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Cannabis Litigation Issues

Many cannabis market participants face uncertainty due to an evolving, complicated landscape of regulatory and legal issues. Cannabis laws and regulations are unique to the industry and present a new set of challenges to a cannabis business, above and beyond the already existing legal challenges of running a business. 

Cannabis businesses are prone to hiccups in many of the following areas: regulatory enforcement, federal intervention, taxes, contracts, real property, employment, business operations, intellectual property, and finances.

How We Can Help 

Our attorneys truly care about our clients and do not view you as just another billable hour. We are aware of how emotionally taxing these issues can be and go above and beyond to ensure that you are taken care of. 

We have extensive experience in cannabis litigation and have had several of our cases published (a published case means that the case is noteworthy/creates new law). 

 

We have received national recognition as leading litigators for the cannabis industry's highest profile cases -  and have recognized significant wins for the industry along the way.

We have caught the attention of the Supreme Court of the United States. Most notably, Justice Clarence Thomas issued a statement in our firm's Standing Akimbo v. United States case. The statement can be seen as a warning to the federal government to lay off of state legal cannabis.

In Alpenglow v. United States, the Tenth Circuit Court found that the deduction of costs of goods sold from income is a constitutional right, even for dispensaries. Jim Thorburn also had the honor of arguing Feinberg v. Commissioner in front of now Justice Neil Gorsuch. The published decision has been described as a "technical loss but an artful win for the cannabis industry". 

Below is a list of some of our published cases.

OUR PUBLISHED CANNABIS CASES 

Feinberg v. Commissioner, 808 F.3d 813 (10th Cir. 2015) (Feinberg I) and Feinberg v. Commissioner, 916 F.3d 1330 (10th Cir. 2019) (Feinberg II) - Click to hear oral argument

Argued on a writ of mandamus, in front of now Justice Neil Gorsuch. Justice Gorsuch’s opinion in Feinberg has been described as a “technical loss but an artful win for the cannabis industry.”

 

High Desert Relief v. United States, 917 F.3d 1170 (10th Cir. 2019) - Click to hear oral argument

Overruling previous case law that and holding that full rather than abbreviated summary judgment standards apply to federal tax summons proceedings

Alpenglow Botanicals v. United States, 894 F.3d 1187 (10th Cir. 2018) - Click to hear oral argument

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In response to Thorburn Walker's arguments, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that costs of goods sold is a constitutionally mandated exclusion from business income for which Congress cannot interfere. 

Green Solution Retail, Inc. v. United States, 855 F.3d (10th Cir. 2017) - Oral argument not available

Arguing whether the IRS has the authority to administratively determine that a taxpayer has trafficked in a controlled substance, without a previous conviction.

Standing Akimbo, Ltd. Liabl. Co. v United States, 955 F.3d 1146 (10th Cir. 2020) - Click to hear oral argument

Addressing the question of whether state expressly legal marijuana laws are preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act, as well as whether 26 U.S.C. §280E violates the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution by taxing more than constitutional income.