Marijuana Law Attorney
in Lynchburg & Blackstone, VA

The cannabis industry is growing at an astonishing rate. In 2020 the global cannabis market size was worth $20.47 billion. By 2028, experts predict that figure to approach a staggering $200 billion. As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana, more opportunities become available for eager entrepreneurs to tap into the market. From agricultural businesses that grow the plants to the businesses that sell them, the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana is opening the door to a wide range of business ventures. 

This tremendous spike in supply and demand creates enticing opportunities to cash in on a trend that has high potential value. However, tapping into this market requires working with an attorney who understands both marijuana and business law. If you’re an entrepreneur in Lynchburg or Blackstone who is curious about investing in the marijuana industry, reach out to Gordon. He’s ready to help you understand the applicable laws in your unique situation so that you can move forward.

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Complex Laws Surrounding Marijuana Sales

With the expansion of the marijuana industry, complex laws surround the growth, sale, and use of these products. In short, cannabis law is confusing, and it varies between states. Sometimes, state and federal laws appear to be in opposition to each other, leaving potential businesses bewildered and in desperate need of legal counsel.

Federal Marijuana Laws

Even if you live in a state that legalized medical or recreational marijuana use, it may come as a surprise to learn that possessing, buying, or selling marijuana is still a federal crime. The problem is that, despite the liberalization of state laws across the country, federal law still treats marijuana as a controlled substance, just like cocaine or heroin. This creates potential legal violations for entrepreneurs who attempt to start the process without seeking legal counsel as their first step. 

Virginia Marijuana Laws

As of July 1, 2021, adults in Virginia who are 21 and older are allowed to possess a small amount of recreational marijuana and to cultivate a small number of marijuana plants in their homes. The Virginia General Assembly approved a bill that legalized adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. The bill also provides for the sale of recreational marijuana. However, keep in mind that retail sales are not scheduled to begin until 2024. State laws surrounding the use and sale of marijuana are constantly changing, so it is critical that you consult with an attorney with knowledge of both marijuana and business law before creating any type of entrepreneurial plan. 

The Marijuana Industry

The marijuana business can be broken into three general categories: cultivation, infused product manufacturing, and retail sales. Each business model varies depending on if they are for recreational or medical use. Other industries include testing facilities, delivery services, devices for consumption, and software or other online services. 

  • Cultivation —  The growing and harvesting of marijuana. This arm of the industry is heavily regulated. 
  • Infused Cannabis Products — Edible marijuana, tinctures, salves, and other infused products.
  • Retail Sales — Generally referred to as “dispensaries,” this includes stores that sell cannabis-based products. These typically are the most difficult and expensive to start, but also the most lucrative. 

Challenges To Consider

Opening a legal cannabis farm or dispensary is more complicated than starting many other kinds of businesses, mainly because of the regulatory environment and its uncertainties. State laws tend to vary for cannabis companies and the cannabis entrepreneurs trying to start them. The following factors should be considered before deciding whether the cannabis industry is right for you:

  • Cost — Although highly profitable, starting a marijuana business can be a top dollar investment. Costs vary by location, state laws, and type of business. You will want to consider the costs of licensing, rent, utilities, equipment, supplies, marketing, security, and employees.
  • Residency —  Virtually all marijuana business licensees (and investors, in some cases) must be state residents. Colorado, for example, requires a two-year residency prior to getting a license.
  • Criminal Record — Most states prohibit felons with drug crime (or violent crime) convictions from applying for a marijuana business license.
  • Risk — The industry is very risky due to its fledgling status and the ever-changing regulatory environment, but the rewards are potentially very high.
  • Timing — Make sure you are willing and able to wait several months for the application process to get a license. 
  • Investors and Partners — As with any other startup, you will need capital to get up and running. Keep in mind that some investors remain wary about investing in something that is still illegal under federal law. Most funding for marijuana ventures comes from private investors, not banks.

Marijuana Law Attorney
Serving Lynchburg & Blackstone, Virginia

Marijuana businesses face unique challenges and opportunities in this fast-paced, highly regulated industry. At the forefront of this exciting and rapidly growing industry, Gordon offers legal guidance and creative solutions to help clients achieve their business goals. Attorney Peters serves clients in Lynchburg and Blackstone, Virginia as well as neighboring areas of Amherst, Campbell, Bedford, Nottoway, Prince Edward, and Charlotte Counties. Set up a one-on-one consultation today.