Not Sure Why Marijuana Dispensaries Need Legal Representation?
Posted May 1st, 2018 by Anthony Carbone, PC.
It can happen in a matter of months, or, even days. From all appearances, there’s every indication that recreational cannabis is about to become legal in the State of New Jersey. The new law will represent different things to many people. For example, you may see it as a business opportunity. However, like every new company, marijuana dispensaries need legal representation.
More than likely, the need for an experienced attorney comes as no surprise. It’s not just that a lawyer will be able to work with you on compliance issues. A cannabis dispensary is a type of business. Regardless of the type of entity you choose, you need professional advice on a variety of legal matters.
Marijuana Dispensaries and the Law
In a prior article, we provided information regarding prospective licenses that may be available for those in the cannabis business. Interestingly enough, some municipalities and even a couple of counties want nothing to do with marijuana dispensaries in their community.
First, you will need to determine what type of business entity best suits your start-up company. Will you be an LLC, a partnership, or a corporation? There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these kinds of companies. Your formation documents should also address issues such as mergers and acquisitions, as well as the dissolution of your company if things don’t work out as you’ve planned.
Location is obviously critical when setting up any kind of business. However, according to a recent news report, you can cross off some places as potential sites for your company. That said, Jersey City’s mayor is all for cannabis legalization. However, he’s acknowledged that it may mean some changes to zoning laws.
So, there’s another reason you may need a lawyer to sell weed legally. Just like any other business, you need to make sure you are opening a dispensary in accordance with local zoning laws.
There’s a lot of red tape when it comes to the sale of cannabis. On a state level, recreational pot may become legal by the end of the year. However, that doesn’t mean the federal government plans to be on the same page. In fact, as far as the feds are concerned, marijuana is a Schedule I drug. This classification means that it as addictive, with no known medicinal qualities. This puts it at the same level as heroin. Amazing, right?
Could this impact your proposed business in any way? The short answer is that it could. Unfortunately, there was a time “when marijuana businesses that were deemed legal at the state level were often raided by federal law enforcement.” There’s always the chance that you will need a lawyer if the feds show up on your doorstep and shut you down.
Despite the threat, no marijuana dispensaries have been shut down by the federal government across the nation. In Arizona, where there are over 100 dispensaries, shutting off access to legal weed could mean a loss of some substantial tax revenue. In 2016, the state coffers received more than $30 million as a result of legal cannabis sales.
Other Important Legal Considerations
Since banks are federally regulated, they are hesitant to set up accounts for marijuana dispensaries. However, recently, a group of bipartisan senators pushed for hearings that would allow financial institutions to work with legal cannabis businesses. In the past, federal prohibition issues acted as a deterrent.
If you open a marijuana dispensary, you will need to understand advertising rules and regulations. Intellectual property laws may be relevant as far as trademarking and patents. Meanwhile, you may want to discuss how you will handle your employees. Do you need non-disclosure agreements? What about employee handbooks?
In identifying just some of the needs of prospective marijuana dispensaries, it is apparent that the need for legal counsel is critical. At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we guide our clients through the process from the beginning. Once the new legislation goes through, there will be plenty of available business opportunities. Contact us to see how we can help you!