By Kyla Asbury | May 15, 2017

CHARLESTON – Law firms that specialize in legal services to cannabis companies, funds, investors and lenders can benefit West Virginia businesses as they navigate the new medical marijuana law, according to a New York attorney.

Bryan Meltzer, a partner at Feuerstein Kulick in New York, said the cannabis industry has become a big part of his law firm.

“Legal guidance is necessary,” Meltzer told The West Virginia Record. “Our clients are wanting to make sure they will be compliant with state and federal laws, and we help them with that.”

Meltzer said his firm represents cannabis-related companies, funds, investors and lenders across the country.

“We are in the position to represent both investors and companies — those who ‘touch the plant’ and ‘don’t touch the plant,’” Meltzer said. “We have carved out a niche for ourselves out here. We go where our clients take us.”

Meltzer said as each state signs a marijuana law into law, it is usually building off of the previous states’ laws.

“They build off of the previous states, but they’re also putting their own spin on what works for them,” he said. “They’ve seen what has worked before and what didn’t.”

As West Virginia’s marijuana law goes into effect, local businesses will need to navigate the regulations to make sure they are compliant.

Meltzer said firms like Feuerstein Kulick regularly work with local attorneys to bring their clients into compliance and answer questions they may have.

“We’ve been at this for five years and representing cannabis companies for the last year,” Meltzer said. “We are excited to see how the West Virginia law goes.”

West Virginia becomes the 29th state to adopt a medical marijuana law when Gov. Jim Justice signed it into law April 19.

Senate Bill 386 was introduced by Sen. Richard Ojeda and underwent amendments in both the Senate and the House.

It uses the Bureau of Public Health to oversee medical marijuana in West Virginia. Growing your own plants for medical use would be banned. It excludes the smoking of marijuana and also the sale and purchase of edible marijuana products.

By April 4, the bill passed the House, 76-24. The Senate then voted 26-6 the following day to accept the House’s version.

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