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Do you want to know how to choose a cannabis business lawyer, especially if you already own or are thinking of owning a cannabis dispensary or other related business? It is important to choose the right person since the cannabis laws continue to change over a short period of time.
Unless your company is a big one, it is recommended that you stay away from nationwide databases of attorneys. Why? These law firms will usually ask for a minimum fee and all kinds of hourly billing, which means that you might end paying more than you bargained for. It makes no sense to pay nationwide legal fees when you do not plan to operate your cannabis business in states like Alaska, Michigan, Massachusetts or Texas. However, if you are going to operate in states like Ohio and Michigan, you may want to retain a cannabis business lawyer that will be able to cover these states and have extensive knowledge of the cannabis laws.
One more thing to avoid is law firms with five or fewer lawyers or a sole practitioner. Why? Well, these people will be your one source of information and legal advice. Remember, each state has their individual or specific laws and no one lawyer will know everything necessary to give you the sufficient coverage you need for your business. They won't be able to address all the things you need to represent a legal cannabis business. When choosing your attorney, it is important to find a professional that knows about more than one the following:
- State licensing
- Government relations
- Contract law
- Local zoning issues
- Intellectual property law
- Corporate law
- Real estate law
- Compliance law
- Administrative law
- Employment law
Try to stay away from any law firm that only does cannabis law. Such a law firm won't be much good to you overall since the cannabis industry covers so many things such as insurance, real estate, employment, and intellectual property and government relations. If the law firm only has experience in cannabis law, then what was the firm representing prior to cannabis legalization? This means that they have little experience in cannabis law.
Try to stay away from law firms that are involved in lobbying and criminal defense. Attorneys with a love for lobbying should stay in that field. Criminal attorneys should do the same. However, if cannabis has been made legal and you want to open up a cannabis business, it is best to look for a law firm that has the experience to litigate and represent you. The lobbyists and criminal defense attorneys won't serve that purpose. It is best to have a cannabis business lawyer with years of experience in civil law and business law.
By the time you find your cannabis business lawyer, be sure to review all the credentials. Find out which law schools were attended. It is ideal that lawyers attended a top Ivy League school. The credentials should also include speaking engagements at cannabis conventions and being an instructor at a reputable cannabis training school. The attorneys should also write and speak on relevant legal issues in the cannabis industry. The lawyer should have legal ranking on reputable legal websites. This would be a good indicator for choosing the right cannabis business lawyer.
If you already know an attorney who does not represent the cannabis community, why not ask for a referral of a cannabis business lawyer. This is actually the best place to start your search for the right law firm. Make sure it is a good fit for you.