chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
September 09, 2019

ABA to host cannabis law conference Sept. 19-20 in Chicago

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2019 — Join a wide array of industry leaders including CEOs, general counsel, legislators and practicing lawyers as they discuss and examine the rapidly emerging field of cannabis law during the American Bar Association cannabis law conference, “From Regs to Riches: Navigating the Rapidly Emerging Fields of Cannabis and Hemp Law,” hosted by the Tort Trial and Insurance Law Practice Section (TIPS) on Sept. 19-20 in Chicago.

Around the globe, cannabis is poised to become a multibillion dollar-a-year business over the next 10 years. Spending on legal cannabis worldwide is expected to hit $57 billion by 2027. The adult-use (recreational) market will cover 67% of the spending; medical marijuana will take up the remaining 33%. Already, recreational marijuana is legal in 11 states and the District of Columbia and medical marijuana is legal in 34 states and D.C. The number of Americans (46%) who support legalization continues to climb.

Cannabis Law Conference:
“From Regs to Riches:
Navigating the Rapidly Emerging Fields of Cannabis and Hemp
Law” Sponsored by the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section

Thursday-Friday, Sept. 19-20    

Intercontinental Chicago Magnificent Mile                     
505 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

Program highlights include:


“In Legal Limbo: Federal Cannabis Laws at The Crossroads” (8:10-9 a.m.) — State action on cannabis reform has far outpaced the federal government’s ability to keep up. What’s “legal” in 34 states is still technically illegal nationwide by federal law. This panel of former congressional staffers to high-powered appellate litigators and regulatory experts will provide an overview of current legislative and regulatory debates happening in Washington and help map out what the federal government may do with “legal” cannabis in the next 12-24 months.

“More Regs Than Riches: How to Navigate Your Client Through Major Issues Confronting the New and Expanding Cannabis Businesses” (9-10 a.m.) — This panel will examine the issues unique to starting up a cannabis business in a new industry that is covered in layers of regulation that vary state-to-state and it is illegal federally. The panel will address lack of banking, inability to deduct ordinary business expenses under IRC 280 and licensing. In addition, the panel will discuss the practical issues of siting a cannabis business, zoning, building regulations, residency restrictions, competition in medical states and fundraising for the client.

“The View from Inside: Executive Roundtable” (4:15-5:30 p.m.) — A discussion with some of the industry’s most renowned legal experts and executives and their perspectives on the many issues and potential pitfalls they face when running a cannabis business. This panel will address expansion strategies, impacts of legalization and insights on how to stay compliant.


“The Global Commoditization of Marijuana and Hemp: Where in the World Is Cannabis Headed?” (8:30-9:30 a.m.) — This international panel of legal and industry experts, including representatives from Mexico and Australia, will discuss the growing worldwide commodity known as cannabis. New countries are legalizing marijuana and hemp for import and export every month and the global supply chain becomes increasingly complex. These experts will discuss a wide range of topics that every cannabis attorney should be fluent in to advise their clients on how they can stay viable and compete in the globalization of this industry.

“The Legal & Business Case for Diversity in the Industry: The Prospects for Women, Minorities, Veterans and Social Justice in Cannabis” (9:30-11 a.m.) — The legalization of cannabis throughout the United States has created an interesting look into the intersection of race, gender, socioeconomic status and class. This panel will examine the legal policy created with the war on drugs and the impact on persons of color. The panel will further discuss the barriers to entry, which have been created by various state governing bodies, into the cannabis market for women, persons of color and those who have been impacted by the war on drugs policies. Panelists will also discuss topics such as criminal justice reform and the development of legislation geared toward social equity and social justice reform.

“Are Employment Rules Getting Hazier With Legal Marijuana?” (12:15-1 p.m.) — This panel will discuss the challenges employers face given the dichotomy between state and federal laws governing medical or recreational use of marijuana. Panelists will also address how employers can balance these divergent laws while maintaining a safe work environment and protecting employees’ rights.

Click here for the complete conference agenda.

This event is open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Robert Robinson at [email protected].

The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.