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California Cannabis

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Expert Advisors to California Cannabis Businesses

Fewer businesses face more hurdles than cannabis-based ones. Successfully navigating complex industries like this calls for bold lawyers. Trust Harris Sliwoski for industry-expert legal planning, regulatory support, corporate guidance, and compliance strategies.

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California Cannabis Business Lawyers

Harris Sliwoski’s California cannabis practice began in 2012 to meet the needs of clients in the medicinal marijuana industry. Over the past several years, we have guided clients through rapidly changing legal and regulatory frameworks, assisting with the shift to or addition of recreational cannabis. Our California cannabis attorneys are consistently tuned into developments in California’s complex and fast-changing cannabis laws, quickly and effectively adapting our practices to meet the needs of the statewide cannabis market. With offices in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, we are well positioned to assist clients throughout the Golden State.

California became the first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana in 1996 through Proposition 215, otherwise known as the Compassionate Use Act. After many years of complex legal changes California voters passed Proposition 64 in late 2016, legalizing the sale and distribution of cannabis for adult recreational use. This passage led to the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”), which organized the robust regulation of both medicinal and recreational cannabis into one body of law.

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Ways We Help Support Your California Cannabis Business’s Success

The cannabis industry is dynamic and multifaceted. So are we. Our experienced cannabis business lawyers in Los Angeles and San Francisco can help cannabis companies statewide across their legal footprint.

Debt Collection

Traditional banking institutions are reluctant to provide credit to cannabis-based businesses. As a result, the industry often operates with companies extending credit to their buyers. This environment has led to many businesses overlooking the potential risks to their cash flow when a customer doesn’t pay. Our team can help you collect those debts through a personalized strategy.

Business Contracts

Successful business relationships start with clear expectations and well-written contracts. At Harris Sliwoski, our attorneys draw on their extensive decade-plus experience in cannabis law to create contracts that stand up under scrutiny and protect your business’s legal interests.

Business Entity Formation

The organization type you choose can substantially impact your cannabis business in many aspects, including taxation, management responsibilities, and economic rights. Our team of cannabis lawyers has provided legal guidance to hundreds of clients nationally and worldwide about their options. We’ll help you identify and establish the best entity to protect your interests.

California Cannabis Lawyers

California’s cannabis legal system is unique in that many different government agencies regulate different parts of the cannabis industry. Harris Sliwoski’s California cannabis team is more than familiar with each of these agencies:

  • The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), which regulates retailers, distributors, testing labs, and event organizers
  • The Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (CDPH), which regulates manufacturers
  • The Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), which regulates cannabis cultivators
  • Other agencies that regulate various aspects of the cannabis industry, such as the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration

Adding further complexity to California cannabis law is the fact that, while MAUCRSA controls regulatory compliance at the state level, it also empowers cities, counties, and other municipalities to regulate cannabis in their own (and often very different) ways. Feeling confused? Don’t worry, our California cannabis attorneys are on top of not only the regularly amended MAUCRSA, but also the fast-changing county and city laws as well.

We have guided clients through competitive and standard permitting and licensing processes across the state and also represent clients in mergers and acquisitionsintellectual property licensing, and general regulatory compliance. In addition to our California corporate and regulatory cannabis practice, our team has considerable experience in court and agency litigation and is armed and ready to represent you in any disputes that may arise for you and your business.

Aside from our client work, Harris Sliwoski’s California cannabis lawyers also speak and write regularly about cannabis matters and are frequently cited by the media.

Full-Service Planning for Legal Service Surrounding Cannabis in California

Our attorneys have the skills and resources to help you navigate a complex legal landscape while reducing risks. Request a consultation today to learn more.

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An intelligent, timely resource for the cannabis industry

Beyond advising individual businesses, our cannabis attorneys are committed to fortifying, defending, and building credibility for the industry as a whole. Harris Sliwoski’s cannabis business lawyers are more than legal strategists—they are thought leaders: forward-thinking bloggers, educators, writers, and speakers.

They regularly write articles for legal journals and frequently post to our acclaimed and widely followed Canna Law Blog. We speak to business and trade groups, academic institutions, and government bodies on a variety of cannabis legal issues, and our cannabis lawyers are frequently quoted by global, national, and local media outlets. We also have compiled (and are forever adding to) a Cannabis Glossary to help with industry terminology. 

