Prince Lobel Ready to Assist as Legislature Passes New Marijuana Law

Just hours ago, the Massachusetts Legislature passed and sent to Governor Baker for signature a comprehensive revision of both the Medical and Adult Use Marijuana laws.  The legislation is the result of a conference committee’s six months of effort amending the recreational marijuana laws adopted by Massachusetts voters last November (read the Legislation here and an excerpt of the Conference Committee Report here).  The new law will be effective immediately when signed by the Governor.  It sets out the tax rate, the new limit on what cities and towns may charge as community impact fees, the type of “head start” that licensed medical marijuana facilities will have, what cities and towns will offer the path of least resistance to new adult marijuana sales locations, and a variety of other details, including the first date that applications will be accepted.

Prince Lobel’s Cannabis Industry Group has been tracking the legislation and is ready to advise its clients on the changes and opportunities associated with the new law, as well the procedures and parts of the law that have remain untouched.  Thanks to our experience in advising participants in the medical marijuana industry, we have been preparing for these latest legal developments by:

(1) helping medical marijuana clients obtain licenses and local approvals, raise funds, develop tax strategies, negotiate management and funding agreements, and develop and build out their approved medical marijuana businesses; and

(2) preparing clients for prompt entry into the new, broader market by offering legal and business advice on planning, outreach strategies, compliance and business operations.

Prince Lobel represented the first medical marijuana dispensary to be licensed and to open in Boston.  Today, our clients include existing and prospective marijuana dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers, management companies, retailers, property owners, and prospective investors.  We are prepared to advise clients to take advantage of the Massachusetts laws permitting the sale of recreational marijuana, including the new requirements about to be enacted.  The legislature’s recent moves affect the level of taxes, the nature of the licensing commission and regulatory authority, the timing of the conversion of licenses for existing medical marijuana facilities into recreational licenses, and the nature of the conversion of nonprofit entities into for-profit.  Our practitioners have not only studied these new changes to the law, but have also developed considerable experience with those portions of the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act that remain intact.

Since early 2014, Prince Lobel has represented many of the medical marijuana businesses that successfully obtained licenses and now operate within the Commonwealth.  We have provided strategic advice and representation to these clients in connection with a wide variety of matters: navigating the Department of Public Health’s licensing process as well as the local municipal entitlement process for the siting of medical marijuana cultivation and dispensing facilities (including obtaining letters of support or non-opposition, zoning approvals, and other permits); structuring banking relationships; developing tax strategies; forming and maintaining for-profit and not-for-profit entities; preparing private placement memoranda and other fundraising efforts; and negotiating the complex lease agreements and purchase and sale agreements for commercial real estate matters in this specialized industry.  Our attorneys have developed individualized strategies to help clients across the Commonwealth successfully roll out their dispensing and cultivation facilities.

Our multi-disciplinary approach is what allows Prince Lobel to stand out in this area.  We provide clients with an efficient team of legal advisors who draw upon years of experience in state regulatory processes, local licensing, real estate leasing and development, construction agreements, entity formation and management, tax planning for both non-profit and for-profit organizations (including those special considerations needed by the marijuana industry when preparing federal taxes), funding mechanisms, securities law, and litigation.  This wide range of legal skills allows us to partner effectively and efficiently with clients in this highly regulated and rapidly evolving industry–one made all the more complicated due to the special challenges posed by an uncertain federal legal landscape.

Prince Lobel has also developed solid relationships with a network of other professionals that service the legal marijuana industry, including banking institutions, accounting firms, architects, engineers, developers, security consultants, and real estate brokers and appraisers.  These partnerships, along with our legal expertise, allows our firm to stand at the ready to assist clients looking to expand or start business in this area.

For more information about how Prince Lobel can help your business navigate the legal complexities of the marijuana industry, please contact the leaders of our Cannabis Industry Group: Of Counsel attorney and former Boston City Council president Mike Ross (617 456 8149 or mross@princelobel.com) or partner John Bradley (617 456 8076 or jbradley@princelobel.com).