Legal Weed: Let It Grow?

What’s going on here?

London Law Firm, Mackrell Turner Garrett (MTG), has decided to launch a cannabis law department. 

What does this mean?

The newly established department is led by senior associate and drug policy reform enthusiast, Robert Jappie. The department aims to follow a long line of US firms in reaping the benefits from the rapidly growing cannabis industry. The worldwide cannabis market is worth around £114 billion and this value could potentially rise to a whopping £205 billion by 2028, according to Barclays researchers.

Although this market is still largely illegal, global regulatory restrictions are beginning to loosen up. In over 25 countries, including the UK, medicinal weed is welcomed with open arms. Recent changes in UK law have allowed doctors to prescribe these products because of the positive impact it has when it comes to treating high-profile illnesses. Similarly, these baby steps towards the legalisation of weed have seen interesting items, such as cannabis-containing craft beer, mints and even foot cream hit supermarket shelves!

Why should law firms care?

As the cannabis industry opens up, it gives rise to both opportunity and uncertainty for clients. With many businesses looking to tap into the highly profitable weed market, one of the key factors to consider is the new regulatory landscape. In light of these developments, law firms will have to keep up to date with the ever-changing regulations and consider ways in which their business clients can comply with these new rules, while successfully taking full advantage of the market. For example, if companies are looking to promote hemp-based products, law firms may have to consider the legality of marketing and distributing these items within the UK.

Despite the fact that MTG’s decision to open up its own cannabis law practice is the first of its kind in the UK, one big city law firm has also been making moves to better understand this up-and-coming market. Earlier this year, Magic Circle firm, Allen & Overy formed its own ‘multidisciplinary group focused on the cannabis market’ and published a ‘Cannabis Legal and Regulatory Update’ newsletter. With that being said, it seems that comprehensive knowledge on this market is crucial and the rest of the city’s big players may be pressured into opening their own legal cannabis sectors. As the regulatory environment softens, law firms could benefit from expanding their current client base.

Report written by Joshua L.

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