Cannabis & the Law

We have developed this blog specifically to track the creation of the regulatory framework for the cannabis industry in Massachusetts and provide insight on legal issues of concern to potential operators.

California is the largest cannabis market in the United States and it is soon to be the first state in the country with a comprehensive data privacy regime designed to protect consumers’ personal information. The California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) goes into effect on January 1, 2020, and will apply to companies with revenues in excess of $25 million that do business in California (as well as certain other categories of companies). Most cannabis companies…
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) currently takes the position that cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannibinoids cannot be used in dietary supplements and food because of statutory provisions under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”) that prohibit the sale of products containing an ingredient treated as a drug or involved in clinical trials. Since CBD was the subject of clinical investigations that led to the approval of the drug Epidiolex® (cannabidiol), CBD…
Business is booming for cannabis ventures, but the legal landscape for related intellectual property protection and product advertising is rife with complications that demand special consideration, and companies should be paying attention to these issues out of the gate. Foley Hoag presents a webinar covering a range of topics related to cannabis IP protection and promotion, including: Maximizing trademark rights at the federal and state level Leveraging copyright as secondary protection for brands Cannabis patent…
Last month the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent joint warning letters to four companies that manufacture and advertise flavored liquids used in vaping (“e-liquids”).  While the letters focus on the nicotine content of the products, they should nevertheless be of interest to cannabis advertisers because they demonstrate a continued regulatory focus on vaping and suggest a framework that may soon apply more broadly to the promotion of…
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (“MDAR”) and the state’s Department of Health (“DPH”) have issued new guidance on the sale of Hemp and Hemp-derived cannabanoids, (namely, CBD) products in Massachusetts. The MDAR guidance applies to hemp and hemp-derived products.  It establishes that the follow hemp-derived products can be sold in Massachusetts: Hemp seed Hemp seed oil Hulled hemp Hemp seed powder Hemp protein Clothing Building material Items made from hemp fiber. For these products,…
Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin and his Securities Division are increasingly turning their attention toward securities offerings in the cannabis industry, as demonstrated by the June 19, 2019 filing of the second enforcement action against a cannabis business in the last two months.  The filing was accompanied by a statement from Galvin warning of future sweeps in the industry. The latest enforcement action, brought against Positronic Farms, based in Holyoke, MA, and its founder…
Cresco Labs announced this week that United States antitrust regulators are seeking additional information about its anticipated acquisition of Origin House. Pursuant to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, Cresco Labs was required to notify the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division (the “Division”) of the transaction and to observe a waiting period while regulators reviewed the transaction. On June 10, the Division requested additional information regarding the proposed transaction. That request extends the…
The New Jersey Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program announced on Monday that it was seeking applications to license up to 108 additional Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs). More specifically, the Department intends to license up to 24 cultivators, 30 manufacturers, and 54 dispensaries.  The cultivator licenses will be divided into three different size categories: 5,000 square feet, 20,000 square feet, and 30,000 square feet. The purpose of sub-dividing the cultivation licenses by size is to…
Illinois is set to become the 11th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana – and the first state to do so by legislation rather than by voter initiative – after the State House passed a legalization bill on Friday, May 31.  Governor J.B. Pritzker campaigned for office on a pro-legalization platform, and is widely expected to sign the bill into law. The bill would allow recreational sales to begin as soon as January…
On Friday, May 31, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA” or “Agency”) held the widely anticipated hearing on scientific data and information about products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds (“CBD”).  This is the first public hearing since the Farm Bill legalized hemp in December 2018. The Agency heard from approximately 140 speakers from diverse industries including, academia, agriculture, consumers, health professionals, and manufacturing companies who offered various perspectives on the safety of CBD.…