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.

The legal cannabis market is forecasted to reach nearly $30 billion by 2025, and investors are looking to get in on what many are calling the “green rush.” Attorneys from Foley Hoag’s private funds and cannabis practices present a webinar discussing the legal framework, regulation and practical fund structuring considerations for private fund managers looking to engage in these types of investments. They walk you through the current market and share lessons learned from their…
In November 2019, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) became the first union to organize employees at a Massachusetts cannabis company.  According to the Boston Globe, two-thirds of Sira Naturals, Inc.’s employees, who work at its cultivation and manufacturing facility and its dispensaries, voted to join UFCW.  Sira issued its own announcement indicating that in advance of the vote it entered a labor peace agreement with UFCW allowing union representatives to come…
Partner Kevin Conroy joined Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan for a conversation about the recreational industry in New England. Vermont legalized cannabis in 2018, and the discussion focused on challenges and lessons state legislators can learn from its neighbors like Maine and Massachusetts, which both legalized adult use cannabis in 2016. Other speakers included Erik Gunderson, director of Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy; Charlotte Hanna, founder of Community Growth Partners in Massachusetts; Laura Subin of…
On November 4, Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy (“OMP”) finalized its Adult-Use Marijuana Program regulations and announced that it would begin accepting applications for adult-use licenses on December 5. The regulations establish six types of cultivation licenses ranging from 500 to 20,000 square feet of canopy; a product-manufacturing license, and a marijuana store (i.e., retail) license. The OMP has not capped the number of licenses it will issue for cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers, and has…
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) released draft regulations for hemp production on Tuesday, giving farmers, states, and other industry stakeholders some much needed clarity on how the hemp provisions of the 2018 federal farm bill will be interpreted and enforced. Once the interim rule is finalized, the USDA will begin to accept and review states’ and tribes’ hemp regulation plans. The plans must at a minimum provide for tracking of land where hemp is…
The ink is barely dry on the New Jersey ATC and Missouri medical marijuana facility applications that so many of us assembled this August. Yet now, a new round of states have issued applications for competitive cannabis licenses. Below we discuss the qualifications, requirements, deadlines and other relevant information for the Illinois (adult use), Michigan (adult use) and Texas (medical; <.5% THC) applications. Foley Hoag has significant experience preparing winning applications in markets with competitive…
On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency.  The declaration can be found here.  Citing the growing number of cases of unexplained pulmonary illnesses in the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Baker exercised his power under M.G.L. c. 17, § 2A to declare such an emergency.  The statute provides that when the governor declares a public health emergency, the Public Health Commissioner may “take such action…
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…