In November 2023, Ohio voters ratified Issue 2, which legalized recreational marijuana in the Buckeye State. Issue 2 took effect a month later, on December 7, 2023, but not without a move to make some changes by the Ohio state legislature. While the Ohio Senate passed proposed changes to Issue 2, the House has yet to pass those changes. Meanwhile, the Ohio Division of Cannabis Control has released its proposed rules regarding recreational marijuana in Ohio.

Since August of 2013, this country’s nascent marijuana industry has been propped up by “The Cole Memo,” a 4-page guidance document from then-Deputy AG James Cole outlining the factors to be considered by the Department of Justice in enforcing the federal ban on marijuana distribution and sale in view of the handful of states which – at that time – had begun to legalize it in one form or another. That memo was followed in February of 2014 by a Treasury Department memo wherein the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) mirrored the Cole Memo guidelines for banks. Fast forward to 2018, and 35 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized or decriminalized marijuana possession and use for either medical purposes, recreational purposes, or both.

In a non-precedential decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) recently reversed a refusal to register Heritage Distilling Company’s application for the mark, BSB, for “distilled spirits” based on the following mark owned by Black Shirt Brewing Co. for “brewpub services; taproom services; taproom services featuring beer brewed on the premises”:

In response to a rise in craft beer trademark disputes, research scientist Janelle Shane recently set loose a "neural network" – a type of computer program that can "learn" from data sets that are given to it – to create new craft beer names. The thought was that the computer program could learn from thousands of existing beer names, and come up with a long list of new ones built on detected patterns. Last month, Shane published a list of dozens of names, saying: "It worked . . . I give you: craft beer names, invented by neural network."

New rules regulating the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program became effective on September 8th.  These recently finalized rules can be found in Ohio Administrative Code (“OAC”) Sections 3796:3, 4, 6, 7, 8 ( 

In the previous part of this two-part series, we discussed five special considerations that should be contemplated by emerging medical marijuana companies and their investors. In this post, we will cover the remaining five risk factors that should be disclosed in the company’s private offering materials, which consist of the following:

In this first post of a two-part series, we will examine five of the ten important risk factors that should be considered by medical marijuana companies and their investors.

The old real estate adage “location, location, location” takes on new meaning in the context of the medical marijuana industry. 

In the recently enacted Medical Marijuana Control Program, the Ohio legislature provided municipalities with the authority to limit or prohibit, effectively “zone-out”, local medical marijuana operations.

On Tuesday August 1st, Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act – legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. The bill would remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, and therefore eliminate the need to rely on the “Cole Memo” to resolve the tension between states that have legalized marijuana – either in medicinal or recreational forms – and the federal government, which still treats possession and distribution of marijuana in any form as a felony.

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy just released its draft dispensary districts. As you’ve probably heard, medical cannabis is roughly a year away from becoming reality in Ohio, and this step provides some initial insight into where a patient might be able to obtain medical cannabis with a physician’s prescription.


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