Category Archive for: Washington

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As counsel to Dr. Sunil Aggarwal of the Advanced Integrative Medical Science (“AIMS”) Institute we have been seeking authorization for him to obtain the investigational drug psilocybin under the Washington and federal Right to Try (“RTT”) Acts for therapeutic use with his patients with advanced cancer.  RTT laws recognize that patients with life-threatening illness do not have the luxury of time to await the completion of the long slow process of new drug approval, and create a path to access investigational drugs which have completed a Phase I clinical trial and remain under investigation.[1]

Psilocybin has shown enormous promise in early clinical trials in relieving debilitating anxiety and depression suffered by terminally ill patients. Psilocybin is currently listed on schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”); accordingly, no supplier would provide psilocybin to Dr. Aggarwal without DEA’s permission.  When we sought DEA’s guidance in January 2021 regarding how he might obtain necessary approval, DEA responded, in February 2021, that it had no authority to waive any of the CSA’s requirements and allow access.

On Dr. Aggarwal’s behalf we sought judicial review of that determination in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitThe court dismissed the case on January 31, 2022, concluding that DEA’s action was not “final” for purposes of judicial review under 21 U.S.C. § 877. AIMS v. Garland, 21-70544 (9th Cir. Jan. 31, 2022). This dismissal for lack of jurisdiction did not address the merits of petitioners’ claims, which remain strong.

Dr. Aggarwal and AIMS have subsequently taken two steps with DEA to move this matter forward.

First, on February 2, 2022 a Petition to Reschedule psilocybin from schedule I to schedule II was filed.  The continued placement of psilocybin on schedule I has been described as “absolutely absurd” by one of the nation’s leading researchers of this investigational drug.
(at 19:52)

Second, Petitioners have asked DEA for a waiver from registration requirements which would allow access to psilocybin for therapeutic use under state and federal RTT laws.  The waiver request could be acted upon relatively quickly and should be in light of the urgency patients face with advancing terminal illness. The rescheduling petition will likely take longer but ought not languish.

Keen bipartisan congressional interest in seeing the DEA find a way to accommodate RTT has been expressed.  This interest may well catalyze congressional oversight of the DEA’s handling of the Rescheduling Petition.

The fight to open the pathway intended by state and federal RTT laws continues, with the objective of making psilocybin available for therapeutic use with patients suffering debilitating anxiety and depression in the face of life-threatening illness.

[1] See RCW 69.77 et seq. (Washington RTT); Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017, Pub. L. No. 115-176, § 1, 132 Stat. 1372, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-0a (Federal RTT).

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Bipartisan Congressional support for allowing terminal patients to seek relief from anxiety and depression in alignment with ongoing international research on the effectiveness of psilocybin in mental health care


Following issuance of the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in AIMS v DEA on Monday, January 31, 2022, finding lack of jurisdiction to review the DEA’s refusal to allow access to psilocybin pursuant to duly enacted Right to Try laws, Petitioners have filed a Petition for Rescheduling of Psilocybin from schedule I to schedule II. The Petition offers DEA a way to create a pathway so that terminally ill patients can access to psilocybin.

In a letter to the DEA sent on January 18, bipartisan Congressional members encouraged DEA to use its power to create a pathway to access psilocybin, shown to be remarkably effective in relieving anxiety and depression in patients with advanced illness.  Given that the interests of terminally ill patients are at stake, where the advance of illness makes time short, there is an urgency for DEA’s action on the Petition. Congressional interest in the DEA’s response to this Petition will likely be keen.

On today’s Psychoactive Podcast Matt Johnson, the first researcher to be appointed to an endowed chair in psychedelic studies, the Susan Hill Ward Professor in Psychedelics and Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University, says leaving psilocybin on schedule I is “absolutely absurd.”
(at minute: 19:52)

Media Contacts

Roland Griffiths
Oliver Lee McCabe, III
Professor in the Neuropsychopharmacology of Consciousness
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
(D) 410 372-7488

Matthew Zorn
Yetter Coleman LLP
811 Main Street, Suite 4100, Houston, Texas 77002
(D) 713.632.8064 | (M) 301-221-9608 | (O) 713.632.8000 | Bio | vCard

Kathryn Tucker
Emerge Law Group
(D) 206.595.0097

Brad Bawmann
The Bawmann Group
(O) 303.320.7790 (D) 303.870.3949

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Bipartisan Congressional support for allowing terminal patients to seek relief from anxiety and depression in alignment with ongoing international research on the effectiveness of psilocybin in mental health care


The Ninth Circuit’s opinion today, January 31, 2022, finding that the agency action in this matter was not final – “the DEA’s response letter was not a final decision…and therefore the panel lacked jurisdiction to review it.” – did not reach the merits.  Rather, the court held that it did not have jurisdiction, on this record, to consider the merits of whether DEA must accommodate duly enacted Right to Try laws.

