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Publication Title | Franchising a Marijuana Business: It’s Not Quite Mission Impossible

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Franchising a Marijuana Business: It’s Not Quite Mission Impossible

Shannon L. McCarthy and Dawn Newton

Authors’ Note: When we decided to write this article for the Franchise Law Journal, we discovered early on that there are so many topics we could discuss that we had to make some difficult choices to limit our scope. We truncated our discussion on the history of marijuana as well as the discussion on what uses have been legal- ized. For purposes of this article, we focus primarily on the laws in states that have legalized all uses, includ- ing smoking, of the cannabis plant by the public. Some states have legalized the use of cannabis in medical re- search only; use of only hemp extracts or oils; use of only cannabidiol (CBD), which is derived from cannabis but does not produce the high that comes from tetrahy- drocannabinol (THC); and medical use only for epilepsy and other purposes. We limit our intellectual property discussion to trademarks because of its definitional con- nection to franchising, but an entire article could be written on the full panoply of the intellectual property rights related to cannabis. So, dear reader, if you find yourself questioning issues within the void, please con- sider how you might add to the conversation by writing on the topic or issue missed.

Ms. McCarthy

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize cannabis1 for medical purposes and since then there has been a steady march toward legalization across the country.2 Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia

1. Some people in the industry view the use of terms other than cannabis, including “mari- juana,” to be pejorative. For the purposes of this article, the authors use the terms cannabis and marijuana interchangeably, but primarily use marijuana when that is the term used by a par- ticular statute, memorandum, or article.

2. California Ballot Proposition 215 approved Nov. 5, 1996, Alaska Ballot Measure 8 (1998), Oregon Ballot Measure 67 (1998), Washington Initiative 692 (1998), Maine Ballot Question 2

Shannon L. McCarthy (shannon.mccarthy@millernash.com) is a partner with Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP in Seattle. Dawn Newton (dnewton@donahue.com) is a partner with Donahue Fitzgerald LLP in Oakland, California.

Ms. Newton

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