Cannabis field 'uncharted territory' for lawyers if legalization occurs

Larry Mishkin got involved because he sees it as a new frontier: forming the legal understandings of the cannabis industry as the substance is approved for medical or recreational use in some states, yet remains prohibited on the federal level.

After 30 years in other types of law, Mishkin said he's been excited to work for the past four years for Hoban Law Group, a Denver-based firm that handles legal matters for cannabis industry businesses.

From his Northbrook office, he handles the legalities of establishing businesses that grow, process, package or sell the product, as well as cases about employment drug testing or drugged driving.

He's building on experience he began to gain as soon as Illinois' medical marijuana program was approved in 2013.

"It's really a unique opportunity for lawyers because unlike just about anything we do ... once we get into cannabis, we're really in uncharted territory," he said. "We're just beginning to learn what everyone's rights are."