Hemp & CBD
Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP represents hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) producers, suppliers, and product manufacturers. Our team of experienced attorneys counsel new and existing clients in the industrial hemp and CBD industries as they expand, helping clients protect their business in a highly regulated and quickly growing field.
From start up to incorporation of new companies, raising capital or licensing and permitting, the Hemp & CBD team at Bingham Greenebaum Doll is ready to assist you with the legal challenges presented in all phases of your business.
- Start Up Advice: Company formation and application for hemp business licenses, registrations, and permits.
- Regulation & Compliance: Counsel for compliance with state and federal rules and regulations, including licensing requirements, relating to the cultivation, processing, shipment, and sale of hemp and CBD products.
- Contracts: Grower agreements, supply agreements, land leases, and other contracts with hemp-specific provisions designed to address regulatory compliance and protect your growing business.
- Employment & Environmental: Counsel for compliance with employment and environmental.
- Intellectual Property: Clearance, registration, and enforcement of intellectual property rights to protect your brand, creative works, and inventions.
- Disputes: Protect your business and defend its rights in state and federal and agency-based actions.
Start Up Advice
We assist clients with the regulatory process of obtaining a license for industrial hemp and CBD businesses. We advise clients in a wide variety of entity formations from general partnerships to corporations that conform with the client’s particular structure and tax needs. We have a long history of assisting our clients in effectively structuring and obtaining financing to meet their business needs. Not all real estate is conducive to industrial hemp and CBD businesses, and we are able to navigate state and local land use restrictions to ensure our clients choose the right business location. We advise both farm and commercial landlords and tenants with specific lease provisions that protect the parties related to industrial hemp and CBD businesses.
Regulation & Compliance
The regulatory landscape of hemp derived products like CBD oil is constantly evolving. While the 2018 Farm Bill generally decriminalized hemp with ≤ 0.3% delta-9-THC at the federal level, there remain federal regulatory requirements to consider, including those mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA maintains its authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including CBD, and issues warning letters and fines to companies marketing such products with unfounded claims of therapeutic benefits. As such, companies in the hemp industry need to be aware of the limitations on naming and promoting their products to avoid conflicts with other players in the industry and with government entities.
The 2018 Farm Bill pushed much of the regulation of the hemp industry to the states. So, it is critical to be able to navigate the state and local hemp regulatory landscape, whether you are growing hemp, producing hemp products, distributing hemp products, or retailing hemp. Hemp products remain illegal in many states. Having a strategy to comply with federal and state hemp rules and regulations is important to the success of companies involved in the hemp industry.
Operating a hemp business involves a wide variety of commercial contracts. Partnership and LLC operating agreements, non-disclosure and non-compete agreements, grower agreements, land leases, processing facility leases and purchase agreements, mortgages and other loan documents, and supply agreements between processors and retailers are just a few of the agreements a hemp business is likely to encounter in its day-to-day operations. In addition to being clear, concise, and legally sound, it is imperative that your agreements are consistent with the state and federal regulatory framework that governs hemp activities. This will ensure that your legal rights are enforceable and that both you and the businesses you deal with are operating within the law. Skilled legal counsel with hemp industry experience is invaluable when negotiating and documenting agreements, and interpreting rights under existing contracts.
Employment & Environmental
Like many other businesses, industrial hemp and CBD businesses must account for traditional employment and environmental requirements. Employee rights and benefits, duties and obligations owed to the company by its employees and owners, and federal and state environmental compliance are everyday concerns that can cause real problems if a company does not plan for these issues and develop comprehensive plans to ensure that these laws and regulations are followed. As a full service business firm, we can help industrial hemp and CBD businesses make smart decisions and avoid the pitfalls that trap many other businesses.
With the recent decriminalization of industrial hemp, numerous entities have adopted names and logos for their companies and brands and sought protection under U.S. trademark law. Trademark rights are based on seniority, so hemp companies need to be aware of the landscape of existing trademarks prior to adopting a mark, then promptly protect their chosen mark. In addition, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is reviewing and granting patents on devices, compositions, and processes relating to industrial hemp. Participants in the hemp industry should take care to avoid infringing others’ patent rights and innovators in the industry should consider protecting their own inventions.
Industrial hemp and CBD businesses face many of the same challenges and concerns as any other business – issues such as contract breach, premises liability, and employment disputes. How a business plans ahead, and how it handles these types of claims, can affect the future of the company and everyone associated with it. The federal and state regulatory framework affecting industrial hemp and CBD businesses adds many other potential litigation issues. Indeed, hemp companies have been forced to answer questions on the legality of their products and the transportation of those products across state and international lines. Often, the courts and the authorities are facing these problems with little experience under a constantly shifting legal landscape. Knowledgeable counsel understand how to guide you through these issues to a resolution that allows for the continued success and viability of your business.