Cannabis Law


Davis Malm attorneys have represented clients in the highly-regulated cannabis industry since the early years of medical marijuana legalization in Massachusetts. The scope of our practice continued to grow since the legalization of recreational marijuana use in 2016.

Whether a client is a start-up recreational or medical cannabis business, a company providing goods and services to the cannabis market, an investor, or an individual marijuana establishment agent seeking help with licensure, our attorneys can help them navigate through this fast-growing industry. Our clients are very often pacesetters, paving the way for others to do business in this emerging market.

Our clients refer to Davis Malm attorneys as pioneering and “outside-the-box” thinkers. We have been at the forefront in helping shape the Massachusetts regulations affecting the cannabis industry and maintain an active practice group focused specifically on serving clients in this evolving area.

Our experience across numerous practice areas allows us to meet the legal needs of clients in all facets of the cannabis industry, including:

  • business formation and operations;
  • dispensary licensing, permitting, and regulatory compliance;
  • local approvals and host community agreements with municipalities;
  • debt and equity financing, including private equity and venture capital transactions, and joint ventures;
  • real estate acquisitions, sales, and leasing;
  • real estate and environmental issues affecting developers, landlords, and tenants, including zoning, permitting, and leasing;
  • employment issues, including negotiating executive and employee contracts, non-competition agreements, and arrangements concerning trade secrets;
  • implementing, auditing, and training related to employment policies and employee handbooks;
  • tax advice concerning the use of charitable organizations under state law and federal tax limitations on available business expense deductions;
  • intellectual property, including patent procurement on new tools for processing, cultivating, and delivering cannabis and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol); prosecuting and enforcing trademarks in accordance with strict federal laws, state laws, and common law; defending against infringement claims; and counseling on proper brand management; and
  • information privacy and data security planning.

Our cannabis group has a comprehensive knowledge of this industry. Among our attorneys is a Massachusetts State Representative who, in 2015, introduced House Bill 1561, which served as a model for the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act of 2016, to legalize the possession, use, private cultivation, and the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes by people aged 21 and older. He also served as Vice Chair on the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy. Our attorneys also include those who regularly speak and write on topics related to cannabis laws, and who have been sought out by the media as industry experts.

Representative Matters

  • Representing a large and growing list of companies seeking recreational licenses from the Cannabis Control Commission, including dispensary, cultivation, manufacturing and microbusiness licensees.
  • Representing and advising recreational applicants on municipal issues, including local siting and zoning requirements and negotiating host community agreements.
  • Representing a dispensary in its state Land Court challenge to impermissible restrictions imposed on its cannabis manufacturing license via local permit provisions.
  • Advising an applicant pursuing a recreational license on issues of continuing compliance with the grant to it of economic empowerment applicant status by the Cannabis Control Commission.
  • Representing a medical marijuana dispensary in appealing the denial of a special permit and the improper grant of a permit to a competitor.
  • Representing a management company providing services to a medical marijuana licensee in business matters, including business formation, raising capital, and structuring a management services agreement.
  • Representing a holder of multiple medical marijuana dispensary licenses in a facility ownership dispute.
  • Representing a services provider to a Massachusetts medical marijuana dispensary business and an affiliated investor in a limited liability company that will provide management and other services to the dispensary, including advice regarding income tax and charitable organization expenses.
  • Represented a dispensary selected by the Department of Public Health to receive three dispensary medical licenses in two counties. Our work involved entering into options to purchase property for the facility, including analyzing zoning regulations and negotiating lease arrangements.
  • Represented a medical marijuana dispensary license holder in Massachusetts Superior Court in the successful appeal of its license revocation.
  • Representing an individual employed as a senior executive of related New Hampshire (Executive Director) and Massachusetts (CEO) medical marijuana businesses relating to his employment and equity agreements.

View our Massachusetts Cannabis Law Resources and Information Guide

Disclaimer: Possessing, using, distributing, or selling marijuana or marijuana-based products is illegal under federal law, even where a state law decriminalizes or legalizes such activities. Compliance with state law does not assure compliance with federal law. Any information on our website on in any client alerts is not intended to provide any assistance in violating federal law.


How the Legalization of Marijuana Affects the Workplace (0:08:31)
Presented By Tamsin R. Kaplan
Tamsin Kaplan explains how the legalization of both medicinal and recreational-use marijuana affect the workplace and provides guidance on updating company drug and drug-testing policies.

Radio Entrepreneurs (4:23)
Presented By David M. Rogers

Dave Rogers sits down with Radio Entrepreneurs to discuss the legalization of adult use marijuana in Massachusetts, including his involvement with the legislature. Listen to full podcast here.

Marijuana and the Workplace (18:45)
Presented By Gary M. Feldman
Gary Feldman explores the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana use in Massachusetts and provides insight on how employers should handle marijuana use in the workforce.