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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Janet Jackim, Marijuana Business Lawyer

Janet Jackim

Judy Dworkin, Marijuana Business Lawyer

Judith Dworkin

Gaye Gould, Marijuana Business Lawyer

Gaye L. Gould

Phil Rudd, Marijuana Business Lawyer

Phil Rudd

Matthew F. Winter, Marijuana Business Lawyer

Matt Winter

Joe Keene, Marijuana Business Lawyer

Joe Keene


Global Cannabis Industry: The Essential Primer

Global Cannabis Industry:
The Essential Primer

Sacks Tierney's Janet Jackim comments on  business trends in Arizona's cannabis industry in this October 2019 Meritas publication.



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.

"Much of the country looks to Arizona as a leader in the medical marijuana industry. People want to live here or they want to invest here. Businesses from other states that already have legalized business are looking to buy or merge companies in Arizona if the legalization effort succeeds."

Janet Jackim, quoted in the Phoenix Business Journal, January 24, 2020


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

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

Acquiring an Arizona Medical Marijuana Dispensary License Now May Be the Ticket to Obtaining an Adult-Use Dispensary License in 2020,” December 2019

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

Arizona Supreme Court: Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) Protects Possession of Marijuana Extracts, May 2019

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

Decriminalization of Hemp Raises New Opportunities in Agriculture, Medicine, Fibers/Textiles and Biofuels, January 2019

Cannabis Developments Keep Coming, October 2018

Trump Agreement with Colorado Senator a Positive Sign for the Cannabis Industry, April 2018

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