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Cannabis Business Law CLE


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Bookings closed

Event Type

As a newly-regulated industry, clients are expanding their business operations in legal cannabis. This one-hour Cannabis Business Law CLE introduces attorneys to the basics of advising clients about the business of cannabis, including hemp, CBD, what to expect when marijuana is legalized in North Carolina, and how to keep your clients on the right side of the law.

  • Hemp vs. Cannabis  
  1. Primer on what each is, and is not.
  2. Current state of legality for each under federal law, NC law.
  3. Mention pending NC medical cannabis bill (SB 711).
  4.   Criminal law issues in light of hemp and cannabis reform in general.
  • Hemp in the Post-2018 Farm Bill World  
  1. Discussion of de-scheduling and its effects on interstate commerce.
  2. FDA and FTC regulation.
  3. DEA’s continued involvement (hot hemp extracts, THC isomers).
  4.   “Novel cannabinoids” such as delta-8 and delta-10, THC, CBN, THCV, etc.- what they are, how they are regulated, and the controversy over intoxicating hemp products.
  5. NC’s exit from hemp regulation, in general, and how the USDA will regulate.
  6. General business considerations, like importance of business contracts, IP/trade secret considerations, indemnification, clear record-keeping for regulatory compliance and self-protection, awareness of 50-state patchwork of laws for hemp products, etc.
  7.   A general discussion about “what it is that cannabis lawyers do” and how “cannabis law” is a bit of a misnomer since the emerging cannabis industry impacts many areas of “traditional” law.

Presenters include Rod Kight, Tyler Russell and Ben Scales. The seminar will be held on Zoom, and all registrants will be sent a link to the event on April 19.

Rod Kight is a cannabis business law attorney. He represents legal cannabis businesses throughout
the world and is editor and chief writer of the Kight On Cannabis law blog ( Rod is the author of “Cannabis Business Law-What You Need to Know”, published by
Aspatore Books in August 2015. Rod is on the advisory board for the American Journal of Endocannabinoid Medicine, for which he also writes a legal column.
Rod is frequently quoted on cannabis matters by trade publications and major media outlets
including the Wall Street Journal, Time, Politico, and Business Insider. Additionally, Rod has
been listed in MG Magazine’s list of “30 Powerful Litigators”, Hemp Connoisseur Magazine’s list
of “100 People You Should Know”, and High Time’s “2020 Leaders in Cannabis Law.” He is part
of the legal teams in two high-profile cases against the DEA and the Texas Department of State
Health Services regarding hemp extracts, has drafted and presented cannabis legislation to a
foreign head of state, is a member of the board of directors of a publicly traded Canadian cannabis company, and is a partner in a Mexican import-export company focused on legal crossborder hemp transactions. Rod routinely advises in-house counsel and C-suite level executives
on cannabis issues. He has discussed cannabis legal issues in numerous seminars to lawyers,
business executives, and public officials and is regularly asked to be a guest speaker on US and
international podcasts about cannabis and psychedelics.

Rod is a strong believer in cannabis for personal and medical use after using it successfully
during chemotherapy treatments for cancer (he is in remission). Rod is an attorney advocate for
NORML. He is also a member of the International Cannabis Bar Association, the National Cannabis Industry Association, the Hemp Industries Association, and the South East Hemp Association.
Rod resides in Ajijic, Mexico and Asheville, North Carolina with his elementary school sweetheart,
Ashley, who is also his office manager. Together they have a blended family with 5 kids. Rod is
also an avid musician. He can be reached via email ( or phone (828-

Tyler Russell is co-leader of the Hemp + Cannabis Practice Group at Ward and Smith, P.A.  Tyler is passionate about the hemp and cannabis industries, their products, and their people.  He co-chairs the firm’s Hemp + Cannabis Law practice group, and he represents clients in all aspects of the hemp and cannabis industries – both in North Carolina and beyond.  His clients include farmers and growers, processors, extractors, product manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers.  He also assists clients who are involved in the industry but do not directly “touch the plant” – including brokers, consultants, marketing agencies, lenders and financial institutions, and other suppliers and vendors.

In his hemp and cannabis practice, Tyler regularly provides advice and counsel to his clients on Federal, state, and local legal and regulatory compliance matters, and he regularly represents clients in all types of agribusiness, transactional, and corporate deals and agreements within the industry.  He is also actively engaged in state-level lobbying and public activism efforts in support of the industry, its companies, and their products.  The hemp and cannabis industries are unique, and Tyler and the firm’s Hemp + Cannabis Law team are committed to helping the people and businesses within them.

Ben Scales is a lawyer, musician, activist, and volunteer. As an attorney, he’s championed the cause of medical cannabis patients and caregivers nationwide, focusing his criminal defense practice on defending people accused of violating the cannabis prohibition. Ben was a co-founder of the North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network and served for many years as its legislative director, as well as its secretary and treasurer. In consultation with doctors, nurses, lawyers, patients, and caregivers from all across the country, Ben wrote the North Carolina Medical Marijuana Act, which was first introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly as HB 1380 in 2008. In 2010, Ben updated that bill and renamed it the North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act, versions of which have been introduced in every legislative session since, including an extremely watered-down version that was introduced by a group of Republican legislators in the current session.

As a musician, Ben wrote and recorded the song “Growing Marijuana In My Yard,” which has been downloaded and streamed nearly 2 million times, featured on Ed Rosenthal’s “4:20 Report” radio show, and which he has performed at rallies and festivals all over the world, including twice at the Boston Freedom Rally. Ben continues to write music, sing, and play guitar and dobro, both solo and in bands with some of the finest musicians in Western North Carolina.

In addition to his work on cannabis law reform issues, Ben is an active volunteer in his community, donating over 100 hours of pro bono representation annually to survivors of domestic violence, low-wealth entrepreneurs of color, and activists involved in civil disobedience, to name but a few. Since 2006, Ben has served as director of the Montford Music and Arts Festival, which before the pandemic was an annual event attended by thousands of people. Ben has founded and/or served on the boards of non-profits related to folk music business, advancement of African American families, historic preservation, and the PTO at his children’s elementary school, where he built the playground.

Ben has an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and a law degree from Cumberland School of Law, where was a member of the Cumberland Law Review. Early in his law career, he clerked for federal judges in Washington, DC, and on the western Pacific island of Saipan.

Ben and his wife of 25 years, Cate, have three children aged 22, 20, and 16. The oldest recently graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in three years and is now applying to law schools. The middle child is in her sophomore year at North Carolina State University, and the youngest is in the tenth grade at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. The Scales are members of Grace Episcopal Church in Asheville, where Ben recently completed a term as Senior Warden and Cate serves on the Altar Guild.

Ben’s email address is, and his cell number is 863-529-8312.

This one-hour virtual CLE is pending approval from the NC State Bar. 


Registrations are closed for this event.