United States: Cannabis Investing—A Safe High?

Last Updated: March 24 2016
Article by Adam Dunst

The successive legalization of adult recreational use of marijuana in four states—Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska—and the District of Columbia, as well as legalization of marijuana for medical use to varying degrees in 23 states, has triggered the interest of potential private equity investors who are seeking to claim an early stake in a growing industry with potentially high returns. Altogether, nearly half of the states in the US have legalized the use of marijuana to some degree for medical and/or recreational purposes, each state with its own set of restrictions. The legal marijuana industry has been valued at $1.5 billion in 20131, $2.7 billion in 20141, $3.5 billion in 20151, and is projected to reach $8 billion by 2018. 2 Furthermore, several ballot and legislative actions are currently being planned with respect to legalization of marijuana in 2016 in a number of states. 3 According to one industry research group, 14 states are projected to pass new adult recreational use laws by 2020. 4 Nevertheless, while the industry and its anticipated potential growth may create excitement, investors should be cognizant of the various legal risks involved in investing in the industry, especially since the laws surrounding cannabis seem to be continuously in flux, involve federal versus state considerations, and are not likely to be consolidated in the near future.

Federal law - Illegality and Uncertainty

The US federal government's position regarding the legality of marijuana is not consistent with state-level legalization developments, causing confusion as to the legal implications for the cannabis industry. At the federal level, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance, along with heroin, LSD, peyote, and ecstasy, under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. 5 According to the CSA, Schedule I substances have (a) no currently accepted medical use in the US, (b) a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and (c) a high potential for abuse. 6

In the landmark case Gonzales v. Raich7, the US Supreme Court upheld Congress' power under the Commerce Clause under the Constitution to prohibit purely intrastate cultivation and possession of marijuana, even where a state approves its use for medicinal purposes. As such, businesses that engage in any form of commerce in the marijuana industry, whether as manufacturers, distributors or dispensaries, as well as individuals who purchase and use marijuana-derived products, remain subject to possible federal prosecution and seizure of assets. The risk for a private equity investor is that federal enforcement could lead to dissolution or discontinuance of operations, leaving investors with no recourse to recover their funds. Given the illegality of marijuana under federal law, private equity investors should also be aware that investing in a marijuana-related business may violate the federal antimoney laundering statutes, 18 U.S.C. §1956 and §1957. 8

The US Department of Justice under the Obama administration has published several guidances9 regarding marijuana enforcement and the interpretation of the CSA in light of state-level legalization efforts and the ensuing legal uncertainty, the most recent of which, also known as the "Cole Memo" 10 published on August 29, 2013, reflects the administration's approach to state reform. The Cole Memo clarified that it will not challenge state laws and will generally rely on state and local enforcement agencies to address marijuana activity as long as marijuana sales do not conflict with the following eight federal enforcement priorities to: 11

  1. Prevent distribution of marijuana to minors;
  2. Prevent revenue from the sale of marijuana going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels;
  3. Prevent diversion of marijuana from the state where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;
  4. Prevent state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;
  5. Prevent violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana;
  6. Prevent drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;
  7. Prevent the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; and
  8. Prevent marijuana possession or use on federal property.

The US Congress has also shown some signs that it prefers to defer to state or local enforcement agencies regarding the regulation of state-legal medical marijuana. The bipartisan spending bill passed by Congress in December 2014 and then renewed in December 2015 included a section, also known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Medical Marijuana Amendment (the Amendment), which prohibits the Department of Justice from expending any federal funds to prevent each of the District of Columbia and 32 other listed states from implementing its own district or state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. 12 On October 19, 2015, in U.S. v Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM), the US District Court for the Northern District of California held that under the Amendment, the Department of Justice's permanent injunction against MAMM's distribution of medical marijuana could only be enforced against MAMM insofar as that organization is in violation of state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. 13

While the guidance in the Cole Memo and the Amendment reflect the Obama administration's level of deference to state laws, investors should be reminded that guidance is not law and that the Amendment will expire when the current fiscal year concludes on September 30, 2016, if not renewed by the next congressional spending bill. 14 The congressional spending bill for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016 does not preclude a federal prosecutor or a state attorney general from pursuing violators of the CSA who use, distribute, possess or cultivate marijuana for non-medical purposes.

