Cannabis and Hemp Law and Business in Illinois: The Nuts and Bolts (IL)

Audio program! (check our CLE Programs page for live versions)

Now that Cannabis will be legal for recreational use in Illinois in January, there are all sorts of questions related to the law, relevant to a variety of practice areas.

For those attorneys who want to expand their practice and serve clients in this area, or those who already counsel clients related to Medical Marijuana and want to find out about the changes and ramifications of the legalization of cannabis for recreational use, this program is for you.

What should you know about advising clients in the cannabis industry? What are the issues your clients, you, and your law firms face?

You will learn about the impact and regulations related to Chicago’s new legalization of marijuana.  You’ll find out about how it intersects with Medical Cannabis regulations and and how that affects both individuals and businesses.

We’ll discuss the various issues you need to look out for when representing clients in this industry, including topics such as:

  • The Plant – Streams of Commerce
  • Federal Law, Enforcement and Implications
  • Hemp and CBD
  • Illinois: Medical to Adult Use and Hemp
  • Challenges — Banking, Insurance, Finance, Tax
  • Intellectual Property
  • Counseling Clients Who Are Touching, Selling Into, or Investing in the Industry
  • Implications for Employers In-and-Out of the Industry
  • Litigation — Emerging Trends


This program will be recorded live on February 21, 2020 in Chicago. The audio package, including seminar materials, will be available within two-three weeks after the live program date.

Looking for a more introductory-level program on cannabis law? Please check out our previous one-day program, Marijuana Law: Expanded Legalization, Regulatory Reforms, Business Concerns, which is available as an audio download or CD.



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What You Will Learn

This agenda is tentative. Please check back soon for an update.

The Plant and the Cannabis and Hemp Streams of Commerce

Federal law, Enforcement and Implications

Hemp & CBD

  • S.
  • States
  • commercial market

Illinois: Medical to Adult Use and Hemp

  • history
  • medical status
  • adult use regulatory landscape
  • applications process
  • regulatory compliance
  • hemp & CBD
  • The state landscape — progress, commonalities & differences

Challenges — Banking, Insurance, Finance, Tax

Intellectual Property — Challenges and Best Practices

Counseling Clients Who Are Touching, Selling Into, or Investing in the Industry

Implications for Employers In-and-Out of the Industry

Litigation — Emerging Trends








The following testimonials are from our previous Marijuana Law program held in 2017, which included many of the same speakers.
“Learned a lot about a growing legal issue.” – Alex Baker, Esq.
“Really good program covering numerous topics…very helpful program with really good and interesting speakers.” – Eric Chisholm, Esq.
“Great update and identification and discussion of current topics.” – Bob Bauerschmidt, Esq.
“Case law and statutory/regulatory citations were very helpful for future study.”
“Excellent introduction to [this] area of law…Excellent seminar. Very informative. Great speakers.”



Eric P. Berlin, Esq.
Dentons US LLP

Eric is one of the nation’s leading cannabis law authorities, advocating full-time for clients in, or impacted by, the state-legal cannabis industries and tensions with federal law. With more than two decades of courtroom and jury trial experience in high-stakes matters, Eric is ideally suited to counsel companies in this fast-growing industry on how best to achieve their business objectives while avoiding the legal risks of operating in a rapidly evolving regulatory environment brimming with tension between federal and state law. Current clients include large publicly traded companies selling products or services into the cannabis industry, companies involved in financing the industry, vaporizer manufacturers, health care institutions, testing labs, cultivators, processors, and a company operating dispensaries in several states. Eric is a member of the Health Care group and works with colleagues in other practices to provide counseling and compliance advice on numerous other laws applicable to these evolving businesses, from laws governing the employment relationship to laws protecting intellectual property rights. Eric also counsels clients on risk management and litigation avoidance, and provides legal assistance in all types of commercial and corporate transactions.

Eric has also provided government advocacy services at the state level. He worked with members of the Illinois and Ohio legislatures to draft and get passed bills creating medical marijuana dispensaries. He has represented large, publicly traded companies that sell products or services to the cannabis industry, companies involved in financing the industry, vaporizer manufacturers, testing labs, cultivators and processors, and dispensary operators.

