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The Norton Rose Fulbright cannabis law team has a deep understanding of the current and emerging cannabis industry, enabling us to provide our clients with relevant and practical advice. We have long recognized the opportunities that have been created as a result of the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, and more recently, for recreational purposes both in Canada and internationally. We have a proven track record in providing corporate, commercial, regulatory, intellectual property and employment and labour advice to the cannabis industry. 

Our clients are key industry players across the value chain, including producers, distributors, investors, research and development organizations and technology providers. We have extensive experience in providing strategic guidance to companies at the preliminary licensing stage through to the construction of facilities, distribution of products, and expansion and diversification of their cannabis-related portfolios.

Our areas of work include

  • Corporate and commercial: Our lawyers advise on equity and debt financings, private placements, initial public offerings, corporate governance, electronic commerce and Internet agreements, equity compensation plans and tax planning, as well as on strategic partnerships, joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions within the industry (domestic and cross-border).
  • Regulatory: We advise clients of all sizes on the regulation of cannabis, including in obtaining licences to produce and import, and developing compliance programs and standard operating procedures. Our in-depth knowledge of Health Canada and our interactions with the agency across many product classes (e.g., pharmaceuticals, tobacco, food and beverage, medical devices, cosmetics) allow us to provide valuable insights to our cannabis clients about the regulator and its approach to licensing, manufacturing, marketing and compliance.  
  • Commercialization: Our lawyers advise on agreements that will assist our clients in bringing their innovations and products to market from licencing arrangements to distribution and supply agreements. We have significant experience related to cross-border licensing for cannabis-based products and supply agreements. We also advise medical cannabis clients on reimbursement strategies for public and private coverage of medical cannabis.
  • Intellectual property: We advise on patent applications relating to wide variety of cannabis-related innovation, including covering the systems and procedures associated with planting, growing, harvesting, processing, diagnostics and delivery mechanisms of cannabis. We are also experienced in drafting and negotiating licenses for cannabis-related intellectual property, as well as providing strategic advice for the branding of cannabis products and services, including managing and securing branding portfolios, and all aspects of social media and domain names. We have advised on the protection and filings related to Plant Breeders’ Rights.
  • Advertising and marketing: Our lawyers help clients navigate the numerous restrictions on advertising and marketing as they develop effective marketing plans. We also advise on the impact of privacy and data protection on the distribution of medical cannabis.
  • Employment and labour: We advise employers on managing the use by employees of medically authorized cannabis and the risks associated with the upcoming legalization of recreational cannabis, including advising on workplace policies, drug and alcohol testing, and human rights obligations.