Hughes Law is a boutique legal practice focused on cannabis law and criminal defense, advising clients in Oregon and throughout the nation. We regularly represent cannabis entrepreneurs on matters such as business formation, permits and regulations, and cannabis litigation while defending individuals who have been accused of cannabis-related crimes.
Our experienced cannabis attorney has a firm grasp of the rapidly evolving laws surrounding marijuana and hemp and approaches each case with insight and intensity, whether at the bargaining table or in court. Founding attorney Michael R. Hughes has a well-deserved reputation as a fierce advocate of cannabis growers, dispensaries, and consumers. As a fellow hemp and cannabis producer, he knows the terrain from the ground up.
When you consult with us, we will provide you with informed representation and work to help achieve your objectives in the recreational cannabis industry. Whether you are a seasoned grower, the owner of a cannabis-based business, considering a cannabis business venture, or you are facing marijuana charges, turn to Hughes Law, the informed choice in cannabis law.
Cannabis Business Formation in Oregon
Recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon and many other states, however, cannabis is still considered an illegal Schedule I federal drug. This conflict adds to the complexity of the laws governing the farming, production, sale, and taxation of marijuana, making it essential for cannabis entrepreneurs to work with a dedicated marijuana lawyer.
At Hughes Law, we advise cannabis businesses in Deschutes County, throughout Oregon, and across the country on structuring their businesses. Our cannabis formation services include:
- Selecting the appropriate business entity (e.g. LLC, partnership, corporation)
- Creating foundational documents (Articles of Incorporation, bylaws)
- Negotiating and drafting operating agreements, partnership agreements, and shareholder agreements
- Preparing employment contracts
Our experienced cannabis business lawyer will help you understand the legal, financial, and tax implications of entity selection and develop a long-term strategy to grow your cannabis-based business.
Cannabis Permits and Regulations in Oregon
Registering a marijuana business requires careful planning to navigate complex regulatory requirements, such as land use, zoning, and building codes. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) regulates cannabis businesses and there are four types of recreational cannabis licenses available in the state:
- Producer license forgrowers and cultivators of cannabis, allowing businesses to sell their products to processors, wholesalers, and retailers
- Processor license to produce marijuana concentrates, edibles, and extracts, which can be sold to wholesalers or retailers
- Wholesaler license for businesses to engage in the purchase and sale of marijuana products with other licensed cannabis businesses
- Retailer license to allow dispensaries to sell cannabis products to consumers
It is worth noting that there are sub-tiers of producer and processor licenses available, designed to allow small businesses and family farms to gain access to the recreational cannabis business.
Also, the OLCC offers a Laboratory license that allows labs to test marijuana for THC concentration, pesticides, fungus, etc., as well as a Certificate for Research and a Hemp Certificate. Moreover, employees of any licensed cannabis businesses must have a marijuana worker permit from the OLCC (you must be 21 or older to be eligible).
You should also know that since the 2014 legalization of recreational cannabis in Oregon, the retail marijuana industry has grown exponentially, with new businesses regularly seeking licenses. This can make for a lengthy licensing process, which is why it is crucial to work with a seasoned Deschutes County cannabis lawyer.
Also, Oregon permits cities and counties to prohibit the sale of marijuana in their jurisdictions; businesses seeking a license in a locale where cannabis businesses are permitted must submit a Land Use Compatibility Statement to the OLCC showing local approval. This is where it helps to have our experienced Oregon cannabis land-use lawyer in your corner.
Finally, licensed cannabis businesses must comply with a variety of OLCC regulations ranging from packaging and labeling requirements to regulated selling hours and quantities, and many of these regulations apply to consumers. As an example, to purchase recreational marijuana you must be 21 or older.
Whether you intend to produce, process, or sell recreational marijuana and related products, rely on the OLCC cannabis attorney at Hughes Law to help you stay in compliance with the applicable licensing and regulatory requirements. We also advise businesses outside of Oregon on the legality of cannabis in their states and the related regulatory requirements and develop strategies for entering the cannabis industry.
As with any business, disputes are inevitable in the cannabis industry that often rise to the level of cannabis litigation. The best way to protect your interests is to have an aggressive marijuana trial lawyer in your corner. At Hughes Law, our cannabis litigation experience includes:
- Cannabis contract claims
- Cannabis licensing disputes
- Land use and zoning challenges
- Real estate disputes
- Intellectual property claims
- Investor disputes
- Labor and employment violations
- Administrative proceedings (e.g. cannabis license revocation)
Although cannabis disputes can often be resolved through mediation or arbitration, we prepare each case for trial to gain strategic advantage. If a negotiated settlement cannot be reached, we will fight to win in court.
Cannabis-Related Crimes in Oregon
The fact that cannabis is legal in Oregon doesn’t mean anything goes. It is still illegal to sell or use marijuana in a public place, as is selling marijuana without a cannabis license. Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana in public is a Class B misdemeanor while distributing amounts of marijuana above the legal threshold can result in misdemeanor and felony charges.
Additionally, sale to a minor is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and the charge is elevated to a Class A felony if the sale occurs near a school. Finally, driving while impaired by marijuana can result in DUII charges and the potential loss of your driving privileges. With so much at stake, it is crucial to have an Oregon marijuana defense lawyer on your side. If you have been charged with marijuana possession or any other drug crime, we will work to protect your rights and your freedom.
Contact Our Experienced Oregon Cannabis Attorney
At Hughes Law, we are committed to protecting the rights of the cannabis community in Oregon and across the country. Starting or operating a cannabis-based business can be an exciting and lucrative venture; balancing the risks and rewards takes the skills of our experienced cannabis attorney. Please reach out to our office today to set up a consultation.