Q&A with Joshua Horn: Partner and Cannabis Practice Co-Chair at Fox Rothschild LLP
Conversations with the Cannabis 50
The Cannabis 50 celebrates the organizations, individuals, and companies who are working to build a responsible, sustainable, and equitable future for the cannabis, hemp, and related industries. In addition to the 2021 Cannabis 50 Impact Review, we are also sharing interviews with our honorees to help spread their messages of positivity and growth.
An AmLaw100 law firm with more than 60 attorneys working from coast to coast to represent its cannabis practice, Fox Rothschild LLP is nationally ranked and works with prominent cannabis businesses to structure landmark multistate deals and facilitate mergers and acquisitions that shape the industry. In 2021, it acted as a U.S. legal counsel to some huge transactions, including one with Trulieve and Harvest. Joshua Horn, partner and the cannabis practice co-chair, talked with MGO about the trends he’s seen unfold firsthand in the industry, why regulatory compliance should be a focal point in 2022, and why risk takers inspire him.
MGO: The cannabis industry saw several trends emerge in 2021. What do you think was the biggest one?
Joshua Horn, Partner and Cannabis Practice Co-Chair at Fox Rothschild LLP: The most significant trend I saw in the past year was a maturation of the cannabis industry in certain markets. With that came significant consolidation through mergers and acquisitions. Thanks to that maturity, we’re now seeing more states online with medical programs and a corresponding push for adult-use legislation.
MGO: What were some of the biggest obstacles the industry faced in 2021? How were these issues overcome?
Horn: I see two primary obstacles faced by the industry in 2021. The first was access to capital. This has always been an issue due to the dearth of traditional financing services in a very cash-intensive industry. In the past year, we worked on several financing arrangements. The challenge we always faced was getting the most favorable terms as possible. The second obstacle was a tightening by states over regulatory issues in areas where these same states had not raised an issue in the past. Our clients know they need to be as forward-thinking as possible to anticipate issues and get in front of them with the regulators.
MGO: What were the biggest highlights and most positive changes for Fox Rothschild in 2021?
Horn: To me, the major highlights included seeing more and more states rolling out medical and adult-use cannabis programs. This reflects a growing acceptance of this industry and an appreciation of the tax revenue that states can generate by permitting the industry to function within their borders.
Personally, my 2021 highlight was having the opportunity to work on some industry-transformative transactions, such as the Trulieve merger with Harvest, and Cronos’s acquisition of an option to acquire an equity interest in PharmCann upon the satisfaction of certain conditions.
MGO: What should the cannabis industry be focused on in 2022—and beyond—to keep it moving forward in a positive way?
Horn: Regulatory compliance should be the primary focus because it further justifies that this is a legitimate industry with serious companies intent on doing the right things in a highly regulated environment. By focusing on this issue, the naysayers will have less to naysay.
*MGO: How do you think the cannabis industry will continue to evolve in 2022? What are you personally most excited about? *
Horn: I’m most excited about additional states coming online in this industry through medical and/or adult-use programs. As for predictions, I think we’ll see further consolidation in more mature markets through mergers, acquisitions, and financing arrangements.
MGO: Who else in the cannabis industry inspires you by making a positive impact?
Horn: This is truly an entrepreneur-laden industry. It’s full of risk takers. They’re the inspiration. At the same time, they’ve worked hard to become vital participants in their communities, and they understand the importance of giving back to those communities. For example, many of these companies have focused on creating jobs for historically disadvantaged populations.