There are new marijuana commercial interests popping up every day, and it can be easy to think that it’s a simple matter for anyone to get involved. While it’s true that nearly anyone can jump into the market, it’s not as easy to make a profit as it might at first seem. The key to getting there is a good lawyer.
You can’t understand all the regulations
Marijuana is one of the most highly-regulated industries in the country. The law is confusing, convoluted, and in places even seemingly contradictory. To make things especially confusing, state laws don’t always align with federal ones or with city and county codes and ordinances.
How do you know which regulations apply to you? How do you know which laws take precedence? Missing a detail could mean you are denied a license or get into serious legal trouble. Medical marijuana lawyers have the expertise to help you navigate these issues. Here are the reasons you might need one.
You need to protect your product
With so many people entering the cannabis market, it’s becoming apparent that standing out requires new products and unique strains. Navigating the world of intellectual property law, patents, and trademarks can be time consuming and frustrating.
If you do it all incorrectly, you could accidentally infringe on someone else’s property, or someone might steal your unprotected ideas and sell it for themselves. Even worse, they could try to trademark it themselves, leaving you unable to make money off your own ideas.
You aren’t sure of zoning issues
In most places, it’s not just cannabis that’s highly regulated. It’s also where it can be sold. Zoning ordinances strictly regulate where marijuana can be sold and under what conditions. It’s easy to violate an ordinance without knowing it, unless you have a lawyer to help you navigate it all.
People in the commercial cannabis industry can also face backlash from communities and individuals who don’t want you nearby or don’t understand the benefits of medical marijuana. This can mean endless city council meetings and talks with lobbyists. If you have a lawyer you have someone to do all that for you.
You need help navigating licensing issues
California alone has three different state agencies that license different aspects of marijuana cultivation, manufacturing and distribution. Understanding where you need to apply for a license, which license you need, what you need to provide in order to apply, and how to make a successful application are just some of the challenges.
A marijuana lawyer will have expertise in all these areas and will know how to help you smoothly and efficiently apply for just the right license with the best hope of getting it approved.
You want to be sure you’re always in compliance
Compliance issues can be among the most complicated parts of running any business, but for cannabis businesses, it is especially difficult. You must be in compliance with local and state regulations when it comes to your marketing, packaging, and selling. Zoning issues come into play here, as well.
To complicate matters, each state and municipality deals with compliance issues in a different way. In some cases, you may get a letter threatening a fine if you don’t change things up by a certain date. In other cases, fines may be immediate or you could have a license revoked. It’s always better to have an expert to advise you than to just hope you’ve kept up with all the regulations.
You don’t know much about business
While there are unique features to running a cannabis-related company, in other ways it’s just like starting and running any other business. Should you incorporate? Do you need to draft governance documents? What’s your business plan, and do you need a loan? How about partners and capital?
If you aren’t quite sure what all those terms even mean, then you definitely want someone one your side who can help you draft the legal documents, look over all your agreements, and make sure your business will be viable and profitable.