In view of the opinion, Petitioners will promptly file both a Request for Waiver and a Petition for Rescheduling. The waiver request will require the DEA to issue a decision that will constitute ‘final agency action,’ so that the merits can be reached in judicial review if necessary.  Those merits arguments are strong: DEA must accommodate duly enacted state and federal Right-to-Try laws, as mandated by the Controlled Substances Act. The Petition for Rescheduling offers DEA an alternative and equally compelling way to create a pathway so that terminally ill patients can access to psilocybin. Time is of the essence.

In a letter to the DEA sent on January 18, 2022, bipartisan Congressional members expressed concern that DEA ought and must respect duly enacted state and federal Right to Try laws and use its power to create a pathway to access the investigational drug psilocybin. Given that the interests of terminally ill patients are at stake, where the advance of illness makes time short, there is an urgency for DEA’s action on both the petition and waiver request be prompt. We hope congressional interest in this matter will continue, and possibly include Congressional Oversight Hearings.

Media Contacts:

Kathryn Tucker
Emerge Law Group
O: 503.227.4525 D: 206.595.0097 

Brad Bawmann
The Bawmann Group
O: 303.320.7790 D: 303.870.3949

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I represent Erinn Baldeschwiler in AIMS et al v DEA.  Erinn is faced with advanced cancer, and the prospect of dying before her two children reach adulthood.  Erinn is seeking access to psilocybin therapy to help her manage debilitating anxiety and depression as she confronts the end of her life.  Read her full letter HERE, urging that her elected representative, Senator Patty Murray, take appropriate action on her behalf to compel the DEA to allow Erinn access to this therapy as contemplated by state and federal Right to Try laws.

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Emerge Law Group is proud to represent a Seattle palliative care physician and co-director of an integrative oncology clinic, and a number of his patients with advanced cancer in a case seeking to open access to psilocybin therapy for patients with serious illness under state and federal Right to Try laws. Well known patient rights advocate Kathryn Tucker, Emerge Special Counsel, along with a team of outstanding co-counsel from Perkins Coie, Yetter Coleman and Vicente Sederberg, represent the Petitioners in  AIMS et al v DEA.

Today we filed our brief, Petitioners Opening Brief, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The central contention is that the DEA,  a federal law enforcement agency with authority to prevent diversion of controlled substances, overstepped the limits of its authority in failing to recognize that the RTT requires it to allow access to eligible investigational drugs – psilocybin is one such drug – for therapeutic use by patients with serious illness. This is an affront to the autonomy of the states to serve their recognized function as primary regulators of the practice of medicine. It is in contravention of the RTT, which as an amendment to the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, is the statute with primacy here. And it denies seriously ill patients access to promising investigational drugs, causing irreparable harm.

Next week we expect others to join this effort by filing amicus briefs in support of the Petitioners. In June, the DOJ will file its brief. Petitioners will file a reply and the case will be set for oral argument, likely in September.

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Multiple recently conducted clinical trials show that therapy with psilocybin for relief of anxiety and depression in patients with advanced cancer is safe and remarkably effective.  This is welcome news for patients with advanced illnesses and those who care for them. While much progress has been made in the past quarter century in addressing physical pain and suffering with new recognition of rights to choose end of life care options, little progress has been made in addressing non-physical suffering.  My work of the past 30 years has focused on advocacy to promote improved end of life care, empowering terminally ill patients to determine how they journey through their illness and across the threshold of death consistent with their values, beliefs, and preferences. Sometimes this has involved advocacy to ensure that patients are informed about, and able to choose among, all end of life care options.  Other times it has involved advocacy to ensure attentive and aggressive pain management.  I have represented dozens of terminally ill patients in cases across the country in state and federal courts, and in legislative proceedings, seeking the right to choose a more peaceful death by ingesting medication intended for this purpose, a practice known as aid in dying.  Law and medicine has evolved.  The standard of care relating to pain and symptom management has also evolved and aggressive forms of pain management have become accepted in both law and medicine.  This now includes palliative sedation, where consciousness is eradicated while food and fluid are withheld until death arrives.  A broader range of options has also become more widely available, as a growing number of states  permit aid in dying.

