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Cannabis & Hemp

The complex and uncertain regulation of cannabis, hemp, and their derivatives creates a number of challenges for cannabis-related businesses and those who service them. Hodgson Russ’s Cannabis & Hemp Group is a team of accomplished and skilled attorneys especially qualified to provide insight and counsel on the countless questions facing businesses in this emerging and exciting industry.

We assist clients with meeting the challenges of the industry and adapting as the rules continue to evolve. Our team of attorneys monitors industry trends and legislative developments to provide timely guidance to clients through the labyrinth of federal, state, and local cannabis regulations.

We use experience and industrial knowledge, as well as a cross-disciplinary approach that spans many of our practice areas – some of which are ranked by Chambers and Partners – to provide clients with the skills and services they need to position themselves for success.

With offices in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida, and Toronto, we are a full-service, global law firm with the ability to provide legal advice on the full spectrum of issues facing companies that cultivate, process, distribute, or sell cannabis products. Our attorneys also assist clients who service the industry, including landlords, equipment manufacturers, food and beverage organizations, financial services providers, and others. Because many cannabis-related businesses are entrepreneurial in nature, we advise on enforcement of contracts, employment laws, environmental compliance, intellectual property, and other areas of law beyond licensing and day-to-day operations.

We have specific experience applicable to clients involved with the cannabis industry, including:

Licensing and Regulatory Compliance

  • We help our clients know and understand the regulatory landscape, meet applicable licensure requirements, anticipate compliance issues, and limit exposure when mistakes happen.

Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Our team has helped cannabis clients position themselves with strategic acquisitions, including some of the largest transactions in the history of the industry. Our experience gives us insight into the industry’s complex regulatory requirements, the potential impact of a change of control on a target company’s pending license applications, and ways to structure transactions accordingly.

Federal, State, and Local Tax

  • Hodgson Russ is a leading firm for New York State, New York City, and multistate tax matters including planning, compliance, litigation, and damage control. Our attorneys have the breadth and depth of experience necessary to anticipate tax questions arising from new, ever-changing laws and regulations specific to the cannabis industry.


  • Attorneys in our Cannabis & Hemp Practice have significant litigation experience representing clients in land use, intellectual property, and business disputes. We also have extensive experience representing clients before a variety of state and federal agencies, including the IRS, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Patent and Trademark Offices (USPTO), and state tax and regulatory agencies.


Please remember that the possession, use, distribution, and sale of non-hemp cannabis and cannabis products is illegal under federal law, despite certain state laws that decriminalize and/or legalize such activity.  While federal enforcement policy may defer to a state’s laws and not enforce conflicting federal laws, the fact remains that compliance with state law in no way assures compliance with federal law, and there is a risk that conflicting federal laws may be enforced in the future.  No legal advice we give is intended to provide any guidance or assistance in violating federal law. 

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