What it Takes to be a Cannabis Lawyer.

Liz Filmer
15 Aug 2023

Law professionals are always faced with a demanding work environment, and the cannabis industry presents many distinctive characteristics and challenges that require a strong aptitude.

The rapidly expanding and maturing regulated cannabis industry keeps everyone guessing what is coming next, from growers to retailers. However, the constant change in the industry is felt possibly most by cannabis lawyers. Nearly everything about practising law in the cannabis industry is frustrating — depending on the day or the context and as such cannabis lawyers need to have a specific set of skills.

Regulations: All cannabis lawyers need to know the complicated laws surrounding cannabis front to back.

Authenticity: Cannabis has a deep colourful, and sensitive history, and so it is essential that lawyers fully appreciate and understand the cultural, social, scientific, and commercial context of the plant both in the past and the present.  

Risk: In a new industry with so many regulations, you spend a lot of time in the grey area of the law because there is not much precedent in cannabis law. This means having the ability and confidence to make risk assessments and judgment calls. 

Creativity: Adapting quickly and thinking outside the box in a complicated regulatory environment is crucial in supporting a cannabis business's needs. Lawyers must walk a fine line between meeting their client's needs and enabling their companies to succeed while protecting them from unnecessary risk.

Versatility: Cannabis lawyers do not typically focus on one single practice area. They are developing a solid knowledge of all aspects of a cannabis business, from seed to sale.

Ethics: a solid ethical position is valuable. Balancing the needs of a business,m its strategic direction, and the law can be an ongoing challenge.

Legal cannabis symbolises the climax of decades of activism, a significant shift in perception and society, and a change in political opinions that is far from over. New things don't get legalised every day. When they do, it presents a considerable prospect of leaving a tangible impact that could last for the foreseeable future. 

With continued evolution in established markets and new markets legalising, the cannabis industry needs good lawyers. Working in a newly legalised, highly regulated industry has its fair share of problems. However, if this is an environment in which you thrive, then being a cannabis lawyer will never be boring. It will continue to present you with unique situations you are unlikely to find in any other industry. 

Practising law in the cannabis industry is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to help mould the legal foundations of a freshly regulated industry whilst assisting the commercial sector for both businesses and consumers.

More on this topic from Soft Secrets:

Just Shut the F*ck Up!

Drugs and Minors, the Law

UK Canna Industry Worth £1bn by 2026


Liz Filmer