Special Report

Cannabis and the Legal Industry: New Rules, New Risks, New Opportunities

The state-by-state legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use has created a complicated legal landscape—and with it new demands for lawyers to responsibly advise cannabis clients and companies in adjacent industries. This special report features Law.com's in-depth coverage of emerging legal issues, key regulatory developments, and the lawyers who are helping to shape a new industry.

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Carlton L. Johnson, left, and Thomas W. Nardi, right, of Archer & Greiner. Carlton L. Johnson, left, and Thomas W. Nardi, right, of Archer & Greiner.

Clients operating—or looking to become involved—in the cannabis space face significant challenges: Uncertain legal footing, thin profit margins, tight competition and a stigmatized product, to name but a few. One challenge, however, presents a significant business opportunity for those who are willing to champion the cause: Creating diversity in the cannabis industry.

For decades, black and brown communities have been disproportionately affected by the criminalization of cannabis. Studies have repeatedly shown that, while Americans of all races and ethnicities use illicit drugs at roughly the same rates, African Americans are three to four times more likely to be arrested and imprisoned for drug use as compared to their white counterparts. This imbalance had continued even in the face of criminal justice reform. Of the roughly 1,800 people arrested in Philadelphia since the “decriminalization” of marijuana in the city, 81% are African American, against a city population that is only 44% African American.

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