The Cannabis & Hemp industry is evolving quickly and Canada is leading the way both in terms of legalization and regulatory matters. For Cannabis producers and distributors alike there are numerous legal issues that can arise across multiple areas of law and practice with a strong emphasis on intellectual property.

At Smart & Biggar, our Cannabis & Hemp industry team includes members from across our leading practice areas including Patents, Life Sciences, Regulatory and Compliance, Trademarks, Marketing & Advertising, and Litigation to provide an integrated team approach and a level of technical depth and support that is unmatched in Canada. We also leverage our considerable expertise relating to products regulated by Health Canada and complicated regulatory regimes to the benefit and advantage of our clients.  

With team members located in offices throughout Canada, we are able to ensure seamless local and national advice that reflects both federal and provincial law, which is especially important with adult-use cannabis given its significant provincial regulation.  

Our combined expertise for Cannabis & Hemp includes the following:

Patents, Plant Breeder’s Rights, Trademarks and Brand Protection   

We have worked with various clients in the cannabis industry on a wide range of patent and trademark matters, including plant breeder’s rights, and relating to strategic IP issues and brand protection.

Our team recognizes the challenges associated with patenting new products that are derived or derivable from cannabis.  Through our significant experience in patenting products derived from plants, as well as synthetically produced products that occur in nature, both in Canada and globally, we work with clients to protect their cannabis derived innovations.

This expertise extends to protection for cultivation and extraction methods, related devices and packaging that may be used to deliver new cannabis products, as well as novel formulations and methods of use of cannabis products.  

On branding issues relating to goods and services in the Cannabis fields, our Trademark Group is highly experienced in crafting comprehensive specifications for the cannabis business in trademark applications, and we have obtained broad protection for our clients on both existing business initiatives and projected future initiatives.  We are also active in brand registration as well as ongoing monitoring, assessment of infringement issues and litigation.


Cannabis is a heavily regulated industry and will be even more heavily regulated (and subject to multiple regulatory regimes) when edibles, as well as vaporizers, natural health products and cosmetics containing cannabis, are allowed.  

We have extensive experience advising both licensed producers and ancillary businesses on a variety of regulatory matters including regulatory issues or due diligence in agreements and transactions; licensing issues (e.g. dealer’s licence versus being a licensed producer); Cannabidiol (CBD) products, including from hemp; import / export requirements (including phytosanitary certificates for plants); health care compliance (e.g. agreements with health care professionals / clinics); responding to Access to Information requests; and the sale of food products.

Our regulatory expertise extends across the full spectrum of cannabis offerings, including pharmaceutical dosage forms, food, cosmetics, natural health products and vaping products.

We can also pursue a judicial review of any administrative decisions noted above before the Federal Court and appellate courts.

Marketing and Advertising

We have extensive experience advising clients how best to navigate the stringent requirements relating to packaging and advertising of cannabis products in Canada in order to be competitive while minimizing risk.  Our expertise includes providing advice on the use of influencers, inducements, the “brand element” provision, age-gating requirements, sponsorships, non-promotional programs (e.g. educational programs) and packaging / labelling, in both the medical and proposed adult-use regimes.  Our clients include not just licensed producers but also those in ancillary businesses including agency and media clients.  

Our advisory capability for cannabis clients also includes on privacy (including privacy breaches) and anti-spam matters.

Due Diligence

In connection with transactions, we can provide due diligence review, not only from an intellectual property perspective, but also regarding regulatory compliance.