Pierson Ferdinand Cannabis Practice

legal solutions for cannabis companies
Cutting edge legal representation for Cannabis companies

Pierson Ferdinand Cannabis Practice offers corporate, legal, and regulatory services to help companies of all sizes begin, expand, and thrive in the emerging cannabis, hemp, and cannabidiol (CBD) industry.  The Cannabis, Hemp, & CBD Practice Group assists various “leaf touching” and “no touch” sectors of the cannabis industry.

The extraordinary growth of the lawful, commercial application of cannabis has yielded an expansive new industry in the United States already potentially exceeding $10 billion in value, with 300,000 employees in this space.  Many jurisdictions regulate the use of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes.  Businesses competing in the cannabis industry confront significant and complex issues relating to the federal and state laws and regulation of the production, sale, and use of cannabis-related products.  This requires experienced, modern, and innovative legal counsel.

Our partners counsel entrepreneurs and existing companies in this space (growers, processors, producers of concentrates, manufacturers, and wholesale/retail distributors) as they address a litany of legal issues including, but not limited to, appropriate business formations, regulatory compliance (banking/OFAC/anti-money laundering), licensure, financing, taxation, intellectual property, employment practices, and real estate.

Contact Jewell Lim Esposito, Esq., Chair of the Cannabis Practice at Pierson Ferdinand Cannabis Practice


Our representation has been directly with cannabis companies:

  • Currently represent an early stage bioscience company focused on the development of products that provide enhanced delivery of fat-soluble compounds, particularly cannabinoids. Provide patent prosecution services that have included building a patent portfolio of eight issued patents and over 50 pending patent applications encompassing food, beverages, and pharmaceuticals providing enhanced delivery of cannabinoids. Also provide trademark prosecution services that have included strategic counseling services for this company’s global trademark portfolio.
  • Currently represent Canadian public companies operating in the United States to navigate ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code to structure competitive 401(k) and employee benefit offerings.
  • Currently guide trade associations active in cannabis industry to guide on tax deductibility associated with production (Internal Revenue Code Section 280E) and establish 401(k) retirement plans.
  • Represent CBD private label manufacturing company related to regulatory compliance, contract negotiations, employment, corporate liability structuring, and FDA/DEA enforcement.
  • Counsel for premier cannabis CBD laboratory testing facility related to industry needs related to regulatory compliance, corporate, and employment legal issues.
  • Advise pharmacies on the regulatory guidelines related to the dispensing of cannabis and CBD products.
  • Assist pharmaceutical manufacturing companies related to the FDA and its enforcement of CBD as an active ingredient.
  • Represent CBD OTC manufacturers pertaining to federal and state regulatory compliance.
  • Advise agricultural entities as to the federal and state regulations governing the production and farming of hemp.
  • Counsel cannabis franchisees on obligations under franchise agreement.
  • Counsel cannabis manufacturer and distributor on regarding business entity set-up
  • Counsel cannabis manufacturer on structuring the business to avoid franchising regulatory compliance.
  • Counsel and coordinate licensure requirements.


Relatedly, we counsel business owners, CEOs, and Human Resources Departments as employers nationwide attempt to navigate the myriad issues pertaining to medical cannabis under the various states’ laws:

  • Counsel companies nationwide in employment policies relating to drug testing, possible accommodations for medical marijuana usage depending on state law, off-duty usage states, and discrimination issues regarding the legal use of cannabis.
  • Litigate employment claims (breach of contract and whistleblower) for a medical marijuana grower/dispensary.
  • Consult on union-related matters, including attempts to organize marijuana growers.
  • Provide education and training on issues involving marijuana and the workplace at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s EXCEL Conference, which is considered the premier national training conference for federal and private sector EEO managers, supervisors, practitioners, HR professionals, and attorneys.
  • Train federal, state, and local administrative agencies on the interplay between marijuana laws and equal employment opportunity protections for employees.
  • Team with one of the biggest health insurance companies in the world to educate attorneys, HR professionals, and others on issues relating to marijuana and the workplace.