businesses. In July, United Cannabis Corporation (“UCANN”) sued Pure Hemp Collective, alleging infringement of U.S.
On June 7, 2018, a supermajority of the Washington Legislature blessed financial institutions and accountants providing services for the licensed marijuana industry.[1] The new law is comfort legislation for a special class in Washington. It is also a protest against impressions about the threat of federal prosecution. But what comfort is the legislation for persons falling outside the protected group? Does it provide any comfort or is it the proverbial cold comfort? The answer…
As we reported last week, U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum on January 4 rescinding the seminal cannabis “Cole Memo” and other DOJ guidance involving cannabis. This has raised continuing issues and confusion for financial institutions concerning what the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) would do concerning the guidance it issued on February 14, 2014 entitled “BSA Expectations Regarding Marijuana-Related Businesses.” This morning, we received the following note from the…
In what could hardly be characterized as a surprise, on January 4, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum (the “Sessions Memo”) that rescinds the seminal cannabis “Cole Memo” of August 29, 2013 and other previous Department of Justice (DOJ) guidance involving cannabis. The implications of this rescission for the medical and recreational marijuana businesses that have been rapidly developing throughout the United States are uncertain. The Cole Memo played a critical…
Our client Periodic Edibles has launched a podcast focused on the business and science of cannabis. Wayne Schwind, the CEO and Founder of Periodic Edibles — a cannabis-infused caramel company — hosts the show. The podcast takes a deeper look at business owners, founders and executives inside the cannabis industry and features stories about how they entered the industry, what they’re currently working on and where they see the cannabis industry going. Give it a
In the recent issue of GQ magazine, an article entitled, “The Great Pot Monopoly Mystery,” sought to unravel some of the mystery behind the “shadowy” BioTech Institute LLC. The article made a particular point that should be of immediate concern to those in the Cannabis industry — BioTech’s burgeoning patent portfolio. BioTech has taken the unprecedented step of acquiring utility patent protection for the Cannabis plant itself. BioTech is attempting to exert control over access and…
Today, my colleague Kristin Beneski and I were honored to file a US Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of the Washington Legal Foundation (“WLF”) in Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund. In Cyan, the Supreme Court will decide whether state courts have jurisdiction over securities class actions alleging violations of the Securities Act of 1933, or if federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction. In support of Cyan’s position that federal courts have exclusive…
How will the 2017 arrival of Justice Neil Gorsuch influence the US Supreme Court’s securities-fraud jurisprudence? My colleague Kristin Beneski and I discuss this question in a Washington Legal Foundation Working Paper titled “US Supreme Court Securities-Fraud Jurisprudence:  An Emerging New Direction?” In our Working Paper, we analyze whether Justice Gorsuch may urge the Court to chip away at the viability of securities class actions—such as by revisiting the Basic v. Levinson fraud-on-the-market presumption or…
SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar recently said that the SEC is open to allowing companies that are going public to provide for mandatory shareholder arbitration in their corporate charters.  Piwowar’s remarks have prompted a firestorm of discussion of the issue of mandatory arbitration of securities class actions, including helpful analyses by Alison Frankel and Kevin LaCroix of issues that arbitration provisions would raise. If Piwowar’s thought turns into action, there will be numerous public policy and legal…
In a matter of first impression in the Ninth Circuit, the court applied the Supreme Court’s Omnicare standard for pleading the falsity of a statement of opinion in City of Dearborn Heights Act 345 Police & Fire Retirement System v. Align Technology, Inc., — F.3d —, 2017 WL 1753276 (9th Cir. May 5, 2017).  The Ninth Circuit decision builds on the momentum for the defense bar following the 2016 Second Circuit opinion in Tongue v.…