Additionally, Eric has also represented non-cannabis industry clients in high-profile health care and antitrust litigations. Some of his successes include a trial in a .3 billion Sherman Act and Robinson-Patman Act case; a False Claims Act case against major pharmacies; a bundling antitrust case against a large medical distributor; an international arbitration between agricultural companies; and appeals in the US Courts of Appeals for the Sixth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuits.

Eric currently serves as president of board of directors for the University of Chicago GI Research Foundation and a director for the Better Government Association in Chicago.

Jim Boland, Esq.
Senior Counsel
Cresco Labs

Jim Boland is Senior Counsel for Cresco Labs where he works on a variety of licensing and compliance matters in all states in which Cresco is licensed. 

Jim previously worked as an attorney at Chicago Public Schools in the Office of Diverse Learners where he practiced special education law. Jim attended DePaul University School of Law where he was an academic-merit scholarship recipient and a family law fellow. 

Jim spends much of his time outside of work volunteering in his community. He is a Member of the Associate Board and the Mentor Program at Legal Charter Prep high school where he has mentored high school students for the past three years. Jim was also previously a member of the Young Professionals Board at Equip for Equality.

When Jim is not at work he enjoys spending time with his two rescue dogs. 


Joanne Caceres, Esq.

Dentons US LLP

Joanne counsels clients in the cannabis industry to attain their business objectives while avoiding legal risks in this rapidly evolving regulatory environment. This includes advocating full-time for clients in, or impacted by, the state-legal cannabis industries and tensions with federal law. Current clients include large publicly traded companies selling products or services into the cannabis industry, companies involved in financing the industry, vaporizer manufacturers, and a company operating dispensaries in several states. Joanne is a member of the Health Care group and works with colleagues in other practices to provide counseling and compliance advice on numerous other laws applicable to these evolving businesses, from laws governing the employment relationship to laws protecting intellectual property rights.

In her prior practice, Joanne also represented clients in complex commercial litigation matters in federal and state courts, as well as in other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Joanne has handled all stages of litigation, from responding to a complaint, offensive and defensive discovery, expert discovery, motions practice, dispositive motions, settlement, and trial. Through her pro bono work, Joanne has successfully secured the rights of multiple asylum seekers and secured a favourable settlement for an incarcerated client alleging civil rights violations in federal court.

Zareefa Flener, Esq.
Managing & Founding Partner
Flener IP & Business Law

Zareefa B. Flener, MS (Molecular Biology, with Distinction),  JD, USPTO Registered Practitioner,  is the Founder and Managing Partner at FLENER IP & BUSINESS LAW, a Women-Owned intellectual property and business/corporate law firm. 

Zareefa has around two decades of experience managing international and domestic patent and trademark portfolios in a wide range of areas including now in the cannabis arena.  She is included in the iam Patent 1000, and is recognized by Managing Intellectual Property as an IP Star and as one of the Top 250 Women in IP.  

Zareefa has been assisting cannabis companies in achieving prominence, value, and enviable positioning in an increasingly crowded field for more than six years, for instance, a client was awarded’s invention of the year award, and another has been recognized by FAST Company as one of the most innovative companies. Zareefa’s clients run the gamut from cannabis to stem cells, from plant varieties to chemical processing and extractions; and her holistic approach of counseling companies from the ground up, from incorporation to raising capital to protecting and enforcing intellectual property, sets her apart from others and is a tried and true method for successfully building value for her clients.

William Hackney, Esq.
SmithAmundsen LLC

Clients often come to Bill in the midst of a potential financial calamity. Whether the call comes from company management or one of the dozens of financial institutions he represents, each of these financial crises comes with its own unique set of problems. Knowing that Bill will create a tailored approach to address those problems provides comfort.

Bill is a trusted restructuring counselor. He helps his clients analyze and resolve their financial issues, representing debtors, lenders, secured creditors, creditors’ committees and trustees, among others, in all manners of chapter 11 and chapter 7 cases as well as out-of-court workouts and restructurings. Bill assists financial institutions and cannabis-related businesses on the interaction between state cannabis laws and federal banking and bankruptcy laws.

