Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell helps clients navigate the complexities of high-stakes litigation involving the cannabis industry. We represent a wide range of sophisticated and emerging companies in litigation, trials, and appeals arising from or related to marijuana and other cannabis products.
Because Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use, Denver-based WTO has been at ground zero for the complex lawsuits that have followed. We understand the intricacies of this ever-evolving industry and the challenges clients face when state guidelines conflict with federal regulations—or when existing laws outright contradict each other. This knowledge allows us to effectively and creatively represent cannabis clients at all stages of litigation.
Our cannabis industry experience includes: False Labeling/Marketing Claims | Class Actions | Banking | Commercial Real Estate | Breach of Contract | Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition | Compliance | RICO | Insurance | Franchise
- Won a groundbreaking appeal successfully arguing a motion to vacate a $150 million arbitration award on behalf of the majority owner of Colorado cannabis corporation.
- Won a $14.3 million arbitration award, plus attorneys' fees and costs, for a multistate cannabis operator in a Florida franchise dispute involving lost royalties and right-of-first-refusal issues.
- Assisted a medical marijuana alternative treatment center to defend against orders to show cause related to its agricultural operations.
- Favorably resolved multimillion-dollar commercial litigation involving breach of contract issues for a CBD manufacturer.
- Represented a national market leader in cannabidiol-based wellness products in an emergency petition to the Colorado Supreme Court to reduce the scope of damages available at an impending breach-of-contract trial.
- Successfully represented the board member of a cannabis company in an arbitration involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty.
- Obtained dismissal for an insurance company client facing a civil RICO lawsuit in federal court, with risk of treble damages, for issuing a surety bond to a marijuana business as required by state regulations. The judge granted our client's motion to dismiss because the plaintiffs failed to plausibly allege injury sufficient to establish RICO standing.
- Successfully defended Colorado's marijuana regulatory framework before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Tenth Circuit, defeating federal preemption claims that would have prevented states from tightly regulating the supply side of the multibillion-dollar marijuana market. Persuaded the U.S. Department of Justice to support the client's position before the Supreme Court.
- Won reversal of a TRO that had been issued ex parte at the close of business on a Friday, effectively shutting down operations for a major manufacturing and distribution client, and subsequently won rejection of the injunction against WTO's client.
- Won a motion to dismiss one of the nation's largest marijuana manufacturers facing labeling claims in the first class action brought against a marijuana grower in Colorado.