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JohnNichols

Counsel

"You have a business to run. My goal is to clear the obstacles in your way."

Overview

Biography

Highly regulated clients receive counsel from John in litigation and transactional matters in industries such as energy, utilities, consumer lending, and cannabis. To properly shape lawsuits and appeals and keep them on course as vehicles to resolve disputes, John learns clients’ business objectives. Hurdles overcome by John’s clients have involved tortious interference, compliance issues, clashes over goods/services contracts, secured transactions, and real property rights.

Clients also seek John’s assistance with long-term planning to position themselves to respond to developments in cannabis laws and regulations. With that, clients rely on John to direct their cannabis projects, including governmental licensing, property right acquisition, compliance, and organizational structure. In developing resources for others in the legal profession, John actively supports the New York State Bar Association Committee on Cannabis Law.

Bar Associations

  • New York State Bar Association
  • Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association
  • Onondaga County Bar Association
Experience

Representative Experience

  • Serves as general counsel to a state-licensed cannabis business.
  • Led a multi-disciplinary team preparing licensing applications on behalf of cannabis business clients, resulting in successful licensure, and advised on all matters pertaining to start up; staffing; security; operations; land use; zoning; banking; tax, including 280E; licensing compliance; and internal corporate issues.
  • Provided counsel to a professional athlete regarding his investment and involvement in a cannabis business, including disputes with business partners and with a players’ union.
  • Assisted clients with medical cannabis license applications in multiple states and advised on statutory and regulatory requirements pre- and post-licensure.
  • Counseled a client on issues of constitutionality in statutory and regulatory frameworks for medical cannabis.
  • Advised cannabis clients in transactions and agreements involving rights in agricultural, commercial, and industrial real property. 
  • Advised a client on regulatory constraints regarding the qualifications of employees in cannabis businesses.
  • Counseled a medical cannabis client about federal agency jurisdiction and interstate commerce in the cannabis industry. 
  • Manages client relationships with government regulators.
  • Counseled and assisted a client on employment law issues, including intellectual property assignments, nondisclosure, noncompetition, and nonsolicitation agreements.
  • Counseled and assisted a client with a supply agreement for biomass.
  • Conducted gating analyses and counseled clients on strategy and planning around the evolving legal status of cannabis.
  • Counseled import and export clients on cannabis licensure and compliance matters. 
  • Assisted a client with obtaining amendments to regulatory authorizations for propagative material and for facility relocation and consolidation, including environmental diligence regarding real property acquisition.
  • Led a litigation portfolio for the client enforcement of secured loans. 
  • Directed and supervised team of e-discovery attorneys in filtering and evaluating client data volumes for relevance, responsiveness, and production.
  • Obtained dismissal and appellate affirmance of a multi-million dispute over a utility client’s critical operational asset.
  • Negotiated a favorable settlement of a government agency’s claims of deceptive retail and finance practices, consumer fraud, and usury.
  • Counseled and assisted with a client's response to a regulatory investigation of compliance issues with its cannabinoid-infused consumer products.

Prior Experience

  • Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, Associate
  • Welch Allyn, Inc., Law Clerk

Selected Community Activities

  • Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency, Inc., Board of Directors Member

  • Onondaga County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Program Liaison and Volunteer Attorney

  • Say Yes to Education, Tel-Law Clinic, Volunteer Attorney

  • Syracuse City Court, Small Claims Part, Volunteer Arbitrator

Selected Honors

  • Selected to Super Lawyers Upstate New York Rising Stars: Creditor/Debtor Rights, 2016-2018
  • New York State Bar Association, Empire State Counsel Honoree, 2009-2011
Knowledge

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • New York State Bar Association Bridging the Gap CLE Program, “Cannabis Update: Understanding CBD Oil, Hemp, and Practical Implications of Decriminalized Marijuana”
  • New York State Bar Association, “Hot Topics in Cannabis Law: CBD Rulemaking, CRTA, Advertising Issues, and Ethical Considerations” CLE

Selected Alerts & Blog Posts

Featured Media

Alerts

NY Green Bank and NY PSC: Energy Storage Updates

Alerts

House Judiciary Committee Advances MORE Act

Alerts

NYS Courts to Implement Early Mandatory Mediation

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