NYSBA Forms New Cannabis Law Section

By Brandon Vogel

January 22, 2022

NYSBA Forms New Cannabis Law Section


By Brandon Vogel

The New York State Bar Association has created a new Cannabis Law Section for lawyers looking for guidance in this emerging market and practice area.

The decision to convert the Committee on Cannabis Law to a section was approved at the Jan. 22 virtual meeting of  the House of Delegates – the association’s governing body. The change will enable more members to participate in the section’s work and also allocate additional resources to expand its initiatives. Members can join sections in their fields of practice or interest while committee membership is limited.

Established in 2017, the committee served as the NYSBA panel of experts regarding the emerging body of law related to cannabis, both on the state and federal level. The committee drafted legal comments, proposed legislation, pushed for the adoption of policies and created CLEs.

“Converting the committee into a section will expand the resources of the committee to better respond to the rapidly emerging area of law, and thereby increasing the influence of the section and the value of membership in the association,” wrote Section Chair Lynelle K. Bosworth of Albany (Greenberg Traurig).

Cannabis law is wide-ranging and affects business law, criminal law, environmental and employment law, among others. Cannabis legalization will also impact other practice areas such as state and local government law; food, drug and cosmetic law; intellectual property; and trusts and estates.

The recent enactment of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act legalized adult-use cannabis, expanded the state’s medical cannabis and cannabinoid hemp programs and implemented a number of criminal law reforms.

The MRTA also created the Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management, a new regulatory agency charged with implementing the provisions of the law, promulgating regulations, issuing licenses for operation, and pursuing enforcement actions. Lawyers throughout the state are advising their clients on how to navigate this new and evolving frontier.

In addition, cannabis is not legal in all 50 states nor on the federal level, creating a complex patchwork of laws and presenting a broad spectrum of challenges for attorneys and their clients. In the last several years, the committee has sought to give attorneys the information that they need to navigate this area of law by sharing updates, resources, and best practices to set the highest possible legal and business standards for licensed entities and their cannabis products.

NYSBA recently launched a new Cannabis Institute, an ongoing series of programs on the MRTA, which has been widely hailed as one of the most progressive cannabis laws in the nation. The institute will educate attorneys, policy makers, and members of the public on the implications and impact of the new law, touching on topics such as equity, labor law, social justice and more. Recent programs included “Expungement of Cannabis Convictions” and “Cannabis Conviction on Your Record? What You Need to Know Now about Expungement.”

Members can now join the section here.

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