Is it really a good idea to issue a press release about going global with your cannabis practice?
Hoban Law Group, a leading cannabis law firm in Colorado, apparently thinks so. The firm announced it is opening four offices in Europe and two in Latin America to serve cannabis clients.
But with federal laws against marijuana, isn't that a little like winking at a highway patrol officer as you speed by at 90 miles an hour?
Most states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and eight states now approve recreational use. The trend is so strong, many law firms have built cannabis practices.
Formed in 2009, HLG started by representing marijuana dispensaries in Colorado. Since 2013, it has claimed to be "the nation's first full-time, full-service cannabis law firm."
Among other services it offers, HLG says it has seen "enormous growth" in its corporate practice group. The firm provides securities, public offerings, intellectual property and tax services, and is opening up to the global market.
"We have accepted the challenge of being global cannabis industry leaders and experts and will work with strategic partners, such as New Frontier Data, to move the industry forward across six countries," said Managing Partner Robert Hoban.
New Frontier Data is a research and investor relations firm that specializes in information about cannabis. It is also an example of the businesses that have grown up around the marijuana industry.
Doctors, lawyers, accountants, financiers, lobbyists, and other professionals have staked out the territory. For firms like HLG, it is still an open frontier.
Even so, it is also a risky business. Federal prosecutors still crack down on marijuana traffickers, and federally insured banks are reluctant to work with cannabis businesses because of federal laws.