While all this progress is celebrated, a notable gap in the palliative care toolbox is evident.  Modalities to address non-physical pain and suffering have not kept pace and the evidence shows that a significant percentage of terminally ill patients suffer unrelieved anxiety and depression.  Hence the keen interest in the findings of clinical trials of psilocybin therapy showing remarkable efficacy in mitigation.

But the question remains: how can patients with life-threatening illness access psilocybin therapy?  Psilocybin is listed on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) meaning it is deemed to have no currently accepted medical use for treatment in the US.  Therefore, clinicians cannot prescribe it and it is unlawful for them to manufacture, distribute, or possess it.  Ongoing clinical trials are directed at the goal of rescheduling psilocybin under the CSA so that it can be prescribed and utilized for therapeutic purposes.  However, those trials and the process of rescheduling can take many years.  Dying patients do not have the luxury of time to wait.

In recent years, recognition of this reality led to the enactment of so-called Right to Try (RTT) statutes in more than 40 states, and, in 2018, by the US Congress.  These laws are intended to allow patients with advanced life-threatening illness to access otherwise prohibited drugs if certain conditions are met, including that the drug has completed a Phase I clinical trial and remains under investigation.

All of the requirements of RTT are met with regard to psilocybin. Accordingly, it should be available to patients with advanced life-threatening illness, notwithstanding its designation on Schedule I.  Interestingly, a few states do exclude Schedule I substances from their ambit; however, this is not the case with the majority of the state acts nor the federal statute.  That said, it appears the DEA has not yet accommodated the Right to Try Act.  This is clear for anyone who attempts to follow DEA rules and procedures for registering under the CSA.  The registration options simply do not accommodate RTT and there is no provision for access to Schedule I drugs for therapeutic use (only research use is provided for).

Emerge Law Group is taking this issue forward on behalf of an integrative oncology clinic in Seattle, its palliative care director, and a number of their patients who want psilocybin therapy and for whom their palliative care clinician believes it would offer relief. We are seeking registration from the state and federal agencies vested with authority under the CSA, the Washington Department of Health’s Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration to enable the clinic to access this medicine.  We are eager to see how the DEA comes to accommodate RTT.  Once this accommodation is achieved, access nationwide for the population of terminally-ill patients and their providers will be possible, bringing relief to countless numbers of suffering patients.

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Late 2019 saw a national outbreak in hospitalized cases of e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI). The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported 2,807 cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories, including 68 EVALI-related deaths in 29 states and the District of Columbia. In response to this outbreak, Emerge Law Group and Greenbridge Corporate Counsel prepared a bulletin for its clients which is linked here entitled “Client Bulletin: Overview of State and Local Responses to EVALI” analyzing the responses of each state with legalized medical or recreational cannabis to the outbreak.

In November 2019, the CDC identified tocopheryl acetate, commonly known as vitamin E acetate, as a primary “chemical of concern” because 48 of 51 patients with EVALI tested had this chemical in fluid samples collected from their lungs. This chemical is sometimes used as a thickening agent or to dilute THC oil in vaping cartridges. The CDC reports that although vitamin E acetate appears to be associated with most of the cases, evidence is not sufficient to rule out the contributions of other chemicals of concern. However, due to continued declines in new EVALI cases in recent months and the CDC’s identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, the CDC stated that its February 18, 2020 update would be its final official update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally.

Today, March 6, 2020, JAMA Internal Medicine published an in-depth report on 160 EVALI cases in California. This report—the first to our knowledge to describe cases in a state with a legal adult-use cannabis market—appears to confirm patterns of clinical findings and vaping practices previously reported in other states and nationally. Although California has a legal adult-use cannabis market, the majority of affected patients (83% of those interviewed) reported using THC-containing products obtained from informal sources, such as friends, acquaintances, or unlicensed retailers. When asked specifically whether THC-containing products had been acquired at a licensed dispensary, patients answered affirmatively for only 25% of the THC-containing products. Of these products, only four products had a named purchase location verified as a state-licensed dispensary. In addition, 84% of THC-containing products tested contained vitamin E acetate, reinforcing the potential association between this chemical and EVALI. The report concluded that while use of THC-containing products and vitamin E acetate appear to be associated with the EVALI outbreak, additional investigation is needed to determine the cause or causes.

