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Exceptional experience across the cannabis industry

Well known for our work with entrepreneurs and emerging companies, Varnum employs creative solutions for our cannabis clients.

While legalization of marijuana is relatively new, Varnum’s depth of experience serving regulated industries gives us unique insight into the challenges of – and solutions for – the burgeoning cannabis industry. Varnum is a leader on the issues of most importance to businesses in this highly-regulated market.

From finance matters to right-to-grow and right-to-process issues, Varnum is exceptionally qualified to represent businesses in this emerging industry, and we serve some of Michigan’s largest vertically-integrated cannabis companies. Our knowledge of the industry provides clients with confidence in our counsel, whether on traditional business matters such as corporate transactions and contracts, or those unique to the industry, especially with regard to state and local regulatory issues.

In an industry with limited access to traditional banking services, Varnum provided legal counsel on one of the largest loans ever by a federally-insured bank to a vertically-integrated cannabis company.

Serving at the forefront of an evolving industry

Our experience in heavily regulated industries such as alcohol, tobacco and food processing provides distinctive ability to advise clients starting and operating businesses in the evolving cannabis industry. We regularly advise clients on compliance with the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (“MRTMA”), Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) and federal law.

In addition, we are at the forefront of emerging matters that develop as the industry evolves. Our full service team works to anticipate these challenges and stands ready with strategies as the industry moves to a new level.

Meet the Team

Our attorneys are routinely recognized for their excellence and ability to litigate, negotiate and advise clients by Top Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Chambers USA and more.

Legal Practices Related to Cannabis

Banking and Finance

We represent commercial borrowers in their lending needs with traditional banks and credit unions, including working capital lines of credit, term loan facilities, real estate facilities and asset-based lending. We also assist clients with equity and debt fundraising efforts, including representing the borrower in one of the largest debt financings of a cannabis operator by a federally chartered bank.

Learn more about Varnum's Banking and Finance Practice

Business and Corporate

For over a century, Varnum attorneys have served the business community with a full lineup of corporate services and specialties.

In the cannabis realm, our advice to clients ranges from day-to-day business and compliance issues to complex matters, including acquisitions, joint ventures, minority investments. Out attorneys have experience structuring ownership entities for cannabis grow, processing and retail operations, including providing licensing and regulatory support.

Learn more about Varnum's Business and Corporate Practice

Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation

Varnum’s employee benefits attorneys are ready to help our clients design, draft, implement and administer a wide variety of employee benefit and executive compensation plans. We have experience assisting clients with the cannabis industry with Section 280E compliance and workarounds, 401(k) plan establishment and provider coordination, and equity and deferred compensation.

Learn more about Varnum's Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice

Environmental and Natural Resources

Varnum helps clients understand and operate successfully in the changing landscape of federal, state and local environmental requirements.

We have developed deep experience advising cannabis clients across regulatory issues, including Rule 901 compliance and odor issues, obtaining wastewater permits and redeveloping brownfield sites.

Learn more about Varnum's Environmental and Natural Resources Practice

Intellectual Property

In today’s market, intellectual property is one of your most valuable assets.

Varnum’s intellectual property lawyers do what it takes to protect clients’ ideas and products including patenting growing equipment and obtaining trademarks at both the state and federal levels.

Learn more about Varnum's Intellectual Property Practice

Labor and Employment

Our labor and employment attorneys understand the importance of human resource management and development in your business strategy. We have built a practice that responds quickly to your needs, looks for practical, cost-effective business solutions and holds to sound human resource principles. We have direct experience with clients in the cannabis industry including preparing and reviewing workplace policies for workplaces that allow cannabis use and ensuring compliance with the ever-changing rules and regulations regarding recreational and medicinal marijuana.

Learn more about Varnum's Labor and Employment Practice

Litigation and ADR

Experience. Client-focused results. Trusted advice.

Our trial lawyers have represented cannabis clients in on manner of litigation matters, from disputes related to the sale of growing facilities, equipment and cannabis strains, to disputes with local municipalities related to local licensing approval.

Learn more about Varnum's Litigation and ADR Practice

Real Estate

Acquisition, financing, development, management, leasing, sale – Varnum’s Real Estate Practice Team counsels clients on all matters relating to real estate.

We have completed lease agreements for cannabis businesses for both retail and production operations. Whether a property is commercial, industrial or residential development, our real estate attorneys know the issues and the law.

Learn more about Varnum's Real Estate Practice

Tax Planning, Compliance and Litigation

Varnum’s tax team unites the tax compliance, planning and litigation skills of one of Michigan’s oldest law firms with one of the Midwest’s premier tax boutique practices.

We are respected throughout the region for our ability to assist our cannabis clients in all matters relating to federal and state tax audits, tax strategies, litigation and planning, including Section 280E considerations, the conversion of LLC partnerships to C corporations to avoid tax-basis issues on account of non-deductibility losses, and structuring investments to take advantage of favorable tax benefits related to Qualified Opportunity Zones.

Learn more about Varnum's Tax Planning, Compliance and Litigation Practice

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Please be aware that contacting us via e-mail does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the firm. Do not send confidential information to the firm until you have spoken with one of our attorneys and receive authorization to send such materials.