Nevertheless, while there is uncertainty regarding how the federal government will interpret and enforce the CSA going forward, perhaps the Compassionate Access, Research, Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS) of 2015, a comprehensive piece of federal medical marijuana legislation introduced in the US Congress, may help to settle the state-federal conflict over the legality of medical marijuana. The CARERS Act would have farreaching impacts, including: (a) allowing state programs to continue without federal interference; (b) transferring marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II of the CSA; (c) removing cannabidiol from the definition of marijuana; and (d) creating access to banking services for legal marijuana businesses. 15

State laws - Variations and Uncertainty

Interested investors should also be aware that a patchwork of varying state laws makes a one-size-fitsall approach to investment decisions impossible. For recreational marijuana, differences across state laws where there is any recreational legality include the amount of marijuana that an individual can possess, number of plants one can grow for recreational purposes, and license application requirements. 16 Furthermore, for a particular state that has at least in some part legalized marijuana, it is possible that not every governing authority is on board with the legalization. For example, although Oregon has legalized adult recreational use, dozens of cities and counties in Oregon have banned or put moratoriums on marijuana sales. 17

For medical marijuana, differences across the 23 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use to some degree include restrictions with respect to the amount of marijuana that patients may possess, number of plants they may grow for medical purposes, whether dispensaries are allowed, the types of medical conditions legally treatable with marijuana, and whether other states' medical marijuana cards are recognized. 18 States also vary on the forms of medical marijuana they allow. For instance, many states allow marijuana-derived products with cannabidiol (CBD), a compound that possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-anxiety, and anticonvulsant effects that can help to treat diseases such as epilepsy, PTSD, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, but restrict marijuana-derived products with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound that induces psychoactive effects. 19

Private equity investors should also be aware of potential criminal liability depending on their own state laws. Investors located in states where marijuana remains illegal may be at risk of prosecution under state conspiracy, aiding and abetting laws and money laundering statutes, and may be at risk of losing their investments or proceeds under state criminal and civil forfeiture laws. 20

Investor Compliance Requirements

Investors interested in an equity stake in marijuana businesses may be required to comply with certain state requirements, such as residency requirements, and financial and criminal background checks. Equity investors in marijuana businesses may be required to meet specific criteria in order for a business to apply for and maintain a license to conduct business in the marijuana industry. With respect to private equity funds that invest in marijuana businesses in states where such investments are legal, analyses should be conducted in each such tate to determine the applicability of such state's compliance requirements to the general partner, passive limited partners and the fund managers. The following table summarizes residency requirements for owners or investors in marijuana businesses in the four states where adult recreational marijuana use has been legalized:

Colorado

 

In order to be eligible to apply for Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) Medical Marijuana Business License or MED Retail Marijuana Business License, all owners21 must be residents of Colorado for two years prior to application. 22

Washington

 

Six-month residency in Washington is required for new license applications and for new financiers and members of the business. 23 A marijuana license applicant means any person or entity who is considered as a true party of interest in a marijuana license, and includes (i) any entity or person who is in receipt of, or has the right to receive, a percentage of the gross or net profit from the licensed business during any full or partial calendar or fiscal year and (ii) any entity or person who exercises control over the licensed business in exchange for money or expertise. 24

Oregon

 

Two-year residency requirement (until January 1, 2020) for all applicants listed on a license application, including all partners in a limited partnership, all members of a limited liability company, all directors and principal officers of a corporate entity, and any individual who owns or controls at least 10 percent of the business. 25 At least one applicant or the sum of applicants listed must be a "legitimate owner" (own at least 51 percent) of the business. 26

Alaska

 

Effective as of February 21, 2016, marijuana businesses must be 100 percent owned by residents of Alaska, which means all partners of a partnership, all members of a limited liability company, and all shareholders of a corporation must be residents of Alaska. 27

To be an Alaska resident, a license applicant must meet the residency requirement for voting in Alaska and must not be registered to vote in any other state. 28 A person other than a licensee may not have a direct or indirect financial interest in the business for which a marijuana establishment license is issued. 29

Other Considerations

(1) Financial Institutions

Financial institutions have been reluctant to provide services to marijuana-related businesses. Thus, on February 14, 2014, to allay their concerns of violating the CSA, US Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published guidance intending to (a) clarify how banks can provide services to marijuana-related businesses consistent with their Bank Secrecy Act obligations, (b) enhance the availability of financial services for marijuanarelated businesses, and (c) enhance the financial transparency of marijuana-related businesses. 30

