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Lee Vartan

Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi

Co-Chair, Cannabis Law Group

What aspect of the cannabis industry does your firm specialize in (compliance, growth, distribution, etc.)?

"CSG Law prides itself on being one-stop shopping for cannabis clients. We have filed winning applications on behalf of large, multistate operators and new entrants into the cannabis marketplace. We ensure our clients are compliant with all New Jersey statutes and regulations; provide strategic business advice; assist with all government affairs needs; regularly draft purchase and sale agreements and lease agreements; and, where required, aggressively litigate on behalf of our clients. In fact, CSG Law was the only law firm to successfully sue the state over the 2019 RFA process. Our client won its appeal, was reinstated into the RFA process, and ultimately was awarded a license."

Tell us something someone new to the industry needs to know – that they probably haven’t thought of?

"The current Cannabis Regulatory Commission process prizes new entrants to the marketplace. You do not have to be a multistate operator to win a license if you are willing to pull together a strong application team that couples New Jersey roots with on-the-ground cannabis cultivation, processing or retail experience."

Give us one element or factor that is key to getting a license.

"Local support: Finding a municipal home that is willing to support your application with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission is critical and takes the most time to develop. It is also where a good legal partner like CSG Law can help make a real difference."

How do you see the industry growing/changing in the next 12 months?

"The industry is going to explode over the next 12 months as the recreational market comes online, and all of the provisional licensees from the current 2021 Notice of Application Acceptance process begin their buildouts."

Give us your elevator speech: Why should someone hire your firm?

"First and foremost, we are great lawyers with a proven track record of success in the cannabis space. Beyond that, we have close relationships with leaders at the local, county and state levels, including at the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, and have been called upon by clients to tackle some of the most difficult, first-of-their kind legal questions in New Jersey cannabis law. And when a client’s only recourse is the courts, we have a deep bench of trial-tested litigators ready to win."

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