Both the CDC and the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) published recommendations to the public regarding EVALI and the risks of using vaping products, including warnings to stop using any vaping products containing THC. In response to EVALI and the CDC and FDA recommendations, several states with legalized medical and recreational cannabis products acted to address THC-infused vaping products, up to and including partial or complete bans on the manufacture, distribution and/or sale of vaping products.

The linked Greenbridge-Emerge Client Bulletin summarizes state actions undertaken (or proposed to be undertaken) regarding THC-infused vaping products as of March 2, 2020. A previous version of our client bulletin was cited in Marijuana Business Magazine’s February issue focusing on the vaping crisis. Our analysis was also incorporated into the NCIA Policy Council’s white paper on safe vaping entitled “The Key to Consumer Safety: Displacing the Illicit Cannabis Market – Recommendations for Safe Vaping,” which the NCIA has shared with key congressional committees.  Check out the Client Bulletin and get in touch to learn more about how your business can successfully navigate the latest legal and regulatory reactions to EVALI.

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WA Pot

Last Friday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law Senate Bill 5052, also known as the Cannabis Patient Protection Act.  The governor vetoed a few sections, but most of the bill remains intact.  The law takes effect July 1, 2016, and attempts integrate Washington’s medical marijuana system with the state’s recreational marijuana market.  SB 5052 moves oversight of Washington’s medical marijuana program from the Department of Health to the newly dubbed Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB).

Throughout the legislative session, the bill was criticized by the medical marijuana community for limiting patient access to medicine by significantly reducing possession and cultivation amounts, creating a government database which may violate patient privacy and expose patients to criminal liability, and potentially eliminating jobs by forcing existing medical dispensaries to close if they do not obtain a recreational license before July 1, 2016.  So what exactly is in place?

Optional Patient Database

In Washington, patients only need a doctor’s recommendation to qualify as a medical marijuana patient. No card system or registry currently exists.  SB 5052 creates an optional patient database.  Patients who voluntarily register may possess three times as much marijuana as is allowed under the recreational law.

The medical marijuana community argues that forcing patients to register in order to have sufficient access to medicine would essentially force patients to admit to committing a federal crime, and that disclosure of personal medical information is a violation of privacy laws under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Sen. Ann Rivers, the sponsor of the measure, said that part of the reason the database is so important is to find out if there are enough stores providing medical products to patients.

Patient Possession Limits

Prior to SB 5052, medical marijuana patients could possess up to 24 ounces of usable marijuana and 15 plants.  Under the new law, a patient may have the following limits:

  • three ounces of usable marijuana (flower)
  • 48 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form (edibles)
  • 216 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form (beverages)
  • 21 grams of marijuana concentrates (oil, wax)

A patient may also grow up to four plants for personal medical use and possess up to 6 ounces of usable marijuana products from the patient’s plants.

However, if a doctor determines that the patient’s needs exceed the amounts above, the doctor may specify it is recommended that the patient be allowed to grow up to 15 plants for personal medical use and possess up to 16 ounces of usable marijuana from the patient’s plants.

Collective/Cooperative Gardens

Currently, medical marijuana patients may pool their resources and participate in collective gardens.  Each such garden is limited to 10 patients and each patient may allocate some or all of their personal 15 plant limit to the collective.  However, no collective may have more than 45 plants total.  SB 5052 essentially reduces the number of patients that may be associated with a collective garden from 10 patients to four patients.

SB 5052 now dubs collective gardens as cooperative gardens.  Each co-op is limited to four patients.  Each patient may allocate some or all of their personal plant limit (which is 6 or 15 plants depending on the patient’s medical needs) to the co-op.  However, no co-op may cultivate more than 60 plants total.

Large collective gardens have until July 1, 2016 to either reorganize into a co-op with less patients, or obtain a producer license from the WSLCB.  The state will grant priority to collectives who demonstrate their experience in the marijuana industry and who have been good proprietors.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Lastly, one of the largest criticisms of the law is that medical marijuana dispensaries exclusively serving medical marijuana patients will no longer exist.  Instead, medical marijuana dispensaries must become licensed recreational stores and obtain a medical cannabis endorsement indicating that the applicant is knowledgeable in the medical use of cannabis.

