Marijuana Business Magazine - February 2018

H¬RE LEARN¬NG S cammers and dabblers often advertise themselves as can- nabis lawyers. So it’s essential you steer clear of these fly-by-night types to represent your marijuana business. When seeking outside or in-house legal representation, you want an attorney who doesn’t think of cannabis law as a side gig. That’s because marijuana rules and regulations change constantly. The laws are intricate and require specialization to understand. “You want to find an attorney who’s solely based in the cannabis industry,” said Luke Ramirez, prin- cipal owner of Farm Grass Table How to Hire a Lawyer for Your Cannabis Company By Bart Schaneman EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Hiring outside or in-house legal representation requires thorough vetting. Plenty of attorneys want cannabis clients, but finding someone with extensive marijuana knowledge isn’t easy. When looking for quality representation: • Avoid a proverbial jack-of-all- trades, master of none. You want someone with specialized cannabis experience. • Demand responsiveness. If you’re paying by the hour, you should have your needs met in a timely manner. • Shop locally. You’re looking for an attorney who is familiar with local and state rules and regulations. • Curiosity and a willingness to learn go a long way. In the ever- changing world of marijuana, it’s important to find representation that can adapt to the shifting legal and regulatory landscape. • Troll your network to find the best candidates. There isn’t a go-to website or job board to find good lawyers, so you’ll need to rely on word of mouth. dispensaries in Portland, Oregon. Hiring specialized counsel helps you avoid attorneys who are in it only for the money. “Those folks really under deliver on their promises,” Ramirez said. You want someone who knows the inner workings of state and local governments and the laws where your business operates. That person also should also be responsive. If you’re paying someone by the hour, find an attorney who is willing to communicate with you quickly – and often. And be aware there may be times when you may need an attorney who is more focused on a specialized area such as intellectual property versus cannabis alone. WHAT TO LOOK FOR Dean Heizer, chief legal strategist for Denver-based marijuana retailer LivWell, hires and manages lawyers for 14 stores throughout Colorado and Oregon. Dean Heizer is chief legal strategist for Denver-based retailer LivWell. 92 • Marijuana Business Magazine • February 2018