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Cannabis related litigation is on the rise, following closely behind the significant increase in cannabis related businesses. As the cannabis industry develops, the regulatory framework governing companies in different jurisdictions will continue to be markedly inconsistent. States with legalized cannabis, whether medical only or including adult-use consumption as well, will continue to have differing laws regulating cultivation, production, sales and possession, to name just a handful of areas of focus. And in addition to contrasting with other states, there will be the inconsistency with federal law for at least the near future.

Our cannabis litigators excel in navigating the differing and not yet fully implemented statutes and regulations that come with emerging industries. The cannabis industry will continue to generate interesting legal issues and disputes.

Areas of Focus:

  • Cannabis business formation
  • Licensing
  • Legal and regulatory compliance
  • Corporate structuring
  • Joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions
  • Fund formation
  • Debt and equity financing
  • Real estate acquisitions and leasing
  • Labor and employment issues
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Federal (280E) and state taxation issues
  • Litigation and dispute resolution
The New Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and a Preview of Upcoming LitigationFebruary 26, 2020

As you undoubtedly know by now, on January 1, 2020, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize the possession and use of adult-use cannabis. The new law, the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, 410 ILCS 705, et seq., (the “CRTA”) – all 610 pages of it – establishes the framework of one of the most regulated industries today. More than just laws about personal possession and use, the CRTA includes numerous provisions regarding the new business opportunities in Illinois, including retail operations (dispensaries), cultivation/processing facilities, infusing “kitchens,” and product transportation...

Employers Beware: The Cannabis Laws, They Are A-Changin'February 26, 2019

Of course, laws are changing all the time. But with medical marijuana laws being enacted in states around the country at a quick pace, the list of shifting rights and obligations related to the workplace is growing like a weed. Two recent cases highlight wins for Employees and Employers.

David Ruskin’s “Counseling a Cannabis-Related Business” Published in Practical Law JournalJuly 27, 2023

David Ruskin’s article “Counseling a Cannabis-Related Business” was featured as the cover story in Practical Law The Journal. This recently updated article is a must-read for anyone from entrepreneurs to veterans in the cannabis industry.

David S. Ruskin Elected to INCBA Board of DirectorsJuly 10, 2023

HMB is excited to announce the appointment of David S. Ruskin to the International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA) Board of Directors. David was elected for his wealth of experience and exceptional accomplishments in cannabis law.

David S. Ruskin Presents at INCBA’s 2023 Cannabis Law Institute – 6/9/23June 7, 2023

Join David Ruskin for the International Cannabis Bar Association’s CLI conference this week in Washington, DC! You won’t want to miss his presentation on the varying social equity initiatives initiatives and programs in legal cannabis license states around the country.

David S. Ruskin Joins Panel of Industry Leaders at INCBA's Annual Cannabis Law Institute – 6/9/22 – 6/11/22June 9, 2022

Join David S. Ruskin and a panel of industry leaders at the International Cannabis Bar Association’s Annual Cannabis Law Institute! The conference takes place at George Washington University Law School on June 9-11.

David S. Ruskin Published in Practical Law - “Counseling a Cannabis-Related Business: Overview”June 8, 2022

With more states and countries legalizing cannabis in varying forms, the industry is likely to continue to expand. However, cannabis remains an illegal drug at the federal level, presenting numerous challenges for cannabis-related companies and their counsel. In his article for Practical Law, David S. Ruskin examines the top legal issues that practitioners must consider when counseling either a plant-touching cannabis company or a more indirect cannabis-related business.

David S. Ruskin Presents, “Before the Application: Preparation, Team Building, Business Structure and Capitalization” at NCIA’s Cannabis Summit – 12/15/21December 6, 2021

David S. Ruskin Presents, “Before the Application: Preparation, Team Building, Business Structure and Capitalization” at NCIA’s Cannabis Summit.

Fred O. Marcus Discusses “Accounting, Tax and Legal Considerations for the Cannabis Industry in California” at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the California Bar and California Tax Policy Conference – 11/5/21October 27, 2021

Fred O. Marcus discusses the cannabis industry and how it continues to establish itself in California.

David S. Ruskin Presents, "Cultivating Cannabis: The Environmental Concerns Associated with Illinois' Most Recent Economic Boon" for the ISBA - 6/15/21May 6, 2021

6/15/21 Cannabis cultivation is an industry with great economic promise, but the potential environmental cost of Illinois’ most recent economic boon needs to be acknowledged. Join David S. Ruskin and James M. Jennings (Illinois Environmental Protection Agency), Cary J. Shepherd (Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law) and Kaitlin Urso (Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment) for this in-depth look…

Updates on Illinois Craft Cannabis Association v. State of IllinoisApril 28, 2021

Illinois Craft Cannabis Association (“ICCA”) v. The State of Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and its director, Jerry Costello II, Case No. 2020 CH 06247 Since our last update on the ICCA’s lawsuit against the State of Illinois, much has happened, but unfortunately nothing has changed. The delays continue for the hundreds of Craft Grower, Infuser…

HMB Legal Counsel Retained as Counsel for Wind-Down Trustee In re OGGUSA, Inc. f/k/a GenCanna Global USADecember 29, 2020

Aaron L. Hammer, John W. Guzzardo and Nathan E. Delman of HMB Legal Counsel have been retained as counsel for the wind-down trustee in In re OGGUSA, Inc. (f/k/a GenCanna Global USA, Inc.). Earlier this year, CBD giant GenCanna made national headlines when its creditors forced the company into a Kentucky bankruptcy court After a high stakes court battle which…

David S. Ruskin Provides Overview of Illinois Cannabis Regulation for Practical LawNovember 9, 2020

