Sacks Tierney P.A.

Member of Meritas: 173 full-service law firms serving more than 200 markets worldwide

Scottsdale-Phoenix | 480.425.2600

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Judy Dworkin, Marijuana Business Lawyer

Judith Dworkin

Phil Rudd, Marijuana Business Lawyer

Phil Rudd

  Matthew F. Winter, Marijuana Business Lawyer

Matt Winter



Cannabis Business Attorneys

Sacks Tierney attorneys help investors and business owners that wish to enter, or are already engaged in, businesses relating to the legal cultivation, processing, distribution and sale of cannabis and marijuana in Arizona.

For informed investors and entrepreneurs, Arizona’s nascent legal cannabis industry offers unprecedented opportunities and poses unique challenges. At the same time, it involves many of the legal, operational and financial considerations common to any business enterprise.

Sacks Tierney’s position as a leading law firm for owners and investors in the marijuana industry is bolstered by its attorneys’ skill, experience and innovation in capital formation, equity structuring, regulatory compliance, contract law, and complex business and real estate transactions.

  • Sacks Tierney attorneys advise clients in the cannabis industry only with respect to compliance with Arizona law, in accordance with Arizona Ethics Opinion 11-01.

Cannabis Industry Overview

Since 2018, leadership at numerous Arizona dispensaries and cultivation facilities has changed hands, reflecting an industry in transition and promises of bigger rewards in the event the voters approve a recreational/adult marijuana initiative. The pace of these changes is likely to continue during 2019. Many of the acquiring companies are cannabis conglomerates from other states, requiring Arizona counsel as they seek to add to their portfolio of operations. Arizona’s regulatory environment facilitates the change of control of dispensaries.

Acquisitions of dispensary and cultivation operations, newly licensed farm fields, strategic partnerships between dispensaries, farmers and exclusive vendors and the reassessment of management services are common needs in the industry. Cleanup and refinement of poorly or quickly drafted entity documents, services agreements and licensing protections are critical to maintaining licensing, creating a competitive advantage and retaining bargaining power with vendors.

Positioning a cannabis company’s next phase in the growth cycle is key in this highly competitive industry, whether by acquisitive or organic growth, strategic alliances, internal, equity or debt restructuring, merger or initial public offering.

Business Business and Investment Opportunities

Our recent experience and information that we have gained in transactions related to Arizona’s medical marijuana industry affirm the growing opportunities for investors and business owners:

  • high net worth and angel investors that have a tolerance for uncertainty and wish to stake out a beachhead before more institutionalized investors enter the market;

  • owners of Arizona business businesses that will need substantial capital to remain competitive, or wish to cash out now;

  • owners and investors that are interested in multi-state opportunities and believe that a successful track record in one state will provide at least some competitive advantages in licensing and national branding;

  • ancillary businesses that do or will serve the legal marijuana industry; and

  • banks and other financial institutions seeking to generate large deposits and non-price-sensitive fee-based income from an emerging market.

Business Industry Experience

Sacks Tierney marijuana business clients include high net worth, joint venture and corporate investors; dispensary applicants, owners and operators; interveners in receiverships; industry vendors; and litigants. Our attorneys have:

  • prepared dispensary applications and governmental filings;

  • structured private placements and acquisition transactions;

  • advised investors and operators on employment, operational, legal and compliance, and real estate challenges unique to this industry; and

  • drafted various business contracts with special attention to business cultivation, processing and distribution arrangements.

Related Articles

Cannabis Guide for the USA & Canada,American Indian & Alaska Native Tribes” and “Arizona, USA,” Meritas, January 2021

Proposition 207 Passes in Arizona: Adult Use of Marijuana Is Now Legal,” Sacks Tierney Client Newsletter, November 2020

Commercial Leasing to an Arizona Cannabis Business,” Sacks Tierney Client Newsletter, January 2020

Marijuana Legalization Trends Provide New Business Opportunities for Banks, June 2019

Federal Court Rules that Walmart Firing Violated the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, May 2019

Tribes and Cannabis: The Enforcement of Marijuana Laws in Indian Country, July 2015

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Update, April 2012

Medical Marijuana in Arizona: The Dispensary Application Process, September 2011

Medical Marijuana Act Raises Thorny Challenges for Commercial Landlords, June 2011

The Needs of Marijuana Businesses

Whether marijuana becomes fully legal in Arizona or remains limited to medical use, our attorneys’ experience and ability to anticipate the emerging needs of Arizona’s legal marijuana industry encompasses a broad spectrum of investment, financial, regulatory and business ownership issues.


  • License and certificate applications

  • Entity structuring

  • D&O, member/shareholder issues

  • Not-for-profit requirements


Multi-Entity Management and Service Agreements

  • Cultivation

  • Processing

  • Distribution

  • Sale

Real Estate