He also acts as outside bankruptcy counsel to a number of corporations and provides general business counseling in distressed situations, and represents a number of his clients in their FDCPA, FCRA, and similar consumer finance defense claims. 

Bill strives to find the right customized strategy for each client, knowing that it is the key to a successful resolution.

Jonathan Havens, Esq.

Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr

Jonathan Havens is co-chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP.  He also serves as vice chair of the firm’s Food and Beverage Practice and is a member of the firm’s Life Sciences Practice.  Jonathan’s unique perspective on cannabis regulation is informed by his congressional, federal agency, and national and international law firm experience.

He counsels state cannabis license applicants and awardees, ancillary service and product providers, investors, management companies, and various other entities that are affected by federal and state marijuana laws, such as long-term care facilities and higher education institutions.

Before entering private practice, Jonathan served as a regulatory counsel with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he focused on compliance and enforcement related to promotion, advertising, and labeling.  Prior to law school, Jonathan held legislative and government affairs positions in which he managed several areas of policy and drafted legislative proposals, and facilitated the development and execution of strategic communications to members of Congress and their staff aides.

Caleb Lendy, CPA, MST
Brosnwick Benjamin P.C.

 Bio coming soon!

Eduard Linetskiy

Eduard Linetskiy is currently operating as a cannabis compliance and business consultant and is the Founder of CCBC, LLC. Prior to venturing out as a consultant, Eduard was responsible for ensuring MedMen national operations and assets remained in compliance with applicable state and local cannabis regulations. He oversaw all Compliance functions, which included auditing, operational support, and surveillance. 

Prior to joining MedMen, he was the Compliance Director for Los Angeles-based global investment bank Houlihan Lokey, which is a world-leading advisor in mergers, acquisitions, transactions and restructuring. He also worked at MetLife, one of the largest global insurance providers and a was a FINOP examiner for the New York Stock Exchange. 

Eduard brings class-leading compliance expertise and unprecedented skills to the fast changing and fast-growing cannabis industry.

Emily Masalski, Esq.
Founding Partner
Hunter Masalski LLC

Emily N. Masalski is a Founding Partner and CEO of Hunter Masalski LLC in Chicago. Ms. Masalski represents companies in all aspects of environmental, health and safety law, with an emphasis on OSHA and EPA compliance and defense. Ms. Masalski also has a commercial litigation and appellate litigation practice. She continues to focus on environmental, health & safety, and enforcement issues associated with the medical cannabis industry.

In 2017, Ms. Masalski was named as one of Illinois’ “Forty Under 40” attorneys to watch by Law Bulletin Media. In 2018, she was honored with the Alta May Hulett Award by the Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women.

Before entering private practice, Ms. Masalski served as an agency attorney for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Wastewater Treatment Bureau. Prior to launching her own firm, she was a Partner at Rooney Rippie & Ratnaswamy LLP and a Principal at Deutsch, Levy & Engel, Chartered. Ms. Masalski received her J.D. and Environmental Law Certificate from Pace University School of Law, where she served as an Articles Editor for the Pace Environmental Law Review. She received her B.S. in Agricultural and Environmental Communications & Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ms. Masalski is admitted to practice in Illinois, New York, and Connecticut.

Michael McGrory, Esq.
SmithAmundsen LLC

Mike has a unique ability to stay focused and even-keeled even when it may look to some like the sky is falling. He takes a thoughtful and direct approach to advising clients in the areas of aviation and aerospace law, commercial litigation, regulatory compliance, and the cannabis field.

Since entering private practice after serving as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney, Mike has represented airlines, airports, aircraft owners and manufacturers in business disputes and lawsuits arising out of accidents. His non-aviation work involves advising businesses, governmental entities, insurers and insurance brokers in commercial and tort litigation. Having grown up in a police family, Mike is especially proud of his successes defending police officers accused of civil rights violations.

Mike has held a variety of leadership positions in bar and industry organizations, and has also demonstrated great commitment to his community. He is particularly passionate about his work on the board of directors for Mental Health America of Illinois, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving treatment and care available to those who suffer from mental and emotional disorders.

