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Is the Grass Really Greener? Law & Policy Primer for Cannabis Operators Considering Hemp


The 2018 Farm Bill de-scheduled hemp and many cannabis operators and investors fatigued by over-regulation are exploring hemp as an alternative market for intoxicating products. But an unregulated interstate market may be even more risky than potential operators realize. Hemp law experts provide a deep dive on the current state of hemp law and policy, with practical perspectives for operators and their lawyers.

Jessica Wasserman, JD, Partner, WassermanRowe

Jessica Wasserman is the founder and CEO of WassermanRowe, a DC-based law and government relations firm providing services to Food and Drug Administration-regulated industries, including  food, supplements, medical devices, botanical drugs and drugs.    She has worked in Congress, federal agencies (at both career and political levels) and major law firms.    She has worked on hemp and cannabinoid issues since the 2018 Farm Bill decriminalized and defined hemp.  Having worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she hit the ground running on the hemp harvest issues and then pivoted to the cannabis  FDA issues (Warning Letters for drug label claims compliance; GMPs; Epidiolex drug preclusion issue; GRAS; NDI) as CBD manufacturers and retailers faced these issues.   Currently, Jessica lobbies and advises on compliance on a wide range of cannabis issues, including reauthorization of the 2018 Farm Bill;  the proliferation of state laws focused on “intoxicating” cannabinoid products; compliance for edible products sold in dispensaries;  federal lobbying on the ongoing FDA cannabis scheduling review and more.  Jessica is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.

Neil Willner, Co-Chair Cannabis Practice Group, Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld LLC

Neil M. Willner is the Co-Chair of the Cannabis Group at Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld. Neil counsels hemp and marijuana companies operating on all tiers of the supply chain on the complex patchwork of state and federal regulation. Relying on his deep knowledge of state-specific marijuana and hemp rules, Neil assists clients in strategically navigating the disharmonized industry. Neil also serves as regulatory counsel to the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp’s CBD Task Force and Cannabis Beverage Council where he quarterbacks policy development and the drafting of responsive comments to state and federal agencies. Finally, Neil serves on the Executive Committee for the New York State Bar Association's Cannabis Section, chairing the Regulatory Sub-Committee where he leads the section's comments to state regulation. 

Pamela Nicole Epstein, Chief Legal & Regulatory Officer, Terpene Belt, Inc.

Pamela has made a name for herself as one of the cannabis industry’s most respected, prominent, innovative female leaders and featured industry speaker. She serves as the General Counsel, Chief Regulatory & Licensing Officer for Terpene Belt, Inc.

Epstein has used her extensive background in environmental law with an emphasis on regulatory compliance to help implement Eden’s novel “Compassion Over Destruction” initiative. In Epstein’s previous role with Green Wise she was known as a fearless advocate for cannabis businesses of all sizes across the supply chain.  She successfully guided them through the ever-changing legal and regulatory landscape.  Her passion and sense of duty to the community is unparalleled. Epstein also served as the Special City Attorney for cannabis regulation for the City of Hollister and is currently the Co-Chair of CCIA's Special Events & Social Consumption Committee, where she is working to update cannabis events regulations.

Shawn Hauser, Partner, Vicente LLP

Shawn Hauser is a partner at Vicente LLP, where she co-chairs the firm's Hemp and Cannabinoids Department and serves as a leading member of the firm's Psychedelics and Emerging Therapies practice. She helps cannabis, hemp, and psychedelics businesses navigate the intersections between state and federal law, including cannabis and psychedelics laws and food and drug laws as they evolve. Her practice focuses on regulatory compliance, licensing, general business representation, investment advice, policy reform and strategic guidance to best position businesses for success at the at state, national, and international levels.

With more than a decade of experience in cannabis law and policy, Shawn is a go-to source for businesses, industry groups, governments, and reporters seeking opinions, analysis, and guidance. She has presented on cannabis law and policy to many local, federal, and international agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and UK Parliament.

Since directing Sensible Colorado's local government implementation team following the passage of Amendment 64, Shawn remains active in policy work with local and state governments in Colorado and Texas. She is passionate in supporting the development and implementation of cannabis, hemp, and psychedelics regulations that advance the industries in a dynamic and responsible manner. Active in the community, Shawn currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Cannabis Bar Association and previously served on the steering committee of the American Hemp Campaign—a project of Vote Hemp—which was instrumental in legalizing hemp in Texas in 2019.

Well-regarded in her field, Shawn has received many accolades. She was named one of the top cannabis lawyers in the United States Chambers and Partners and was recognized by her peers in The Best Lawyers in America® for her work in cannabis law. Additionally, Shawn has been listed in 5280 magazine's "Denver's Top Lawyers" list since 2015 and was included in Denver Business Journal's "40 Under 40" in 2021.

After attending law school at the University of Denver, Shawn was an associate attorney at McAllister, Darnell & Gottlieb PC, one of the first marijuana-focused law firms in Colorado.(32) Shawn Hauser | LinkedIn


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