NEW YORK, January 10, 2020 – Jenner & Block has launched a Cannabis Industry Group. The decision to formalize the firm’s offering follows the completion of a wide variety of significant mandates for clients in the cultivation, processing, and dispensary businesses, as well as for companies and institutions who are acting as financial intermediaries, or investing in, the industry. New York Partners Stephen L. Ascher and Martin C. Glass serve as the industry group’s co-leaders.
Lawyers in our group advise market-leading clients in the cannabis and hemp industry, as well as related food and beverage industries, on corporate matters, M&A, securities, licensing issues, tax, anti-money laundering, trademark disputes, and clearance and litigation. Clients include Aurora Cannabis Inc., Cresco Labs Inc., Curaleaf Inc., and Green Thumb Industries Inc., as well as leading financial institutions and private equity firms who are active in the industry in their most significant transactions and disputes.
“As a law firm at the forefront of supporting the legitimate expansion of this market for some time, the formalization of our industry group is an important way for us to continue to serve the broader marketplace as well as the new entrants to this important area,” said Jenner & Block Co-Managing Partners Katya Jestin and Randy Mehrberg.
Cannabis is legal for adult recreational use in 12 US states and the District of Columbia; another 33 states permit medical use of cannabis in varying degrees and circumstances. In Canada, cannabis is legal for both recreational and medicinal use across the country. Last year, the sector generated an estimated $10.4 billion in revenues and created 250,000 jobs; it is expected to attract $16 billion in investment in North America in 2020.
The firm’s recent cannabis and hemp industry matters include:
- Representing Aurora Cannabis Inc. in US securities, general corporate and financing matters, including closing and advising in its $345 million 5.5% convertible senior notes due 2024 offering.
- Representing both Aurora and Curaleaf Inc. in two of the first stock drop cases brought against cannabis industry participants.
- Representing Cresco Labs Inc. in a reverse take-over transaction and public listing on the Canadian Stock Exchange, resulting in a public company with a market capitalization well in excess of $1 billion.
- Serving as counsel to several leading medical cannabis producers in a variety of significant litigation matters concerning acquisitions, appraisals, disputes with minority shareholders, and similar deal-related litigation in this rapidly expanding industry.
- Advising an investment management firm on US and UK laws including criminal statutes and anti-money laundering laws in connection with the proposed divestment of a portfolio company to a marijuana related business.
- Counseling a university client with licensing issues related to a joint venture in the cannabis space.
- Representing several investment banks in connection with current fundraisings by US companies in the cannabis space.
“We are honored to have advised US multi-state operators in their go-public activities in Canada and subsequent US SEC registration,” said Mr. Glass, a Canadian native who is also co-chair of the firm’s Cross-Border Transactions Practice. “Of equal importance to our practice, we have advised market-leading Canadian companies on their US exchange listings and M&A activities. In addition to working with leading companies with their most important mandates every day, we are delighted to partner with emerging cannabis companies, many of which we are confident will soon be household names in the industry in their own right.”
Added Mr. Ascher: “With our stable of market-leading clients and deep industry experience, we are uniquely positioned to become a leader in high-stakes, bet-the-company litigation for the cannabis industry. With the ever-increasing acceptance of cannabis’ medical benefits, the size, importance and growth of the industry is on everyone’s radar.” Mr. Ascher is also co-chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation and Enforcement Practice.