Driven by the 2016 Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), the anticipated legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada by 2018 and the consequent accelerated awareness and demand for cannabis in Canada and globally, the cannabis market has developed into a fast-evolving and expanding sector that is predicted to exceed C$23-billion once the drug is legalized.

Blakes has vast experience supporting clients entering new and developing areas. Combined with our expertise in the agribusiness and life sciences sectors, we are well-positioned to advise producers, retailers, financiers, technology providers and others servicing both medical and recreational opportunities in the cannabis market, as well as clients in other sectors whose businesses are impacted by the legalization of cannabis. The cannabis sector is in its infancy but evolving rapidly, and we are at the forefront of developments. We monitor changes in the law and maintain close ties with regulators, enabling us to anticipate the impact these changes will have on our clients’ businesses, and provide proactive, practical and strategic advice.

Our multidisciplinary Cannabis group is composed of lawyers who are able to provide advice on financing, public offerings, M&A, regulatory, advertising, labelling and marketing, licensing and regulation, antitrust, legislative process, lobbying compliance, real estate issues, environmental concerns, channel distribution, tax, international trade, anti-money laundering, outsourcing, class actions, employment law and workplace issues, as well as information technology, and intellectual property matters related plant breeders' rights, to patents, trade-marks, copyright, industrial designs and trade secrets. 

Representative Matters

Corporate Commercial/M&A

  • Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. in connection with the initial public offering of North America’s first marijuana exchange-traded fund, Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF.
  • Saratoga Electronic Solutions Inc. in connection with a reverse take-over transaction by Abba Medix Corp. where the company was transformed into a medical cannabis company and migrated from the TSX Venture Capital Exchange to the Canadian Securities Exchange.
  • A group investing in Hydropothecary Corporation, a licensed producer of medical marijuana.
Financial Services
  •  A major Canadian bank on the financing of a licensed producer of medical marijuana, including regulatory landscape, industry risks and financing considerations specific to the cannabis industry.
  • Risk mitigation and other anti-money laundering controls with respect to providing banking services to a licensed producer of medical marijuana.

Marketing & Regulatory

  • Various licensed producers of medical marijuana on regulatory matters (including security requirements, pesticides, use of online portals for medical documents, patient registration issues), marketing (including the sale of ancillary products as well as cannabis) and advertising (including use of social media).
  • Various initiatives and programs with patients or physicians, health-care compliance (including interactions with physicians and clinics), clinical trials, privacy, anti-spam, antitrust, as well as consumer complaint, recall and product liability matters.
  •  Various ancillary businesses on the sale of products in the cannabis industry, including regulatory and marketing and advertising issues.


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