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Two law firms stay ahead of curve, launch cannabis groups

"Our mindset here -- which is really the firm's mentality -- is to stay ahead of the curve and be on the forefront of new practice areas." -- Jordan Fisch, Cole Schotz - ()

Jordan Fisch and Marc Press have been tapped to lead Cole Schotz’s new Cannabis Law Group, based in Hackensack.

Their practice, drawing from experience with the firm’s corporate, real estate, health care, intellectual property, employment and tax practices, will cater to investors and entrepreneurs looking to navigate opportunities within the emerging cannabis industry.

“We know that there are issues under the Controlled Substances Act under federal law, but our mindset here — which is really the firm’s mentality — is to stay ahead of the curve and be on the forefront of new practice areas,” Fisch said. “Along with cannabis, cryptocurrency comes to mind too. As law develops, we want to be on top of changes and developments.”

Seven members of the Cannabis Law Group will be available to advise clients on regulatory compliance and other issues. Clients are expected to include businesses active in the burgeoning cannabis industry and others needing to stay abreast of the relevant legal issues.

“Many of us were already doing this on an ad hoc basis without a practice group behind us,” explained Fisch. “We took this opportunity to sit down and devote our time and effort to developments in the space in order to provide our clients with the best possible advice we can provide.”

Fisch said members within the practice are already advising clients on a variety of topics, such as the formation of a private investment fund geared toward the cannabis industry and the use of medical marijuana as a leasing issue between landlords and tenants.

“We have a number of clients who are waiting to see what’s going to happen in New Jersey legislation,” he added.

Cole Schotz was the second firm within a week to launch a cannabis group. On March 1, Morristown-based Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti said it had formed a group to provide legal counsel regarding cannabis-related businesses and investments. The moves follow the recent introduction of cannabis-legalization bills in the state and Gov. Phil Murphy’s recent executive order regarding medical marijuana reforms.

According to Jason Navarino, one of the members of Riker Danzig’s new cannabis group, the flux of marijuana legislation made this the right time create a counsel team.

“Several of our attorneys, myself included, have already been providing counsel to clients in the cannabis industry. We’ve seen an increase in interest in this area in recent months,” Navarino said. “With Gov. Murphy looking to fulfill his campaign promise of legalizing marijuana in the State of New Jersey, we expect this trend to continue.”


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