David Feldman Archives - Green Market Report

StaffAugust 19, 2022


We Americans pride ourselves on paving the way in new trends, business opportunities, and emerging industries. In cannabis, we were kind of first. California legalized medical marijuana, requiring a doctor’s prescription, back in 1996. Over the subsequent 12 years, another dozen states approved medical use. Now 39 states, plus some territories, have legalized medical cannabis, and 19 states, plus DC, have approved recreational or “adult use.” But all uses of cannabis (other than hemp) remain a crime under US federal law.

Alternatively, over 50 countries globally have federally legalized medical marijuana. It did take the world a little longer than California. Canada was first in 2001, Austria in 2008, and the more rapid adoption of others began around 2013. In addition, eight countries have approved adult use. 

Advocates for federal legalization in the US have attempted three separate paths. One group seeks nothing less than full federal legalization of medical and adult use. Another seeks a piecemeal approach to first permit research, then safer banking, then use by veterans, then move on from there. The third has attempted, unsuccessfully, to convince the courts to declare cannabis illegality unconstitutional.



Why then has there been no real effort to federally legalize US medical cannabis like dozens of other countries? Polls are consistently overwhelming: 92% of Americans favor legalizing medical marijuana. Former Pres. Trump, in an interview during his 2016 campaign, said he is “100%” in favor of legalizing medical use, though Pres. Biden, who favors decriminalization, has not opined on legalizing medical cannabis. And three-quarters of the states, including some Republican-dominated ones, have approved medical weed. One assumes, therefore, that there would be strong bipartisan support for legalizing medical marijuana.

The benefits would seem obvious, with limited downside risk. First, companies growing and selling medical cannabis would enjoy interstate and global commerce. A patient in Ohio finally would be able to buy California weed. An import-export market could develop and likely would explode rather quickly. We could eliminate the 39 cannabis mini-economies with vastly different pricing, quality, regulation and competition. 

Other benefits of legalizing medical cannabis include the likelihood that the national stock exchanges would list the stock of these companies, encouraging institutional investors to support these enterprises and stock clearing firms to permit the trades. Companies currently active in both medical and adult use markets could separately spin off their medical operations to Nasdaq or the NYSE.

In addition, the US Patent and Trademark Office presumably would at last allow medical marijuana brands to receive a federal trademark. Banks would no longer be concerned about opening accounts or providing loans to these companies. Operators could end the security and other concerns around running their business in cash. We would also end the “cannabis tax” that borrowers have been paying private lenders in the absence of traditional bank loans. 

Merger and acquisition activity also could pick up as big alcohol, big tobacco and especially big pharma might move into the space if their target is federally legal. Legalization also allows the federal government to charge taxes on the product, helping reduce the federal deficit, and for the government to regulate important areas of the business including product testing and advertising. 

Perhaps most importantly: medical marijuana companies would no longer face tax discrimination in the form of Internal Revenue Code Section 280E. This tax law prohibits cannabis companies from deducting their ordinary business expenses. As a result, the profitability of these companies has been dramatically reduced, causing some to close their doors simply because of their inability to pay taxes. 

The main concern previously expressed by industry insiders about federally legalizing medical use is that there is too much risk in a step approach to fully legalizing weed. The argument is that legalizing medical marijuana would stall the momentum towards fully legal adult use in the US. Proponents also would need to convince lawmakers that legalizing medical cannabis would not result in a de facto adult-use legalization as was somewhat the case early on in California.

Another expressed concern over legalization is the potential violation of various global treaties, especially the 1961 UN Single Convention treaty. In 2020 the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs adopted a recommendation from the World Health Organization to reschedule cannabis under the Single Convention from Schedule IV to Schedule I (unlike the US scheduling, this made it less subject to control), but this does still not permit adult use. Experts, however, generally agree that allowing cannabis for therapeutic or medical use does not violate the treaty. Legalizing adult use could violate the treaty, however, and a workaround or treaty change will likely be necessary for the US. In March 2022 several US Congresspeople submitted a proposed resolution to the UN to fully deschedule cannabis, but no action has been taken.