Dan Rahill, CPA, JD, LL.M., CGMA
Managing Director
Wintrust Wealth Services

Daniel F. Rahill is a managing director and senior vice president at Wintrust Wealth Services, where he works with clients to determine their financial objectives and develop strategies for their tax, estate, investment, philanthropic, and family capital needs.

Dan works closely with shareholders and privately held businesses on mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and succession planning. He also advises wealthy families on tax minimization, wealth preservation, and family office management.

Previously, Dan was with KPMG for 27 years, where he held numerous leadership roles, including tax managing partner of the Chicago Metro Business Unit and trustee of the KPMG Foundation. He served as the lead partner on many of KPMG’s high-profile multinational accounts, privately held companies, and family offices. Prior to KPMG, Dan practiced law in Chicago, specializing in tax and estate planning. He began his career in audit with Ernst & Young.

Dan frequently lectures to CPA societies, bar associations, family office organizations, trade and industry groups, and universities. He is often published and quoted in publications including Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, ABC7, Yahoo Finance, and the Illinois CPA Society’s Insight Magazine. Dan is a former chairman of the Illinois CPA Society and serves on three academic advisory boards and several nonprofit boards and committees.

David Ruskin, Esq.
HMB Legal Counsel

David is a partner in HMB’s Litigation Group. He focuses his practice on business and tax litigation, as well as general counsel representation for privately-held companies and entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry.

Known as an excellent listener, David’s approach is time-efficient and focused on getting to the client’s business goal. He handles a range of issues, including whistleblower (qui tam) and False Claims Act defense, partnership and ownership disputes, contract disputes and business torts and real estate and construction litigation.

For clients in the cannabis industry and other emerging industries, David helps clients navigate unsettled and differing statutes, regulations and industry-specific legal developments, including where inconsistencies exist between state and federal law.

David also has particularly deep experience handling multistate tax matters. He represents clients before state courts and administrative tax tribunals across the country, litigates in appellate and federal courts and facilitates audit disputes and informal dispute resolutions nationwide.

Clients rely on David for his business focused approach to resolving complex disputes. He is well known for providing counsel for operating efficiently and for complex issues involving new laws in different jurisdictions.



Audio Recording & Materials Package – CD or Download: $425


For CDs, please add $7.50 shipping and, in CA, sales tax.

(Audio packages are available approximately two to three weeks after the seminar is held.)

CLE Credit

IL General:  This program is approved for 7.0 units of general CLE in Illinois through February 20, 2022.

CA General:  This program is approved for 7.0 units of general CLE in California.

This program is approved for CLE in the states listed above.  Upon request, Pincus Pro Ed will provide any information an attorney needs to support their application for CLE approval in other states other than what is listed above.


Terms and Policies

Recording policy: No audio or video recording of any program is permitted.

Seminar Cancellations: Should you be unable to attend for any reason, please inform us in writing no later than 14 days prior to the event and a credit voucher will be issued. If you prefer, a refund, less a $50 non-refundable deposit, will be issued. No refunds or credits will be given for cancellations received within 14 days of an event. However, if you notify us within 14 days of an event, and wish to convert your in-person attendance registration to an Audio CD package (with handout), we can do so. A small additional shipping charge, and sales tax in CA, will be incurred. No shipping charge is incurred for downloads. We will also issue a voucher for the amount paid if you notify us within 14 days and prefer not to have the audio recording.

Substitutions may be made at any time.

Webinars, Tele-seminars and Webcast Cancellations: Once log-in codes and passwords are issued for a webinar, tele-seminars or webcasts, a refund is not possible. If for any reason you cannot attend the event after you have received the codes, we will automatically convert your registration to an instant streaming/instant download or CD format and provide you with the information you need to access the recording after the program concludes and the recording is available.  Conversions to CD require a $7.50 shipping fee, and in CA, 9% sales tax.

Downloads/CDs/DVDs – Refund policy:

Downloads are non-returnable/non-refundable once purchased and received. Tapes, CDs and DVDs are returnable for a full refund or replacement if defective, within 90 days of purchase.

Reminder: The room temperature at hotels and other seminar locations are notoriously hard to control. Please bring a sweater or jacket in case it gets cold and/or layer as if you are going to the movies so you are comfortable.

$425.00 each

Recorded/Recording on February 21, 2020.