In less than a decade, Illinois went from treating cannabis as a criminal issue to developing a heavily-regulated legal medical and adult use cannabis industry. Illinois law uses cannabis as a blanket term covering regulated products, including cannabis-infused products, such as edibles. Medical cannabis is a term that covers the same types of product as cannabis, but refers to products…

David S. Ruskin Moderates a Virtual Presentation, "Securing State Licenses: Application, Process and Best Practices" for the INCBA - 10/22/20October 21, 2020

10/22/20 David S. Ruskin will moderate a panel discussion for the Cannabis Law Institute as a part of the INCBA month-long program on cannabis legalization topics. The panel will include Dr. Chanda Macias of Ilera Holistic, Scheril Murray Powell of Scheril Murray Powell P.A., Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish of Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish PLLC and Dina Rollman of GTI. In…

David S. Ruskin Represents Illinois Craft Cannabis Association in Lawsuit Against the State of IllinoisOctober 15, 2020

The Illinois Craft Cannabis Association ("ICCA") filed suit against the State of Illinois and Illinois Department of Agriculture on Monday, October 12 to compel the defendants to issue overdue licenses and provide injunctive relief to the cannabis craft grower, infuser and transporter applicants that were expecting licenses to be issued on July 1, under the law, but are now racking…

David S. Ruskin Presented a Webinar, "Illinois Social Equity Legal Analysis With Cannabis Industry Lawyer David Ruskin" for the Medical Cannabis Community - Watch Now On DemandSeptember 17, 2020

David S. Ruskin presented a webinar for the Medical Cannabis Community about the Federal Court hearing regarding the lawsuit filed by multiple Illinois companies to contest the highly flawed cannabis dispensary license scoring process implemented by the state and their vendor, KPMG. Register here to watch the webinar on demand.…

Didn’t Get an Illinois Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensary License…Can You Challenge?April 29, 2020

While the Illinois dispensing organization conditional licenses have not been awarded yet, we are hopeful they are coming soon. That being said, here are the two questions I get asked most about the current Illinois dispensing license applications: Will COVID-19 cause the IDFPR to delay granting licenses on the scheduled date of May 1, 2020; and If I do not…

HMB Client MOCA Awarded One of First Recreational Dispensary Licenses in ChicagoApril 13, 2020

Congratulations to MOCA-Modern Cannabis for being awarded an adult-use dispensary license to operate at 216 W Ohio St in the River North neighborhood. MOCA’s original dispensary continues to operate in Logan Square at 2847 W. Fullerton as a medical and adult-use dispensary. The IDFPR final approval was granted to MOCA on April 3, following city inspection. HMB congratulates MOCA for…

Cannabis Businesses Currently Ineligible For Coronavirus Disaster ReliefMarch 26, 2020

On Monday March 23, the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) confirmed that cannabis businesses are ineligible for disaster relief loans to assist with the detrimental effects of the Coronavirus outbreak. In the recent Twitter post, the SBA stated, “With the exception of businesses that produce or sell hemp and hemp-derived products [that were federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill],…

David Ruskin presents "The Business of Marijuana in Illinois" at The Seminar Group - 4/16/20-4/17/20March 19, 2020

****Due to the COVID-19 virus, this event has been cancelled. HMB will update this page once a new date, location, or other important piece of information has been shared by the event organizers.**** 4/16/20-4/17/20 Chicago, IL David Ruskin, with other practitioners and policymakers, will discuss topics directly related to Illinois' Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. The seminar will cover: A…

Aaron L. Hammer, David S. Ruskin and Nathan E. Delman Discuss the Hurdles and Risks Facing Cannabis Businesses with the Cannabis Industry JournalFebruary 18, 2020

Two thirds of all states and the District of Columbia have, to varying degrees, legalized cannabis. With the recent addition of Illinois, eleven states now allow adult recreational use. But cannabis entrepreneurs’ rush of excitement and dreams of cashing in is met with fierce competition and economic risks that makes the dreams, which look so dank at first, end up…

David Ruskin presents "Litigation - Emerging Trends" at the Cannabis and Hemp Law and Practice in Illinois: The Nuts and Bolts Seminar - 2/21/20February 10, 2020

2/21/2020 Chicago, IL David will give a practical overview of the cannabis and hemp market, litigation and regulatory issues, the application process, banking and finance challenges, implications for employers and more. Other topics covered at the seminar include: Steams of Commerce Federal Law, Enforcement and Implications Hemp and CBD Illinois: Medical to Adult Use and Hemp Challenges - Banking, Insurance,…

David S. Ruskin presents "Cannabis 101 for Older Adults" at Deerfield Public Library - 2/6/20January 29, 2020

2/6/2020 Deerfield Public Library Deerfield, IL David Ruskin, with a panel of experts, will discuss what you need to know about legalized cannabis in Illinois. The panel will address topics such as purchasing and using cannabis lawfully, the types of products available, safe use, potential therapeutic benefits and more. The program is geared toward older adults but is open to…

David Ruskin presents "Cannabis and Judaism: Implications in Halacha as well as the Law" at the Chicago Loop Synagogue - 1/16/20November 22, 2019

1/16/20 Chicago, IL David joins a panel of experts to discuss important issues related to Cannabis Law and how it impacts the Jewish Community at the Chicago Loop Synagogue. Attendees will learn more about: The impact of marijuana legalization How it will work within the context of the state What Rabbinic authorities have to say on the issue How it…

Counseling a Cannabis-Related Business OverviewApril 24, 2019

David provides an overview of the regulation of cannabis and considers the top legal issues faced by a cannabis-related business, focusing on the conflict between federal law and state laws where medical or adult use recreational marijuana is legal.

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