The FinCEN guidance also discusses appropriate customer due diligence and thorough risk analysis to be conducted by financial institutions, and creates a three-tiered system for filing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) for marijuanarelated businesses. For example, financial institutions must use the following labels when filing SARs based on their reasonable belief as to whether the business implicates one of the Cole Memo priorities: "Marijuana Limited" for a business that does not implicate a Cole Memo priority, "Marijuana Priority" for a business implicating one or more of the Cole Memo enforcement priorities, and "Marijuana Termination" for when a financial institution terminates a relationship with a marijuana-related business. 31

In conjunction with the February 14, 2014 FinCEN guidance, the Department of Justice also published guidance on the same day as the FinCEN guidance regarding marijuana-based financial crimes. It clarified that if a bank offers services to marijuana-related businesses whose activities do not implicate any of the eight enforcement priorities outlined in the Cole Memo, then prosecution may not be appropriate. 32 The February 14, 2014 FinCEN guidance and Department of Justice guidance, and further developments, such as the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015, which has been introduced and is pending before Congress, were created to protect financial institutions that provide financial services to marijuana-related businesses. 33

However, nothing in the February 14, 2014 FinCEN guidance and Department of Justice guidance precludes investigation or prosecution, even in the absence of implicating one of the eight Cole Memo priorities, and providing financial services to marijuana-related businesses still remains illegal under federal law. Furthermore, on January 5, 2016, a federal judge in Denver rejected a Colorado credit union's bid to force the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to grant it a master account to serve Colorado's legal marijuana businesses, on the grounds that the master account would violate federal law. 34 Because of risk aversion tendencies by financial institutions, the marijuana industry is still driven primarily by cash transactions. 35 As such, these businesses are unable to reap the potential benefits of loan services or credit cards, and must incur costs and expenses for security, such as safes, armored vehicles and security guards to prevent theft.

(2) Issues of Transportation

Interstate transportation of marijuana is prohibited under the CSA, and this includes transportation among states that have legalized marijuana such as Washington and Oregon. 36 In fact, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has provided a chart that explains the penalties for trafficking marijuana. 37 Thus, marijuana must be consumed in the same state of purchase and cannot be transported from a producer in one state to a distribution or retailer in another. Furthermore, there are legal implications of transporting marijuana within a particular state. First, if marijuana is illegal within a particular state, transportation of marijuana will also be illegal in that state. 38 In states that have legalized marijuana to some degree, the laws regarding transportation are different for individual users and for marijuana businesses, with requirements differing from state to state. 39

(3) No Tax Benefits

Investors should be reminded that due to the Schedule I status of marijuana under the CSA, a number of standard tax exemptions for businesses do not apply to sales of marijuana under the Internal Revenue Code § 280E. 40 As such, businesses can legally deduct only the cost of goods sold and cannot legally deduct significant business expenses such as employee wages, rent, health insurance premiums, utility costs and advertising. 41 Thus, while a typical business pay taxes on net profits, marijuana-related businesses should pay taxes on their gross income. Furthermore, states may impose various excise and sales taxes on the sale of marijuana and marijuana infused products. For example, Colorado imposes 15 percent marijuana excise tax, plus 10 percent retail marijuana special sales tax, plus 2.9 percent retail and medical marijuana sales tax. 42

(4) Restricted Advertising Opportunities

Marijuana-related businesses may be limited in their marketing and advertising options, given that television networks can be subject to legal prohibitions with regards to transmitting advertisements to promote the sale of marijuana. Section 843 of the CSA prohibits using "communications facilities" to transmit advertisements for the sale of Schedule I drugs such as marijuana. 43 Despite the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, the first television commercial advertising the sale of recreational marijuana scheduled to air on Denver-based ABC affiliate KMGH was pulled at the last minute due to concerns about the lack of clarity around federal regulations that prohibit marijuana advertising on television. 44 While the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not yet issued any guidance or rulings with respect to marijuana advertisements, it is possible that the FCC will not renew a broadcaster's license the following year if a broadcaster has committed a felony by violating Section 843 of the CSA. 45 Therefore, broadcasters may continue to show reluctance with regards to airing advertisements promoting the sale of marijuana on television.

Furthermore, marijuana-related businesses may face restrictions with regards to using the U.S. Postal Service to distribute advertisements. For example, a notice issued by the Portland, Oregon, District Mailing Requirements Office, US Postal Service on November 27, 2015, wrote: "If an advertisement solicits the mailing of controlled substances such as marijuana, it would violate USPS mailing standards. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.... CSA § 843(c) does make it unlawful to place an ad in any publication with the purpose of seeking or offering illegally to receive, buy, or distribute a Schedule I controlled substance.... If an advertisement advocates the purchase of clinical marijuana through a Medical Marijuana Dispensary, it does not comply with CSA § 843(c)." 46 This notice effectively ended any distribution of any marijuana advertisement through this local office in Oregon. While it is unclear whether this notice affects other US Postal Service offices in other states, since the notice did not directly come from US Postal Services headquarters, advertising efforts via the postal service in other states may be obstructed in the future.

