Business Law - Finance 101: Trainspotting the Issues in Cannabis Business Finance and Acquisitions
The cannabis industry can be a minefield for investors and lenders. As this multi-billion-dollar market expands at an exponential rate, more and more investors want in on that action. Knowing the ins and outs of how, when and where clients can invest, and the regulatory restrictions and hurdles that can delay investment and participation, or even prevent executing on assets or security when investments go awry, is essential to effectively representing clients in this area. This panel of experienced practitioners will provide insight and guidance in spotting and trouble shooting the issues at the early stages of the evaluation and negotiation of cannabis business transactions.
A skilled transactional, corporate and administrative law attorney, her practice encompasses complex commercial transactions, corporate governance, and regulatory compliance matters. With more than 20 years of experience representing clients in highly regulated industries such as cannabis and hemp, gaming, liquor and transportation services, Alicia advises businesses through all phases of operation – from startups, through financing, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, land use and licensing.
Since 2013, Alicia has focused her practice on counseling marijuana and hemp businesses through the regulatory process and emerging legal issues. This includes all phases of the application and operation process.
Alicia has significant experience handling a variety of complex commercial transactions, including entity selection and formation, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and real estate. Additionally, she has represented both borrowers and lenders in large commercial real estate transactions.
She also has represented clients before regulatory bodies and government agencies in administrative matters, including the Nevada Athletic Commission, Nevada Transportation Authority, Nevada Gaming Commission, Nevada Gaming Control Board, and Clark County and the City of Las Vegas, Nevada.
A frequent speaker and lecturer, Alicia commonly covers topics affecting businesses in the marijuana industry and for other professionals representing such businesses. She also conducts compliance training for establishment agents working in such businesses, and discusses ethical rules and considerations for professionals working with industry operators.
Marc Hauser is a member of Reed Smith’s Global Corporate Group, vice chair of the firm’s cannabis law team and one of the country’s leading cannabis attorneys. His two decades of experience advising clients and colleagues on billions of dollars of business transactions, both working in-house and at law firms, allow him to provide a macro, business-focused perspective to this fast-growing industry. Marc works closely with clients to balance risks and maximize optionality in a complex regulatory environment. His deep and broad base of connections throughout the cannabis (non-hemp and hemp) industry gives him access to an extensive knowledge base and skill set, benefitting clients and relationships. Marc dedicates his entire practice to the cannabis industry. His current clients include public and private single- and multi-state operators, market-leading ancillary businesses, real estate investment trusts, investment banks and other financial services providers, private equity funds and other investors, testing labs, cultivators, processors, and entrepreneurs. Marc also works closely across practice groups throughout the firm to provide counsel on the unique aspects of doing business with the cannabis industry. In addition, he provides perspectives on the cannabis industry through speaking engagements, being frequently quoted in trade and business publications, and his periodic newsletter, Cannabis Musings, which has delivered his unique take on industry activities since 2018. After starting out practicing corporate law, securities law, and capital markets finance, Marc joined Equity Group Investments (EGI), a private investment company founded by Sam Zell. As associate general counsel at EGI for over 15 years, Marc advised on billions of dollars of complex investment and acquisition transactions across industries and asset classes. Marc’s transactional experience covers a broad range of industries and asset classes, including private equity and venture financings, acquisitions and dispositions, governance, restructurings and workouts, debt financings, real estate transactions (including acquisitions, financings, and leasing), and complex tax structuring. Marc received both his B.A. and J.D. from Northwestern University.
Margaret Isa Butler has nearly 20 years of experience, primarily focused on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and alternative investments. She regularly represents private equity fund managers, institutional investors, independent sponsors and family offices across the investment strategy spectrum. Margaret has experience handling multimillion-dollar deals, as well as those ranging into the billions of dollars, and her experience also extends to private placements, real estate development projects and limited partner investments, debt and equity co-investments and direct investments. She has also advised clients on conflicts and other governance issues for funds, corporations and other entities. Further, her substantial deal advisory and implementation experience allows her to execute sophisticated private equity and hedge fund transactions, design custom structures for investments, and engage in all aspects of mergers and acquisitions, including public company takeover defense and shareholder activism. Margaret’s extensive experience is rooted in her background as an investment banker for a multinational financial services company, as well as in her education, having earned an M.B.A., which enables her to take a multifaceted approach to each transaction.
Donna provides compliance, regulatory, corporate and transaction services to clients in Illinois and throughout the United States in highly regulated industries such as gaming, medical cannabis, liquor and promotional contests for companies. Drawing on her experience as general counsel to the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) and her tenure as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney, Donna advises clients on all licensing and regulatory issues in hearings before administrative agencies. She also represents clients in commercial and regulatory disputes involving competitors. Donna regularly represents casinos, video gaming terminal operators, manufacturers and distributors, game developers and other companies involved in the gaming industry in Illinois and nationwide. As the first general counsel to the IGB, she was involved in the process of legalizing gaming in Illinois and helped write the regulations governing the state’s gaming industry that remain in place today. This first-hand knowledge enables Donna to provide extensive insight and counsel to companies in the gaming industry in Illinois regarding licensing, compliance, investigations and commercial disputes. Additionally, she advocates for clients before agency boards and commissions, litigates compliance issues in administrative and disciplinary hearings, and negotiates settlements.