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ABA Launches Cannabis Law & Policy Committee

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The committee's chair is speaking at our March 30 Cannabis Law webinar.

Have you considered expanding your practice into Cannabis Law? Want to learn how to get started? Not even sure what Cannabis Law is?

For answers to these and related questions, plan to attend our free, one-hour CLE webinar on March 30: Cannabis Law Chapter One: Covering the Basics from Ethics to Insurance.”

Few areas of the law are changing more rapidly than Cannabis Law. Legal and ethical issues regarding marijuana (medical and adult-use), hemp and CBD touch on practically every area of the law: from litigation and contracts, to licensing and zoning, to business formation and insurance. Having a working knowledge of the basics is essential.

Our webinar, “Cannabis Law Chapter One: Covering the Basics from Ethics to Insurance,” will be held on March 30, 2022 at 12 noon CST. It will feature two of the most experienced, knowledgeable and impactful lawyers in this field: Lisa L. Pittman, chair of the American Bar Association Cannabis Law & Policy Committee, whose pioneering efforts led the ABA to formally embrace this emerging practice area; and Khurshid Khoja, chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the country’s oldest and largest cannabis trade organization.

The course will highlight key substantive topics, address ethical concerns, offer best practices for risk management, and identify ethical concerns. It will also give you online links and key resources for your continuing education. Register here.

Exploding Area of Practice

As of May 2021, 36 states and 4 territories allow for the medical use of cannabis products. (In 2020, voters in Mississippi passed a ballot initiative to allow for medical use, but it was overturned by the state supreme court in May 2021.)
At the close of 2021, 19 states, two territories and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use. Lawsuits challenging the legislation have been filed in some states (South Dakota, for one) and were pending as of the date this paper was written.)

Here is an interactive, up-to-date map of cannabis laws by state.

American Bar Association Cannabis Law & Policy Committee

This is a new committee of the ABA Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice group. The committee brings in “the industry’s top leaders speaking about new trends in Cannabis Law, including work at the Federal level, and in regard to hemp/CBD issues.”

From the ABA Cannabis Law & Policy Committee website: “The Cannabis Law and Policy Committee are professionals across the country from all legal disciplines who are applying their skills to the continually expanding state cannabis laws and federal hemp laws. We share our experiences and resources with each other and work together to produce leading educational programming and informative publications. Our members are involved in effecting change to state and federal policies.”

The current chair of the ABA Cannabis Law & Policy Committee is Lisa L. Pittman.

Here is a link to the Cannabis Law and Policy Committee (

ABA Publication: Cannabis Law: A Primer on Federal and State Law Regarding Cannabis, Hemp, and CBD (Barak Cohen, editor)

An excerpt: “The cannabis industry has grown exponentially in scope and revenue. Industry participants range from giant food and beverage companies to e-commerce platforms, dispensaries, pet food companies, and growers. These companies are developing and marketing products that involve ‘cannabis’ in all forms and derivatives, including THC, CBD, and hemp products, as well as other emerging cannabinoid products such as CBG. And as the industry has grown and diversified, so too has its legal needs.

Today, in addition to longstanding questions of federal legality and tension with state law, cannabis companies face a broad range of issues that require sophisticated legal guidance. For example, legal questions may involve anything from litigation and real estate to advertising and food and drug law. These questions are especially challenging given the breakneck pace with which cannabis policy and law has developed within a patchwork of federal, state, and local systems. Failure to navigate these concerns deftly and thoughtfully jeopardizes financial growth, not to mention business survival.”

You can purchase a copy of Cannabis Law: A Primer on Federal and State Law Regarding Cannabis, Hemp, and CBD from the ABA here.


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