(5) Intellectual Property

Under the US trademark laws, federal trademark registration can be granted only in connection with goods and services lawfully regulated by commerce. 47 Thus, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has consistently refused to register marijuana-related trademarks, given the illegal status of marijuana under the CSA. However, the USPTO may trademark ancillary products (e.g., noninfused foods and candies sold in dispensaries) that are not related to the production and dissemination of marijuana. 48 Further, a business may protect its brand by registering its trademark with one or more states where marijuana is legal and where its brand or logo actually qualifies for a trademark, as long as it does not infringe any other trademarks. 49

Conclusion

In sum, there is a range of legal issues in the marijuana industry that warrant careful consideration by potential investors, including private equity investors. Investing in the legal marijuana industry requires an understanding of the implications of the most recent changes to laws and regulations, proposed bills, other publications by federal or state authorities, and court cases. In particular, in 2016, potential investors should stay abreast of the status of bills under discussion in Congress, such as the CARERS Act of 2015 and the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015 (as mentioned above), and the status of pending marijuana legalization bills in several states, including Massachusetts, California, Maine, Arizona, Nevada, Vermont and Rhode Island. 50

* Written with significant assistance from Taeyoung Kim, Analyst, Corporate Practice.

Footnotes

1.The State of Legal Marijuana Markets, 3rd Edition, ArcView Market Research, January 26, 2015.

2."Why Legal Cannabis Is 2015's Best Startup Opportunity," Forbes, February 5, 2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/caroltice/2015/02/05/why-legal-cannabis-is-2015s-best-startup-opportunity/#365b7f36a4a7

3."STATE VIEW: The year of marijuana; Another prohibition is about to fall - to our benefit," MetroWest Daily News, January 3, 2016.

4.The State of Legal Marijuana Markets, 3rd Edition, ArcView Market Research, January 26, 2015.

5.Title 21 U.S.C.A. Controlled Substances Act § 812 - Schedules of controlled substances.

6.Id.

7.Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S.1 (2005).

8.Title 18 U.S.C.A. §1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments; §1957 - Engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

9.Investigations and Prosecutions in States Authorizing the Medical Use of Marijuana, US Department of Justice, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, David W. Ogden, October 19, 2009; and Guidance Regarding the Ogden Memo in Jurisdictions Seeking to Authorize Marijuana for Medical Use, US Department of Justice, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, James M. Cole, June 29, 2011.

10.Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement, US Department of Justice, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, James M. Cole, August 29, 2013.

11.Id.

12.2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act §542 (2015). States include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

13.U.S. v. Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, No. C98-00086 CRB (2015). California passed the Compassionate Use Act in 1996. In 1998, the Department of Justice filed an action in the US District Court for the Northern District of California seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against MAMM, a medical marijuana dispensary in California, on the grounds that it was engaged in the distribution of marijuana in violation of the CSA even though MAMM's activities were legal under California law. MAMM continued to operate, and another round of lawsuits ensued, as a result of which the US District Court for the Northern District of California ordered a permanent injunction against MAMM in 2002. In response to MAMM's continued operations, the US Attorney's Office pressed for enforcement action against MAMM in 2011. After the passage of the 2015 congressional spending bill that included the Amendment as Section 538 of the bill, MAMM argued that the injunction was now unenforceable under Section 538 and should therefore be dissolved.

14."Congress' Conflicting Approach Toward Medical Marijuana," Law360, January 13, 2016. https://www.law360.com/articles/745597/congress-conflicting-approachtoward-medical-marijuana

15.S.683 - Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015, 114th Congress (2015-2016).

