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Will Federal Legislation Open Cannabis Acquisition Floodgate?

Are potential buyers quietly lobbying at federal and state levels to kick open the door to launch a new round of strategic acquisitions? Will presently pending federal legislation, the SAFE and MORE Acts, providing safe harbor for banks and re- or de-scheduling marijuana, be sufficient to mobilize into action major non-cannabis companies that previously shunned the cannabis industry due to the unknown implications of owning businesses whose activities are illegal under federal law?

When tobacco giant Altria invested $1.8 billion in Cronos, and beverage behemoth Constellation Brands invested in Canopy, the investments did not require the assumption of a smorgasbord of unknown risks that come with investing in federally illegal enterprises since neither Cronos nor Canopy had any “illegal” US operations. These include key business issues and concerns, such as banking relationships (almost certainly mitigated by the SAFE Act), stock exchange listings and liquor licensing.

It was recently disclosed that Altria, which has been acquiring ancillary cannabis businesses and intellectual property since its Cronos deal, has engaged lobbyists to promote its cannabis interests. It wouldn’t be much of a leap to speculate that they, and other potential strategic tobacco, beverage and pharma company investors, are both carefully analyzing the pending legislation in the US and actively working to firmly place their feet in the open door and widen the porthole, facilitating a new wave of acquisition activity.

Right now, as the financial performance of cannabis businesses is beginning to pop, the shelves of the acquisition market are fully stocked with potential acquisitions candidates of all sizes, shapes and flavors. If the door is opened, competition and pricing could be eye popping. Think “first mover advantage.”

Stay tuned.

For questions, please contact Business and Corporate Law Member and Managing Partner of BMD's Phoenix/Scottsdale location Stephen Lenn at salenn@bmdllc.com, or 480.687.9747.

El Contrato Escrito: La Herramienta Predilecta

No existe mejor herramienta a una disputa contractual que un documento firmado por las partes en el cual se expongan las obligaciones y acuerdos entre éstas.

New State Budget Institutes Licensure Requirement for Ohio’s Hospitals

On July 1, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine signed Ohio’s final budget codified at Ohio Revised Code 3722.01 et seq., which includes a new licensing requirement for Ohio’s hospitals. For years, Ohio was the only state in the country that did not license its hospitals. This approach will now be replaced with new, detailed requirements that will require careful review and compliance. Here are some of the highlights concerning these new changes:

Healthcare Provisions in the Ohio FY 22-23 Budget

Governor Mike DeWine signed Ohio’s Fiscal Year 2022-2023 budget bill (HB 110) into law on July 1, 2021. At almost 1,000 pages and 74.1 billion dollars, the budget lays out the State’s spending for the next two years. Below are a few highlighted provisions from the budget that will be important for the healthcare industry in Ohio

Interim Final Rule for Surprise Billing

In an effort to implement the new bipartisan No Surprises Act, on July 1, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the Departments of Labor and Treasury, issued an interim final rule to safeguard patients against unforeseen medical bills arising from out-of-network care.

President Biden Seeks to Limit Non-Compete Agreements

Today, President Biden announced he would issue an Executive Order that calls on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to adopt rules to curtail worker non-compete agreements. Interestingly, a week ago, the FTC approved changes to its Rules of Practice to modernize and expedite the way it issues Trade Regulation Rules. If you have followed our alerts, we predicted the elimination of non-competes would probably happen. In 2016, then-Vice President Biden was a vocal opponent against non-compete agreements. He led the Obama administration’s initiative seeking to limit or eliminate non-compete agreements. In his presidential campaign, Biden promised to “work with Congress to eliminate all non-compete agreements, except the very few that are absolutely necessary to protect a narrowly defined category of trade secrets . . ..”