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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Ellis W. Martin, left, and Joshua Horn, right, of Fox Rothschild. Ellis W. Martin, left, and Joshua Horn, right, of Fox Rothschild.

There has been an undeniable explosion in popularity and availability of Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, one of the over 100 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant. The interest in CBD has only picked up steam with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Before the president signed the 2018 Farm Bill this past December, hemp, which CBD is a derivative of, was included in the definition of marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, even though it is not the psychoactive component in marijuana. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from that definition, making hemp and its derivatives, like CBD, no longer federally illegal to produce, manufacture or sell.

While the president and Congress gave hemp the go-ahead, it is now on the regulators to take the next step. The FDA has authority to regulate cannabis-derived compounds, including CBD, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. So far, though, the FDA has not done much regulating in regards to CBD. Other than approving the epilepsy medication Epidiolex, the FDA reaffirmed that any food, drink or dietary supplements infused with CBD are prohibited without FDA approval. The FDA has left topicals, even those infused with CBD, largely untouched. To date, it appears as though the FDA’s primary focus has been on the curative claims companies make about CBD.

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