Cannabis Litigation

Is Your California cannabis company involved in a business dispute?

Cannabis - experienced Hochfelsen & Kani cannabis litigation lawyers can help.

Cannabis growers, producers, retailers and ancillary companies face legal threats like any other business. Yet the legal challenges that marijuana businesses face are especially complex due to strong competition, constantly changing and conflicting regulations and the industry’s position in a legal gray area.

As the industry has grown, so too has the number of lawsuits in California relating to contracts, real estate, employee-employer conflicts, shareholder disputes, licensing quarrels…and this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

In our experience, California cannabis companies and related businesses are specifically facing:

  • Contract disputes
  • Intellectual property infringement and misappropriation disputes
  • Accusations of labor and employment violations
  • Investor disputes
  • Unfair competition allegations
  • Real estate disputes
  • Fraud and business torts
  • Legal challenges by competitors, city governments, landlords, vendors and others

In some cases, you may need to take a legal stand against another business that’s causing your company harm. Other times, you may need to defend yourself and your company from legal claims by competitors, vendors or municipalities that threaten to slow or shut your business down.

In either case, Hochfelsen & Kani experienced and aggressive business litigation lawyers can help you.

While many law firms focus on the regulatory aspect of the cannabis industry, Hochfelsen & Kani is one of the few California law firms that assists cannabusinesses with civil litigation.

Our firm is made up of skilled trial lawyers with cannabis industry knowledge and more than three decades of litigation experience. If your business needs to take legal action or defend itself from a legal claim, our cannabis business lawyers can help you choose the right plan of attack and ensure that your company remains successful.

Contact our Newport Beach office today for a confidential case evaluation.

Contract Disputes

Prior to 2017, cannabis entrepreneurs and companies relied largely on informal business agreements, because a contract used for “illegal” activities would not be enforced by a court.

That changed when California passed AB 1159, which made it possible for legal cannabis companies to enter into enforceable contracts. However, that doesn’t mean contract woes are in the past – in fact they’re just getting started.

A typical evolving cannabis firm might have dozens or even hundreds of contracts in place with other entities, including:

  • Cultivators
  • Processors
  • Manufacturers
  • Vendors
  • Marketing companies
  • Tech companies
  • Retailers
  • Packaging companies
  • Investors
  • Landlords

If any one of these business partners fails to keep up their end of the bargain, the best-case scenario is an irritating obstacle in your day-to-day operations. The worst case is the downfall of your business.

No matter how large or complex your contract dispute is, our business lawyers can help you manage it and find the best and ideally fastest solution for your company and its circumstances.

Investor and Partner Lawsuits

Cannabis startups have more access to capital than ever before, and support from a private investor group, angel investor, venture capitalist, or another company may have been a godsend when you founded your business.

But these same investors can turn into a fearsome enemy when they threaten you with legal action. It’s become increasingly common for investors to file frivolous lawsuits in an attempt to secure a huge payout.

Meanwhile, your company is left in a vulnerable position where your funding and financial success is at stake.

Hochfelsen & Kani can assist your business with:

  • Investor agreement disputes
  • Breach of contract claims
  • Ownership conflicts
  • Fraud claims
  • Co-founder disagreements

Most cannabis companies are young and evolving fast - an environment that’s unfortunately ripe for conflict. When you’re faced with an investor lawsuit or other rogue investor issue, make sure you have our skilled business lawyers on your side.

Call Us Today for a No-Cost Confidential Consult

Real Estate

Although cannabusiness is legal in California, many landlords have failed to get the memo.

Unfortunately, it’s relatively common for landlords to try to evict tenants that are operating marijuana businesses legally. Even companies that never face this particular issue may well face some sort of real estate conflict.

Virtually every cannabis business requires real estate - whether that’s purchased or leased farmland and greenhouses, manufacturing plants or a retail dispensary - and with this property arises disputes.

Common real estate matters include:

  • Landlord tenant disputes
  • Eviction proceedings
  • Lease and contract conflicts
  • Purchase and sale agreement litigation
  • Construction and design defect claims
  • Real estate loan disputes
  • Land use and water rights challenges

Hochfelsen & Kani’s business lawyers have 30 years of experience handling real estate matters, with a strong track record to match. We’re frequently able to help clients resolve these disputes with mediation, arbitration, or settlement negotiations.

When these tactics fail, we’re prepared to aggressively represent your business at trial and have an exceptional track record of positive outcomes.

Labor and Employment

Like any other employer, cannabusinesses must follow all CA labor and employment regulations. And like other California employers, cannabis companies have a 50/50 chance of being accused of labor violations.

California is an employee-friendly state, where it’s relatively easy for employees to take their employers to court for supposed violations.

Constantly changing labor rules and regulations are also difficult for marijuana businesses to keep up with, especially when there are so many other regulations to pay attention to. Employees may accuse their employers of:

  • Failing to provide meal and rest breaks
  • Paying less that minimum wage
  • Failing to pay overtime
  • Misclassifying employees
  • Discrimination or harassment
  • Blocking employees from taking medical or parental leave

There are a number of state and federal laws that further relate to labor and employment, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Civil Rights Act, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California state, county and city-level regulations.

If your business has been accused of any of these violations under any of these laws, our experienced labor and employment lawyers can help you find a solution that preserves your business and its reputation.

The cannabis industry is new and evolving quickly, so quickly that its most successful participants have not taken the time to build strong business and legal foundations. Our lawyers are there to help as conflicts develop. We are experienced, aggressive, and knowledgeable about the unique laws and realities of the industry.

Facing a legal dispute in the cannabis industry?

Call a Hochfelsen & Kani cannabis litigation lawyer today

David Kani & Steve Hochfelsen are represented by Elite Lawyer Management, managing agents for America's best attorneys.