My take? If the industry can show the naysayers that federal legalization of medical cannabis will not lead to the destruction of society as we know it, and may actually help reduce opioid and other addictive drug use, reduce teen drug use, reduce alcohol addiction and reduce the influence of foreign cartels, subsequent legalization of adult use becomes more likely, not less. Shall we try it?

David N. Feldman, a prominent strategic advisor and attorney in the cannabis industry, is CEO and Co-Founder of Skip Intro Advisors, Inc. and Managing Partner of Feldman Legal Advisors, PLLC.

©Copyright David N. Feldman 2022. All rights reserved.

StaffOctober 4, 2021


Top cannabis attorney David Feldman has formed a new law firm, Feldman Legal Advisors, PLLC. Feldman, who has focused on cannabis and psychedelics since 2013 and recently helped build and lead the 60+ attorney cannabis industry group at an AmLaw100 firm, will focus the new firm’s efforts on business and transactional matters in the industry. The CEO and Co-Founder of Skip Intro Advisors, LLC, a cannabis and psychedelics-focused consulting firm, Feldman said he believes the combination of legal and advisory services will offer a “one stop shop” for entrepreneurs, investment banks and investors in the space.

“I’ve had a very blessed career. I am always happiest on the cutting edge, whether in helping bring IPO alternatives into legitimacy and transparency, or over the last decade bringing cannabis and psychedelics into the mainstream. I’m so lucky to have gathered a wonderful group of talented friends who now will be colleagues at Feldman Legal Advisors,” said Feldman.

In addition to Feldman, the initial legal team will include Gretchen Temeles, Ph.D., an intellectual property attorney and scientist who will focus on patent and licensing issues in the cannabis and psychedelics space, and associate Melissa Greenberg, an experienced attorney focused on cannabis and wellness (she is also a certified yoga instructor), who joins from cannabis-focused law firm Hiller PC. Temeles and Greenberg will also offer non-legal advisory services at Skip Intro. Feldman said he plans to add additional specialties relevant to their cannabis and psychedelic clients to offer a comprehensive suite of services.

Skip Intro

In 2019, Feldman launched Skip Intro Advisors, LLC to assist growing businesses in the cannabis and psychedelics space as they reach key inflection points. Skip Intro has a strong team of successful and experienced professionals both from within and outside the cannabis industry focused on strategy, finance and M&A, branding and marketing, technology and real estate. The firm, whose slogan is “Fast Forward to Growth,” also offers assistance with cannabis licensing applications. In a recent win, in May 2021 the firm negotiated the sale of Keystone Canna Remedies, a 3-dispensary group in Pennsylvania, to multistate operator TerrAscend Corp. (OTC: TRSSF) at a $70 million enterprise value. The firm is currently active in engagements relating to equipment and media businesses in the cannabis space, as well as assignments for psychedelics companies planning a go-public strategy.

”We offer personalized service at a much lower cost than the large law and consulting firms, lower even than many boutiques. For clients to know that we can find and negotiate business transactions on their behalf, then continue to assist with the legal work, provides simplicity, efficiency, predictability and cost-saving to the process. We are excited to add this integrated law practice to the growing success we are humbled to have achieved at Skip Intro,” added Feldman.


Feldman, who has published four books on finance and entrepreneurship, came to prominence in the 2000’s as a leading attorney in alternatives to traditional IPOs such as reverse mergers and direct listings. Starting in 2010, he worked with the SEC in implementing regulations regarding Regulation A+, a simplified and streamlined IPO created under the JOBS Act. Feldman is credited with coining the term “Regulation A+” now widely utilized to refer to the new technique and led the first Regulation A+ IPO onto the Nasdaq in 2017. Since 2013, he has worked on complex business transactions in the cannabis and psychedelics space, earning numerous accolades. These include top recognition from the global legal guide Chambers & Partners, being named a “Cannabis Law Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal and a top lawyer in the cannabis industry by Business Insider. He has also been listed in the Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers published by Cannabis Law Digest for the last two years.


Editors Note: Feldmen represented Green Market Report with its recent acquisition by Crain Communications. 



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