Under I-502, the WSLCB has limited the number of recreational retail licenses it will issue to 334.  The number was determined using a formula that distributes the number of locations proportionate to the most populous cities within each county.  SB 5052 provides that the WSLCB must reconsider and increase the maximum number of retail outlets it established and allow for a new license application period and a greater number of retail outlets to be permitted in order to accommodate the medical needs of patients.  The WSLCB will conduct an evaluation of applications received during the application period.

The WSLCB is now tasked with developing a merit-based application process that allows applicants the opportunity to demonstrate their experience and qualifications in the marijuana industry.  The board will give first priority to applicants that have the following qualifications:

  • applied for a state retailer license prior to July 1, 2014
  • operated a collective garden before January 1, 2013
  • maintained a state business license and a municipal business license, as applicable
  • has a history of paying all applicable state taxes and fees

Medical and recreational operations should prepare themselves for transitions in 2016.


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As we get closer to the November election and the potential (likely?) passage of Ballot Measure 91 in Oregon, the most common question we hear asked is, “what is recreational marijuana in Oregon going to look like?”. That question is almost always closely followed by people asking if the recreational licensing and implementation process is going to be like Washington’s I-502 process.

As one of two states with recreational cannabis use, Washington should be a leader in how to implement, and build, a legal cannabis market. But, it’s not. Here’s a pretty great article about some of the big issues. 

From problems with under-production to the creation of a new black market, Washington’s I-502 has been a marginally successful program. 

We recognize that every state will have it’s growing pains, but we are very hopeful that Oregon’s legal cannabis market will look and feel different. 

The Seattle Times, in this article lays out some of the fundamental differences between the two states.

Here are a few of our predictions how Oregon will be different, and better:

1. Medical dispensaries in Oregon will be allowed to continue to operate and, if they choose, also get licensed to be recreational dispensaries.

2. Our taxes will be lower. I mean WAY lower. This will prevent the black market from regaining a foothold in Oregon.

3. Oregon will have learned from Washington and license cannabis cultivation facilities before new retail facilities.

4. We will not start from scratch for cultivation. This means that, hopefully, Oregon will allow an opportunity for cannabis cultivation facilities supplying the existing legal dispensary market to apply for a recreational license. This would ensure no lapse in cultivation.

5. We are very hopeful that the OLCC will not limit the number of licenses. Without limits a true free market cannabis economy can develop.

There has always been a rivalry between Washington and Oregon, Portland and Seattle, and, if Ballot Measure 91 passes, we are going to guess that Oregon is poised to be the leader in a sensible recreational cannabis market.


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Franchise law is a heavily regulated area of law.  We help clients expand their businesses through franchising and other distribution methods. We have experience in many industries including, restaurants, health, and beauty, alcohol, and cannabis among others. Our representative services include the following:


We also help potential franchisees interested in buying a franchise. We are able to assist with evaluation of franchise opportunities with respect to:

Alternative Structures

However, not all businesses are suited to franchise. We are also experienced with helping clients structure alternative distribution methods to prevent classification as a franchise.


Our M&A attorneys are highly experienced in counseling clients who are considering acquisitions or exit strategies.  We have many years of experience handling deals of various types and sizes, ranging from sales of small closely-held business, private companies, and publicly-traded corporations.  We have represented business owners, private equity firms and investment banks in a wide range of industries. 

We have a deep business bench, and Emerge attorneys have handled transactions of all shapes and sizes.  Whether your deal is valued at $100,000 or $100,000,000, our experienced attorneys will guide you through the deal process.

We understand the intensity, technical skill and judgment needed to get deals done, and we provide our clients with timely, practical and cost-effective legal advice.  We are highly capable in all aspects of M&A, including the following:


Emerge Law Group is highly experienced in the cannabis industry.  We have helped many clients obtain state licenses and local permits to operate cannabis businesses throughout California, Oregon, and Washington.

Emerge attorneys were instrumental in the drafting and passage of Oregon Measure 91, legalizing marijuana in the State of Oregon, and have represented cannabis businesses well before many law firms were willing to enter the cannabis industry. As a firm that has provided legal services in the cannabis space for many years, we are familiar with the unique and complex issues businesses and individuals face in an emerging and highly regulated industry.

We regularly help clients with:

Cannabis laws and rules are also regularly changing.  Members of our team are dedicated to attending legislative hearings, state agency and local city and county meetings to stay up-to-date on any new changes and how to adjust to any new changes.

