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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Joann Needleman of Clark Hill. Joann Needleman of Clark Hill.

The cannabis “goldrush” shows no sign of letting up. As of January, there are more states that have legalized marijuana in some form, whether for medical or recreational use, than the 17 states that have no legalization whatsoever. For those 33 states and the District of Columbia, business is booming. A recent study from New Frontier Data, a data analytics firm focused on the cannabis industry, found that revenue from legalized marijuana nationwide would create at least $132 billion in tax revenue and more than a million new jobs across the United States in the next decade. This is good news for those investing in this burgeoning industry, until it comes time to reap the rewards. Despite this exponential growth, the cannabis industry still suffers from the lack of even the most basic financial services. It’s a problem that over-anxious legislatures have simply avoided and swept under the rug, so as to not disturb the potential tax revenue that awaited them on the upside. With a 50-state legalization on the horizon, the time to bury our heads in the sand is over.

But what to do? To be fair, Congress has been focusing on this issue this past year. Several bills are starting to gain some traction and are moving through committees but they are piecemeal attempts to solve a problem that needs an overall holistic approach. The following are five ideas that if implemented could allow the cannabis industry to better integrate into and align with our nation’s banking system.

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