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Get in Touch with Our California Cannabis Law Team

Get started by filling out the form, or call 1-888-330-0010 to schedule an initial consultation.

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Our Clients' Successes

“Harris Sliwoski expertly guided us through the formation of our company. They continue to assist with necessary registrations and compliance with numerous regulations. They were able to promptly answer all our many questions and provide understandable options, explanations and practical advice. We expect to continue to use Harris Sliwoski on a regular basis as our company expands. They were also able to introduce us other professional experts. We would not hesitate to recommend Harris Sliwoski to any companies in need of legal advice.”

user icon Three Continents Foods LLC

This law firm was a huge help as our company went through the process of commercial licensing in the California cannabis industry.  They have helped us with a variety of legal issues in a timely fashion, while clearly communicating with us throughout the process.  Everyone we’ve worked with at Harris Sliwoski is an expert in their field and we have always felt that we were in good hands through our legal representation.

user icon Wil Crummer, CEO PRO Farms

Legal stuff is always scary. And I’ve had to play offense a couple times, begrudgingly. To have Harris Sliwoski have my back? It made things a lot less prickly. They quickly walked me through my options, and were refreshingly consistent in their communications, timing and billing. I’ve been lucky to stay out of the legal side of things my whole career, thankfully. When things went a little wrong, Harris Sliwoski quickly made things right.

user icon Aaron Draplin, Founder Draplin Design Co.

I am impressed with this law firm. They answered all my questions regarding cannabis businesses and the California cannabis framework, and they have helped me with a variety of legal issues in a timely fashion, while always clearly communicating with us throughout the process. They also redirected me to other quality people for my business needs. Everyone I worked with at Harris Sliwoski is an expert in their field, and I was in good hands throughout my legal representation.

user icon Corey T., CEO Thinc Cubed, LLC

I have been working with the lawyers at Harris Sliwoski for more than 20 years both as a business owner and as an executive at a large east-coast health system and that is because they have always efficiently provided high level and clear international law advice. Most recently, Harris Sliwoski provided legal support on many matters related to procuring medical products worldwide. Their support was particularly helpful to during the onset of COVID, when there was a big need for securing PPE quickly, all while navigating complicated international and domestic legal requirements. Harris Sliwoski’s team of international lawyers helped by conducting rapid-fire due diligence on potential suppliers, navigating the legal logistics for getting product from overseas and through U.S. customs, and drafting contracts to protect against various sorts of horribles. They did this by essentially providing what amounted to 24/7 service. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

user icon Dan Pak Hospital Supply Chain Executive

Harris Sliwoski has represented our company in the legal cannabis industry for years. Harris Sliwoski has advised us in a wide variety of legal matters, and they are truly experts in their field. I would highly recommend Harris Sliwoski to anyone with questions about cannabis law, or any legal matters. They have been great for our Company, and will continue to guide us as our industry evolves

user icon Matt Hurt, COO Cannabis Nation

You won’t find a better partner than Harris Sliwoski when trying to navigate the complex world of healthcare regulations.  They not only give sound and reliable legal advice, but they are also very responsive and are able to guide you in a way that helps you reach your business objectives as well.

user icon Joseph Axelrod, General Counsel Irwin Naturals

When we started the process of building a ‘seed to sale’ cannabis company in Oregon, we saw the need for expert legal counsel.  The cannabis sector is fraught with potential peril at every turn, and we wanted the best legal advice we could find.  After talking to several firms and individuals, we feel extremely fortunate to have chosen Harris Sliwoski as our legal counsel.

user icon Tony Theiss, CEO and Co-Founder Redbarn Cannabis 

We use Harris Sliwoski on all our international legal matters, including on our international litigation matters. We have over the last few years been involved in a couple big international legal disputes and Harris Sliwoski’s international dispute resolution team provided us with expert legal assistance on both matters. They were always very careful to explain to us what they were doing and why and what their actions would likely cost us in legal fees. Most importantly, we did extremely well on both cases and I have no doubt Harris Sliwoski was a big factor in that.

user icon Kevin English, CEO We Are Camp

We have used Harris Sliwoski for legal help related to our international manufacturing. The lawyers with whom I worked had extensive familiarity with the international legal issues involved in our various projects and offered us key insights. I particularly appreciated how they always quickly and efficiently do what they say they will do and always within their cost estimates.

user icon Andrea Barona Valladolid, Senior Legal Counsel Fairphone

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