Hoban Law Group, a Denver-based firm focused on advising the emerging legal and medical cannabis industry, has announced plans to expand internationally, saying it would open four European and two Latin American offices by spring 2018.
Pointing to a rapidly evolving marketplace for its clients in the regulated marijuana dispensary and industrial hemp spaces, Hoban Law—which has 34 lawyers and dubs itself a “cannabusiness” law firm—laid out the expansion plans in a statement on Monday.
The firm said it has worked internationally for several years in roles that include advising international governments on cannabis policy and working on cross-border business deals in the cannabis sector.
“HLG steps in to global markets quickly as our direct work with government officials on policy and regulation has kept us in this important global curve,” said firm managing partner Robert Hoban. “We have accepted the challenge of being global cannabis industry leaders and experts and will work with strategic partners … to move the industry forward across six countries.”
Hoban Law stated that it plans to open in the EU later this year and in Latin America by the end of spring 2018, according to the firm. A firm spokeswoman singled out London as one city that would host a new outpost for Hoban Law, but she couldn’t immediately say which other countries the firm was eyeing.
Hoban Law has previously worked with cannabis industry members in Costa Rica, Uruguay, Italy, and Spain, according to the firm’s website.
Hoban also said that as part of its expansion, the firm would continue to work alongside New Frontier Data, a financial analysis and business intelligence company focused on the cannabis industry.
Starting around 2009, when founding partner Hoban was involved in an early medical marijuana case that successfully overturned a local government’s dispensary ban in Centennial, Colorado, Hoban Law has focused primarily on advising clients involved in the cannabis and industrial hemp sectors. The firm also touts experience in guiding clients in the financial services sector that intersects with cannabis-related businesses.
In addition to its international ambitions, Hoban Law also announced Monday the arrival of Andrew Telsey, a securities compliance and corporate lawyer who has been running his own Denver-based office known as Telsey Law Services. Telsey has particular expertise advising small- and midsized companies in efforts to go public, including through mergers with publicly traded shell companies, according to his biography on the Telsey Law website.
Hoban welcomed Telsey’s addition to the firm, saying that Hoban Law has taken steps in recent years to build up its corporate practice as clients in the cannabis space explore potential public listings and investments from private equity firms.
“Combining the firm’s corporate practice with our intellectual property and tax practice groups will position our firm’s clients to succeed at the highest levels in this international marketplace,” Hoban said.
The planned overseas expansion of Hoban Law comes as some other, larger law firms have taken recent steps to build up their own offerings to the emerging cannabis industry. The American Lawyer reported in 2016 on several big firms getting into the sector—Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, for one, partnered with a pro-marijuana nonprofit group, and Florida-based Am Law 200 firm Greenspoon Marder took its cannabis practice nationwide.
Earlier this year, Boston-based Foley Hoag also launched a cannabis practice, focusing on regulatory issues that might face companies looking at the space. That move came after Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure in November 2016 that paved the way for legalized recreational marijuana in the state.