Emerge is a premier cannabis law firm with deep knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the cannabis industry. Emerge was founded on July 1, 2014 by a group of attorneys with backgrounds in the cannabis industry, as well as years of experience at prestigious law firms. They had the idea to start a boutique firm that could bring experience in various legal sectors to an industry desperately in need of legal services – the cannabis industry.
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. In 2016, Emerge received the inaugural Dope Industry Award for Best Law Firm in Oregon in recognition of its early contributions to the cannabis industry. Now over six years later, Emerge has expanded into California, New Jersey, New York, and Washington and is a full-service business law firm.
While many firms claim expertise in these areas, few have Emerge’s depth and experience in shaping the laws and successfully representing clients through the dynamic and uncertain stages of new industry
Regulatory Compliance and Licensing
State Agency Relations
We have helped hundreds of clients obtain state licenses and local permits to operate cannabis businesses in jurisdictions across the United States. We also regularly assist clients with agency inspections, operating procedures, employee trainings, periodic reporting, renewals, responding to proposed violations, and administrative hearings. Cannabis laws and regulations are rapidly changing. Our cannabis team is dedicated to attending legislative hearings and agency meetings to stay up-to-date on new changes. Where the rubber meets the road is our counsel regarding strategy and business adjustments to such new changes.
Drafted State Law Legalizing Cannabis
Adult and Medical Use of Cannabis Act
Oregon was the third state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use cannabis. Emerge’s Dave Kopilak was the primary drafter of Oregon Measure 91, and Genny Kiley provided input regarding various regulatory frameworks in the context of alcohol to craft the ballot measure. Our lawyers have been committed to the cannabis industry since the ground level and left prestigious law firms to serve the cannabis industry at a time when other law firms were not willing to support the cause. Emerge remains committed to seeing the industry grow in an equitable, responsible, and sensible manner.
From Legacy to Craft and Beyond
Diversity – Equity – Inclusion
Our lawyers understand that the cannabis industry is built on the backs of legacy operators. We are passionate about helping legacy operators evaluate entering into the regulated market and start-up considerations, including understanding uncertainty under federal law, business formation, and compliance matters. We have advised numerous clients who have transitioned into the regulated market grow their business and capture value in the form of joint ventures, co-packing agreements, white label agreements, distribution agreements, and brand protection, and mergers and acquisitions.
Successful Land Use Appeals
Emerge won two appeals to Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) against Deschutes County relating to repeated denials of client’s land use application based on the County’s interpretation of its code prohibiting the siting of a cannabis production facility within 1000 feet of a “youth activity center.” Emerge successfully argued that the County’s interpretation violated two state statutes. This was the first LUBA decision to find the “reasonability” statute violated by a city or county. LUBA remanded the decision back to the County. At remand, the County again denied client’s application. Emerge won second appeal to LUBA, delivering the client a full reversal and an award of attorney fees.
Canada – Africa – Europe
Serve as lead U.S. corporate and regulatory counsel for leading publicly-traded cannabis business operating in multiple U.S. states, as well as in Canada, Africa and Europe. Representation began upon formation of the business in 2016 by two founding shareholders, and has continued through several rounds of capital raising; operational growth and regulatory compliance; initial public offering in Canada and multiple follow-on public offerings, including with respect to U.S. and cross-border securities law matters; and multiple U.S. and international acquisition transactions.
Civil RICO Defense
Represented 50 defendants operating state-licensed recreational marijuana retailers and producers against civil Racketeering Influenced & Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act claims brought in federal court. Obtained voluntary dismissal of claims.
Represented 19 defendants operating state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries against civil RICO Act claims brought in federal court. Obtained voluntary dismissal of claims.