See our Cannabis Industry page for more information.


There is tremendous excitement about the potential for psychedelic drugs to benefit a wide variety of populations, including terminally ill patients suffering with anxiety and depression. Until recently, psychedelic substances have been accessible only in the illicit market and are illegal under federal and state to manufacture, distribute, or possess. These substances have, since 1970, been treated as having no legitimate medical use, and no commercial application. As such, no one invested in this area or required legal services, outside of the criminal context.

Today, researchers in a multitude of clinical studies are proving the medical safety and efficacy of these medicines, with the objective of changing the treatment of these substances under the Controlled Substances Act. Companies are now actively raising money to develop intellectual property and seize market opportunities associated with psychedelic drugs.

In addition, advocates at the state and local levels are not waiting for the rescheduling of these substances and are active in undertaking efforts to decriminalize these substances and/or make them affirmatively legal under state and/or municipal law. Decriminalization already has occurred in cities including Denver, Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Ann Arbor. Oregon is poised to be the first state to make psilocybin therapy affirmatively legal. Emerge Law Group is working with a wide array of clients pushing forward in this emerging area.

See our Psychedelics Practice Group page for more information.



Businesses of all kinds benefit from a customized but systematic approach to structuring legal relationships. Emerge Law Group helps businesses and business owners with a variety of tax planning matters.

Representative client services include:


Estate planning encompasses everything from a will and power of attorney to combined estate and business succession planning. In almost all cases, the purpose of the plan is to help the client protect those they care about most in the event they can no longer be there for them.

Emerge Law Group has experience with a wide range of tools used in estate planning, including wills, trusts, and family business entity planning.


Emerge Law Group can assist with the resolution of difficult tax controversies. Our areas of emphasis and experience include:


Emerge Law Group assists clients with a wide range of real estate transactional matters.  We regularly help clients with:


Emerge Law Group also assists clients with all aspects of local government land use and development processes, ranging from preliminary property analyses and building permit issues to complex land use reviews and hearings. Our attorneys are experienced in obtaining land use entitlements and development permits for a wide range of uses.

We regularly help clients with:

Above all, we understand the value of working with cities and counties to enhance communities while developing the land to its potential. We strive to create solutions to land use issues that serve to better our clients and the communities in which they live and work.


The attorneys in Emerge Law Group’s Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution practice group litigate commercial, intellectual property, and public interest matters in state and federal courts, as well as private mediation and arbitration proceedings.  Our lawyers have represented national and regional financial institutions, major media, entertainment and technology companies, and other Fortune 500 companies in a broad array of high-stakes disputes.  Our team of litigators has handled leading cases that have shaped the law in cutting-edge business, technology, free speech, and public interest impact lawsuits in trial and the courts of appeal.

We have particular expertise in handling civil litigation and regulatory enforcement matters in the cannabis and psychedelic industries.  While many firms claim expertise in the these industries, few have our depth of experience successfully litigating contract, trademark, partnership, shareholder, land use, and real estate disputes in court and arbitration.  Even fewer firms have our level of experience handling writ of mandate proceedings against the government regulators.

Our litigators practice in California, Oregon, and Washington, but have appeared in state and federal courts nationwide.  Our knowledge of our clients’ businesses, goals and concerns, and our experience litigating at the highest levels, give us unique insight into possible outcomes and pitfalls as we continuously confront issues of new impression.

No matter what the industry, we pride ourselves in achieving our clients’ objectives through efficient and creative solutions primarily designed to avoid disputes in the first place—which is always the best litigation strategy.  Many times, our clients obtain excellent outcomes before or at the earliest stages of litigation because our adversaries quickly recognize the challenges they will face in litigating against us.  When litigation is unavoidable, however, we work hard to provide our clients with both cost-efficient and “big firm” quality representation.



Your intellectual property (or “IP”) strategy can harness your most valuable information and intangible assets including your name, your brand, your designs, your content, your services, and your products — what makes your business stand apart in a competitive world.  We can help you evaluate and build your IP portfolio, then secure it, monetize it, and protect it.

IP encompasses multiple areas of law and different types of information or material.

Our Intellectual Property practice focuses on:


Trademarks include names, signs, logos, designs, phrases, slogans, expressions, and sometimes even colors, sounds, or smells that identify or distinguish one business compared to others.  Trademark protection is fundamental in securing your “brand.”


