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Cannabis Firms Hire Pennsylvania Lawyers

Alva Mather – booze industry lawyer turning to drugs at DLA Piper
Some of the top law firms in Pennsylvania have spent the past few years honing their abilities to service clients in the marijuana industry. Reed Smith, Cozen O’Connor, Fox Rothschild, Duane Morris, Pepper Hamilton and Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney all have formalized cannabis practices.
Last October, Duane Morris announced a partnership with the American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp. ATACH promotes the expansion of legal marijuana sales for industrial, medical and adult recreational use, and its members include businesses in the marijuana and hemp industry, as well as established companies looking to enter it. According to both sides, it was the first time a national cannabis trade organization has teamed up with an Am Law 100 law firm.
And late last year, Cozen represented cannabis company Acreage Holdings Inc. in its $160 million acquisition of cannabis manufacturer Form Factory Inc.
But not every Big Law firm has been as eager to jump into the fray.
Reed Smith, which has been expanding its cannabis law practice on both coasts, now has a total of 19 lawyers advising the cannabis industry, including 16 partners, according to its website.
When Philadelphia-based attorney Alva Mather left Pepper Hamilton for DLA Piper last year, she brought her alcoholic beverage industry practice with her, but left the aspect of her work that had focused on the cannabis industry behind—at least for the time being.
She said at the time that DLA Piper as a firm had decided not to become involved in the growing cannabis industry, as state and federal marijuana laws differ.
“I hope I will just be delaying my involvement in that industry,” she said. “Eventually the laws will have to come to some better structure than they are now.”
Last week Cannabis Report publisher Nick Rosen was invited to attend a DLA Piper event where the world’s biggest law firm made clear it was entering the cannabis industry with both feet, and has commissioned Counsel’s opinion to try and force governments to treat Cannabis as a legitimate taxable revenue source.

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