Helping you succeed in complex regulatory landscapes
Our lawyers have a thorough understanding of the intricate challenges faced by businesses regulated at the state, federal, and local levels. We have represented beer, wine, and spirits distributors and their trade associations for many years. Our attorneys were involved with the development of I-502 which gave rise to Washington’s regulated cannabis industry and provide advice to related businesses. We also have had extensive involvement working with Northwest public utility districts and municipal utilities in telecommunications and energy matters. In all of these fields, we have the ingenuity and judgment to help clients navigate the unique constitutional, statutory, administrative, and political complexities faced by anyone who operates or wants to operate in these industries.
For decades, we have successfully guided utility and municipal clients through their most challenging times – from the Washington Public Power Supply System crisis of the 1980’s to helping bridge the digital divide and bring high-speed telecommunications to rural Washington. We regularly assist clients in resolving complex problems involving federal, state, and local governmental agencies. Our utility and municipal lawyers deliver experience, skill, knowledge, and judgment in the following utility and municipal law areas:
We are pleased to have been one of the first established law firms in Washington to embrace businesses involved in the commercial production and distribution of marijuana. GTH was integrally involved with the passage of I-502 in November 2012, and we have been representing clients in the cannabis industry ever since. We have successfully guided numerous applicants through the process to obtain their producer, processor, and retailer licenses from the Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board and have extensive experience working cooperatively with the LCB. This experience enables us to help our clients navigate the challenging industry regulations and assist them with developing compliant business strategies. Through our work, clients quickly learn to value our attorneys’ understanding of the unique business, real estate, land use, and employment law issues that marijuana businesses face on a regular basis.
Washington has heavily regulated the alcoholic beverage industry since the end of prohibition. Although the voters ended the State’s monopoly over the distribution and sale of spirits in 2012, privatization did not end the State’s tight control over this industry. Businesses operating in this space can only succeed if they strictly comply with regulations and if they can work well with their regulators. Our attorneys have been a great ally for many such businesses.
Since 2000, Don Cohen of our firm has been General Counsel to a non-profit consortium of public utility districts instrumental in “bridging the digital divide” between rural areas of our state unserved or underserved by reliable modern high-speed communications services, and more urban communities. We guided the consortium’s formation, and have been integrally involved in a variety of matters requiring the ability to navigate complex state, federal, and local regulatory frameworks. Among other things, we assisted the consortium in obtaining and implementing over $130 million in federal economic stimulus grant funding for infrastructure construction and provisioning of broadband services to local hospitals, schools, libraries, governmental agencies, businesses, and individuals.
In 2003 we became involved in defending the State’s system of regulating the distribution and sale of alcohol against legal attacks by Costco and others. In 2008 one of our partners, John Guadnola, took on the position of Executive Director for the Washington Beer & Wine Distributors Association and in 2013 he assumed the responsibilities of Executive Director for the then newly-formed Association of Washington Spirits & Wine Distributors. We have been on the front lines of regulatory and legislative issues dealing with the changing landscape of alcohol distribution and sales, helping to preserve a meaningful regulatory environment while working to protect the distributors’ extensive investments in the State.
When our cannabis industry clients have encountered challenges in obtaining their producer, processor, and retailer licenses from the Liquor and Cannabis Board, Ryan Espegard has successfully guided them through the process. When licensed clients encountered business challenges posed by the restrictive state regulations, we have developed compliant business solutions for them and we also have extensive experience advocating for rule changes and revised interpretations of existing rules that benefit our clients.
In 2011, Salvador Mungia became one of the ten official sponsors of I-502 which legalized regulated commercial production and distribution of marijuana in Washington. Through Sal’s work on the initiative consistent with his commitment to improving social justice, Washington became a leader in the movement to legalize and regulate marijuana.