Copyright covers original works of creative authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.  This includes literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, designs, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.  Depending upon the type of work, “moral rights” (such as the right of attribution) may be implicated as well.


Trade secret laws can vary somewhat between states, but generally trade secrets cover information, including drawings, cost data, customer lists, formulas, recipes, patterns, compilations, programs, devices, methods, techniques or processes that derive economic value from not being generally known and are the subject of efforts that are “reasonable under the circumstances” to maintain secrecy.


Depending upon where you live or operate, there is a special patchwork of laws and regulations that protect and regulate personal information.  If you are handling or giving out personal or potentially sensitive information, you may be implicating privacy laws.


Publicity rights address the commercial use of an individual’s face, name, image, or likeness.  These rights vary state-to-state.  Marilyn Monroe, for example, lived in multiple states which created complex questions about her publicity rights.

Our Intellectual Property services include:


In states where new cannabis banking opportunities exist, Emerge Law Group has the proven expertise in creating canna-banking programs to efficiently capitalize on those opportunities. Our Banking Practice Group specializes in working with banks and credit unions to develop regulatory compliant programs and operational best practices. We also train banking staff to become experts in canna-banking so they can effective understand and manage the risk affiliated with canna-banking.

We regularly help clients with:


At Emerge Law Group, we recognize that employees are the heart and soul of any successful business.  Our Employment Law Practice Group works with employers to help them effectively manage their workforce, navigate the complex web of federal, state and local employment laws and, if necessary, defend against claims before administrative agencies and in court.

We regularly help clients with:


Our corporate finance and securities lawyers are experienced attorneys who have practiced at large law firms, worked as in-house counsel for public companies and investment banks, and owned and operated start-up companies. We work with clients to help achieve their financing goals while safely navigating the highly technical securities law landscape. 

In addition to representing issuers, we also routinely represent institutional and individual investors, including in connection with fund formation and investments.

Our expertise includes:

We have a deep understanding of the financing options available to businesses, including simple unsecured loans, asset-backed financing, convertible debt, common and preferred equity, crowdfunding and various other structures.  We work closely with our clients to understand their business and financing needs, ensure they are prepared to approach investors and choose the right partners, structure and negotiate terms, navigate the due diligence process and successfully close the deal.



Emerge attorneys have represented businesses in the alcohol and beverage industry, including wineries, breweries, distilleries, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, golf courses, and gas stations.  We can help you vet new locations, acquire existing locations, and apply for the appropriate liquor license.  We also provide training to comply with applicable rules and regulations, prepare operating procedures, submit renewals, and keep clients protected in the event of any potential violations or administrative hearings.


Emerge Law Group is highly experienced in the cannabis industry.  We have helped many clients obtain state licenses and local permits to operate cannabis businesses throughout California, Oregon, and Washington.  We regularly help clients with:

Cannabis laws and rules are also regularly changing.  Members of our team are dedicated to attending legislative hearings, state agency and local city and county meetings to stay up-to-date on any new changes and how to adjust to any new changes.

See our Cannabis Industry page for more information.


Emerge Law Group is a leader in the psychedelics industry.  There is tremendous excitement about the potential for psychedelic drugs to benefit a wide variety of populations, including veterans struggling with PTSD and terminally ill patients suffering with anxiety and depression.  Until recently, psychedelic substances have been accessible only in the underground; they are illegal under state and federal law to manufacture, distribute, or possess.  These substances have, since 1970, been treated as having no legitimate medical use, and no commercial application.  As such, businesses have not invested in this area or required legal services, outside of the criminal context.

Today, psychedelics are proceeding toward legalization on multiple paths.  Researchers in a multitude of clinical studies are proving the medical safety and efficacy of these medicines, with the objective of changing the treatment of these substances under the federal Controlled Substances Act, opening legal access to them.  Private and public companies are now actively raising money to develop intellectual property and capitalize on the market opportunities associated with psychedelic drugs.  Opportunities to be early actors in this new arena are tremendous.

See our Psychedelics Practice Group page for more information.


Our business transactions team is made up of highly experienced transactional attorneys who have practiced at large law and accounting firms, worked as in-house counsel for public companies and investment banks, and owned and operated start-up companies. We understand complex legal matters and provide high quality legal services in a cost-effective manner.  Our clients value our experience, knowledge and judgment.


Our team routinely advises clients regarding:


Emerge attorneys also advise on-going concerns with: