Janet Jackim, Co-Chair of Zuber Lawler’s Cannabis Practice, Shares Insights About Transitioning From Medical to Adult-Use Cannabis Programs

Janet Jackim, is an attorney and partner in Phoenix with Zuber Lawler, a law firm that has represented cannabis clients for 15 years. The firm represents many multiple state operators and regional companies in the space and has shepherded many clients through the transition from medical to adult-use programs.

I checked in with Janet, named one of the Best Lawyers in America because she’s an experienced leader in all kinds of matters related to the cannabis industry. She handled the acquisition of cannabis operations across the nation and represented clients in relation to cannabis dispensary certificate applications, buyout transactions, business restructuring, and partner dispute resolution.

Her clients include dispensaries, producers, cultivators, investors, lenders, landlords, tenants, and vendors.

Zuber Lawler represents many of the world’s leading cannabis brands in relation to cannabis deals, cannabis patients, cannabis trademarks, cannabis FDA compliance, cannabis regulatory compliance, and cannabis litigation. Marijuana Venture Magazine named Zuber Lawler “Cannabis Law Firm of the Year.”

Janet has specialized in mergers and acquisitions for 40 years and is now among five equity owners of Zuber Lawler. She’s also the co-chair of the firm’s cannabis practice group. The law firm is not only a leading international cannabis consultancy, but it also owns B2B magazine Global Cannabis Times.

Can you tell me a little about your background in cannabis?

My firm originated in California during the legalization push and has been deeply involved in the transition from medical to adult use in about a dozen states including California, Arizona, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. I’ve also done a few cross-border assets in Mexico, Columbia & Canada.

Can you share a few lessons learned from states that have gone from medical programs to adding adult-use programs?

We considered buying a bank at one point. I would say that it is important to buy a bank that dedicates banking services to the cannabis market. Medical programs will decline significantly. The future really is with recreational programs because the population is so much larger.

Banking in cannabis, whether its credit unions or other financial institutions are important. Robust banking programs that focus on due diligence and knowing their customers are needed. 

Banking programs that focus on cannabis are essential to this industry because there’s a lot of cash involved and banks need to know where it came from and how it will be used. People in cannabis have designed ways to get around loopholes, but more needs to be done about creating robust and transparent programs.

Overall, the point is that once a state goes adult-use, more money flows into programs. Ohio is behind in banking and that needs to be corrected. With the possibility of Ohio adding an adult-use program, planning needs to start now. The few banks that offer service have high rates. As states move into adult use, banking continues to be a challenge. We need regulators to get on board to make changes. 

In your experience, do dispensaries fear adding adult-use programs to medical programs?

No. They all welcomed the expansion. But it all goes back to how regulated programs are put in place. That’s the first step in seeing how things evolve. Every state creates its own programs.

Property owners should be thrilled, in manufacturing, industrial, and retail.  Costs go up. A cannabis company that might pay a few thousand can see costs increase by a third or a half or more.

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