USA- Policy Paper: Legal Strategy During Legal Uncertainty: The Case of Cannabis Regulation

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Keywords: business, cannabis, CBD, controlled substance, drug policy, entrepreneurship, federalism, hemp, legalization, legislation, marihuana, marijuana, medical marijuana, policy, preemption, prohibition, regulation, strategy, trademark, intellectual property, law and strategy Suggested Citation: Schuster, W. Michael and Bird, Robert C., Legal Strategy During Legal Uncertainty: The Case of Cannabis Regulation (February 3, 2021). Accompanying this rapid decriminalization is crippling legal uncertainty, as vague statutory language, sporadic backsliding, presidential indecision, and inconsistent enforcement have introduced substantial and unnecessary legal and compliance risks. We uncover five distinct legal strategies used by cannabis firms, with each strategy responding to a different combination of legal uncertainties. The manuscript then highlights how legal uncertainty drives legal strategy in a discrete legal environment – the federal government’s refusal to register marks for goods that are illegal under federal law—including most cannabis goods. Both pathways of legal strategy impose unnecessary volatility on cannabis firms.

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Stanford Journal of Law, Business, and Finance, Vol. 26 (2021, forthcoming)

45 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021

W. Michael Schuster

University of Georgia – C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business

Robert C. Bird

University of Connecticut – School of Business

Date Written: February...

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