As cannabis companies have grown, so too have the risks they face. An enterprising plaintiffs’ bar has set its sights on cannabis companies, bringing new lawsuits almost daily alleging various claims. The allegations range from class actions by consumers claiming that product labels and advertisements misstated THC content to claims by employees that their employer violated biometric information privacy laws by scanning fingerprints.
These types of claims can carry burdens in the several hundred million dollar range, which certainly puts a strain on an industry that already operates with significant financial challenges. And when a cannabis company needs the judiciary’s help, some courts have been persuaded that (1) agreements entered with cannabis companies are unenforceable based on the federally illegal subject matter, and (2) federal courts lack jurisdiction to resolve disputes arising from them. Finally, the dynamic between a largely new state-by-state legal industry and well-established federal investigatory regimes has left industry participants exposed to substantial compliance risks under the Securities and Exchange Commission regulations and rules, Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, Internal Revenue Code requirements, and even the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Is there some good news here? Yes, these risks largely are avoidable with proper actions taken in advance.
Award-winning cannabis lawyer Eric Berlin, and his team selected as Cannabis Practice of Year – including Brian Cohen, Amy Rubenstein, and Sarah Trevino—will guide participants through how to mitigate these various risks.
Key topics to be discussed:
Class and Mass Actions: Privacy Act claims and product mislabeling
Investigations and Compliance Risks
Date: February 22, 2023
Amy Rubenstein | Dentons
Amy Rubenstein is a partner in the Cannabis practice at Dentons. She collaborates with operators, investors, and adjacent businesses to craft strategic and risk management solutions that enable long-term growth in an industry poised to reach a domestic valuation of US$197 billion by 2028. Amy is keenly aware of the cannabis industry’s ever-changing legal status, myriad regulations, and trends—and has been lauded by clients for bringing business savvy and pragmatism to every matter.
Throughout her two-decade career, Amy has effectively transformed complex business problems into innovative legal solutions. She zealously uncovers new avenues for clients, colleagues, and subject matter experts to think unconventionally. This approach has enabled Amy to achieve outsize results across practice areas (chemical, pharmaceutical, professional services, insurance, manufacturing, and food & beverage).
Clients recognize the value that Amy’s differentiated approach adds. A client recently praised Amy’s “tireless tenacity, knowledge of the law and focused intellect.” Another client noted that he appreciates Amy’s “unique ability to grasp complex issues, both legal and factual, involving complex scientific subject matters, and convey it all in an intelligent, convincing and understandable way.” A federal district court judge complimented Amy after a jury trial for “a job well done under considerable pressure.”
In 2019 and 2021, Amy was included in The Legal 500 US. Amy was selected by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star from 2011 to 2018, and by Leading Lawyers as an Emerging Lawyer from 2015 to 2017, distinctions reserved for less than 3 percent of Illinois attorneys. Additionally, the Northern District of Illinois and Federal Bar Association have recognized her work with the Award for Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service. She frequently authors articles for The National Law Review and Law360.
Before joining Dentons, Amy was a Partner at an AmLaw 100 firm; she served as the firm’s Global Chemicals Co-Chair, U.S. Industrials Co-Chair, and U.S. Toxic Tort Co-Chair.
Sarah Trevino | Dentons
Sarah is a member of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice and the Cannabis practice. Prior to joining Dentons, she was a litigation associate with two Atlanta-based law firms, where she handled premises liability, products liability, personal injury, toxic and mass tort, labor and employment, and commercial/business cases, including class actions, collective actions and multi-district litigation.
Before entering private practice, Sarah served as a staff attorney in the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, where she was responsible for researching and preparing memoranda for all circuit judges on a variety of issues, including employment and immigration, direct criminal appeals, federal sentencing guidelines, and civil and habeas appeals.
Sarah currently focuses on complex civil litigation matters in federal and state courts, as well as in other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Sarah has handled all stages of litigation, from pleadings, discovery, motions practice, dispositive motions, settlement, and trial.
Brian Cohen | Dentons
Brian Cohen is a member of Dentons’ Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice. Brian’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including contract disputes, restrictive covenants, misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition, consumer class action defense, business torts and legal malpractice disputes. Brian’s representation includes a wide range of clients, including large companies to private business owners and start-ups.
Brian’s experience representing and counseling his clients through all phases and forms of litigation including alternative dispute resolution, emergency injunctions, jury and bench trials and appeals in a variety of jurisdictions in the US. He is also experienced in pre-litigation counseling, helping clients navigate disputes before they end up in court.
Brian graduated cum laude from Northwestern University Law School where he served as Note and Comment Editor of the Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy. He currently serves as a member of the Northwestern University School of Law’s Center for Practice Engagement and Innovation, and has been a visiting guest lecturer for the school’s Professional Organization, Team Advancement and Leadership program designed to teach incoming law students about the core professionalism values integral to the legal profession.
Eric Berlin | Dentons
Eric Berlin leads the US and global Cannabis teams at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm. Widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading authorities on cannabis and hemp law, Eric dedicates 100 percent of his work to clients involved in, or impacted by, the legal cannabis or hemp industries. He has worked on some of the industry’s biggest deals and counsels several of the top companies in the cannabis ecosystem. Eric’s own involvement in this area goes back more than a decade, when he worked pro bono with legislators and other interested parties to help draft and pass legislation creating medical cannabis programs in Illinois and Ohio.
Eric has represented large, publicly traded companies that sell products or services to the cannabis industry, companies involved in financing the industry, vaporizer manufacturers, testing labs, cultivators and processors, and dispensary operators.
Additionally, Eric has also represented non-cannabis industry clients in high-profile health care and antitrust litigations. Some of his successes include a trial in a $2.3 billion Sherman Act and Robinson-Patman Act case; a False Claims Act case against major pharmacies; a bundling antitrust case against a large medical distributor; an international arbitration between agricultural companies; and appeals in the US Courts of Appeals for the Sixth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuits.
His groundbreaking efforts for businesses and industry organizations have been well recognized. Eric is ranked in Tier 1 for Cannabis Law by Chambers USA, earned “MVP of the Year in Cannabis Law” by Law360 in 2020, and was named a “Leading Lawyer in Cannabis” by The Legal 500 US in 2021.
I. Class and Mass Actions: Privacy Act claims and product mislabeling | 12:00pm – 12:20pm
II. Jurisdictional Challenges | 12:20pm – 12:40pm
III. Investigations and Compliance Risks | 12:40pm – 1:00pm