16.Marijuana Resource Center: State Laws Related to Marijuana, Office of National Drug Control Policy. https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/state-laws-related-to-marijuana

17."Oregon Cities/Counties Opt Out of Legal Cannabis", Cannabis Public Media, August 28, 2015. http://www.marijuanapublicmedia.org/oregon-citiescounty-opt-out-of-legal-cannabis/

18.Marijuana Resource Center: State Laws Related to Marijuana, Office of National Drug Control Policy. https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/state-laws-related-to-marijuana

19."5 Must-Know Facts About Cannabidiol," Leaf Science, February 23, 2014. http://www.leafscience.com/2014/02/23/5-must-know-facts-cannabidiol-cbd/

20.In New York, for instance, the following laws may apply: N.Y. Criminal Procedure Law §20.20 - Geographical jurisdiction of offenses; jurisdiction of state; N.Y. Penal Law §470 - Money Laundering; N.Y. Penal Law §480 - Criminal Forfeiture; and New York's Civil Practice Laws and Rules Article 13-A - Proceeds of a Crime - Forfeiture.

21.According to Current Amalgamated Retail Marijuana Rules by Colorado's Marijuana Enforcement Division, R 103, "Owner" means "the Person or Persons whose beneficial interest in the license is such that they bear risk of loss other than as an insurer, have an opportunity to gain profit from the operation or sale of the establishment, and have a controlling interest in a Retail Marijuana Establishment license...," updated November 30, 2015.

22.Business License Applicant Criteria, Colorado Department of Revenue, Enforcement Division. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/enforcement/application-and-licensing-marijuana-enforcement

23.Marijuana Licensing FAQ, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. http://www.liq.wa.gov/mjlicense/mj_licensing_faq

24.Title 314 Washington Administrative Code, Chapter 55 §10 and §35.

25.Temporary Rules on Recreational Marijuana 845-025-1045 - Qualifications of an Applicant, Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Division 25, updated December 21, 2015.

26.Id.

27.Title 3 Alaska Administrative Code 306.015 - License conditions.

28.Id.

29.Id.

30.BSA Expectations Regarding Marijuana-Related Businesses, Guidance FIN-2014-G001, Department of the Treasury, FinCEN, February 14, 2014.

31.Id.

32.Guidance Regarding Marijuana Related Financial Crimes, Department of Justice, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, James M. Cole, February 14, 2014.

33.S.1726 - Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015, 114th Congress (2015-2016).

34.Fourth Corner Credit Union v. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, No. 15-cv-01633-RBJ, 2016 WL 54129 (D. Colo. Jan. 5, 2016).

35.For instance, Chase bank recently closed the account of a California-based online media company that operates a website discussing the health benefits of marijuana because of "reputational risk," according to Forbes. "Chase Closes A Marijuana Media Account," Forbes, February 4, 2016.

36."Moving Marijuana Across State Lines: Still A Felony," Canna Law Blog, January 6, 2015. http://www.cannalawblog.com/moving-marijuana-across-state-lines-still-a-felony/

37.Federal Trafficking Penalties for Marijuana, Hashish and Hashish Oil, Schedule I Substances, US Drug Enforcement Administration. http://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ftp_chart2.pdf

38."Transporting Marijuana: Laws and Regulations", FindLaw, Thomson Reuters. http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/business-laws-and-regulations/transporting-marijuana-laws-and-regulations.html

39. Id.

  • 40. 26 U.S. Code §280E - Expenditures in connection with the illegal sale of drugs.
  • 41."Internal Revenue Code Section 280E: Creating an Impossible Situation For Legitimate Businesses," National Cannabis Industry Association. https://thecannabisindustry.org/uploads/2015-280E-White-Paper.pdf

    42.Colorado Marijuana Tax Data, Colorado Department of Revenue. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/revenue/colorado-marijuana-tax-data

    43.Title 21 U.S.C.A. Controlled Substances Act § 843 - Prohibited acts. The term "communication facility" means any and all public and private instrumentalities used or useful in the transmission of writing, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds of all kinds and includes mail, telephone, wire, radio, and all other means of communication.

    44."Marijuana Advertising: You Can't Do that On TV," Canna Law Blog, July 26, 2015. http://www.cannalawblog.com/marijuana-advertising-you-cant-do-that-on-tv/

    45.Id.

    46.Mailpieces Containing Advertisements About Marijuana, U.S. Postal Service, Portland District Mailing Requirements, November 27, 2015.

    48."Marijuana Trademarks," Canna Law Blog, September 29, 2014. http://www.cannalawblog.com/marijuana-trademarks/

    49.In Colorado, there are approximately 700 trade names and 200 trademarks registered that include the word "marijuana" or a synonym.

    50."STATE VIEW: The year of marijuana; Another prohibition is about to fall - to our benefit," MetroWest Daily News, January 3, 2016.

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    Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

    Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

    Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

    Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

    Disclaimer

    The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

    General

    Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

    These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

    You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

    No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

    If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

    Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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