Banking & Financial Services Access
Corporate & Business
Food, Beverages & Consumer Packaged Goods
J.D., Loyola Law School
B.A., University of California San Diego
Sahar Ayinehsazian is a partner in Vicente Sederberg's Los Angeles office. As a leading member of the firm's Corporate Department, she guides multi-state operators in the cannabis industry in their expansion into new markets across the U.S. and advises businesses, investors, and other law firms on the nuances of executing corporate transactions involving licensed and ancillary cannabis companies.
In 2023, Sahar was recognized by her peers in the "Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch" list for her work in corporate law.
Prior to joining VS, Sahar served as the director of regulatory and governmental affairs at a multi-state money transmitter servicing the cannabis industry, where she developed a comprehensive understanding of credit card flow, banking and cannabis compliance. Using her specialized knowledge, Sahar helped establish and currently co-leads VS's Banking and Financial Services Access practice. In addition to helping cannabis and cannabis-related businesses establish traditional banking relationships, she assists third-party payment providers with compliance related to state and federal cannabis banking guidelines.
As a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Banking & Financial Services Committee, Sahar works on strategy and educational advocacy to enable state-licensed businesses to obtain accounts at depository institutions. She is a go-to source for businesses, industry groups, and reporters seeking opinions, analysis, and guidance on cannabis and hemp corporate, banking and financial services matters.
Sahar holds a Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from the University of California, San Diego, and a law degree from Loyola Law School, where she was a Loyola Scholar.
Leadership & Community Involvement
- Member, Banking & Financial Services Committee, National Cannabis Industry Association, 2019-2020
- Member, Banking Access Committee, National Cannabis Industry Association, 2018-2019
- Chief Advisor for Banking Policy, California Growers Association, 2018-2019
Sample Representations & Transactions
- Acted as cannabis regulatory and corporate counsel to Cookies, one of the largest multi-state operators in the United States, in connection with various intellectual property licensing and joint venture transactions.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc., one of the largest multi-state operators in the United States, in connection with their signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Verano Holdings, LLC, one of the largest privately held multi-state, vertically integrated licensed operators of cannabis facilities with an extensive portfolio of premium branded products, in an $850 million all-stock deal.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to TILT Holdings Inc. in connection with its acquisition of Standard Farms., a vertically integrated cannabis operator, with the majority of its operations in Pennsylvania, for US$5M cash and US$45M in securities.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to TILT Holdings Inc. in connection with its acquisition of Blackbird Holdings Corp., a distribution company providing logistics operations and software solutions for each touchpoint in the cannabis supply chain, for approximately US$40 million, consisting of US$12M cash and 11,090,453 shares of TILT.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to Canaccord Genuity, LLC on numerous transactions.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to LeafLink.
Represented a device manufacturer on plans to enter the cannabis market and national expansion, including advertising parameters, banking matters, and the status of state legislation.
Represented an entertainment company on a potential expansion into the cannabis industry.
Represented a leading e-commerce company on its plans to expand into the cannabis sector.
Represented numerous cannabis brands and manufacturers in intellectual property licensing and contract manufacturing agreements.
Represented numerous cannabis and ancillary operators in obtaining depository accounts with financial institutions.
Acted as cannabis regulatory counsel to numerous California cannabis businesses seeking to obtain state licensing.
- Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, Corporate Law, 2023
Co-author, "Preparing for the Rising Demand for Due Diligence in Cannabis Transactions," May 5, 2020
Co-author, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: California Regulatory Updates," April 29, 2020
Co-author, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: Illinois Regulatory Updates," March 28, 2020
Co-author, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: Washington Regulatory Updates," March 27, 2020
Co-author, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: Michigan Regulatory Updates," March 23, 2020
Author, "Hope for Hemp Banking: Federal Guidance Clarifies and Eases Reporting Requirements," December 12, 2019
Co-author, "Understanding New Jersey's Medical Cannabis Expansion Law," August 2, 2019
Co-author, "Status of Colorado HB19-1090: Publicly Licensed Marijuana Companies Bill," July 16, 2019
Co-author, "Raising Private Capital in the Cannabis Industry," Bloomberg Law, September 2022
Co-author, "Committee Blog: Cannabis and Covid-19 – a Legal Perspective," National Cannabis Industry Association, May 21, 2020
Co-author, "8 Things Investors Should Know Before Investing in Cannabis," Green Market Report, November 1, 2018
Co-author, "Cannabis Compliance for Non-Cannabis Companies," MG Magazine, July 9, 2018
Author, "Curbing Cannabis Cash in a Post-Cole-Memo Climate, MG Magazine, February 1, 2018
Author, "California's Continuing Mission to Curb Cannabis Cash," MG Magazine, December 1, 2017
Author, "Could a Public Bank Solve California's Cash Conundrum," MG Magazine, October 1, 2017
Author, "Giving the Green Light; Federal Cannabis Banking Bills," Community Bankers of Washington Newsletter, June 1, 2017
Author, "Marijuana's March on Capitol Hill," MG Magazine, May 10, 2017
Co-author, "Compliance Considerations in the Cannabis Industry," Direct Cannabis Network, March 1, 2017
Author, "The New Administration Won't Trump Marijuana's Momentum," MG Magazine, March 1, 2017
Author, "Cryptocurrency: A Cannabis Banking Blight," Community Bankers of Washington Newsletter, December 2016
- Speaker, Rossdale CLE A National Leader in Continuing Legal Education & Training, "Mastering Marijuana & Cannabis Business Regulation for 2023 CLE,” Online, November 30, 2022
- Speaker, MJBizCon, "MJBizFinance Forum - Don’t Sweat Your Debt: Ensuring Healthy Financing in Cannabis,” Las Vegas, November 15, 2022
- Moderator, Bisnow California Cannabis CRE Conference, "Creating a Cannabis Centered Community Panel,” Los Angeles, September 20, 2022
- Speaker, PBC Conference (Payments, Banking + Compliance), "Growing and Selling your Cannabis Banking Program,” https://www.pbcconference.com/panel-growing-and-selling-your-cannabis-banking-program, September 08, 2022
- Speaker, Above The Law, "What All Lawyers Need To Know About Cannabis,” Online, March 31, 2022
- Speaker, NCIA Cannabis Business Summit & Expo, "Cannabis M&A is Back: What You Need to Know to Succeed,” San Francisco, December 16, 2021
- Speaker, 2021 NAPABA Convention, "Risky Business: Litigation Challenges and Insurance Solutions for the Cannabis Industry,” Washington, D.C., December 10, 2021
- Speaker, MJBizCon, "Cannabis Branding: An Inside Look at Multi-State Expansion,” Las Vegas, October 22, 2021
- Speaker, Bridge West CPAs & Advisors, "Cannabis Banking Insights: Understanding the Evolution and Preparing for the Future,” Webinar, September 24, 2021
- Speaker, INCBA, "Business Law – Formation 201 - Drafting for cannabis business entities,” Webinar, July 01, 2021
- Speaker, The Cannabis Investor Series - Investing in American Cannabis, "The Path to US Cannabis Legalization,” Virtual, May 04, 2021
- Speaker, Symposium on the Economics and Law of Cannabis Markets, "The Economics of Multi-Sovereign Regulatory Contradiction: How Federal Drug Laws Impact Banking, Payroll and Financial Services in States with Legal Cannabis Markets,” Online, October 12, 2020
- Speaker, ABA Business Law Virtual Sectional Annual Meeting, "BCLC Recent Developments in Business & Corporate Litigation: Annual Review Panel Part 2 - Corporate & Cannabis,” Online, September 23, 2020
- Speaker, Vicente Sederberg LLP, "Protect Your Brand! Cannabis Trademark Strategies and Benefits,” Webinar, September 23, 2020
- Speaker, DRI Cannabis Law Virtual Seminar, "Curbing Cannabis Cash,” Online, September 17, 2020
- Speaker, Emerge Virtual Cannabis Conference, "Fast-acting Edibles: How Technology & Food Science are Fueling the Biggest Change in Cannabis,” Online, September 08, 2020
- Speaker, Vicente Sederberg LLP, "Private Financings in Cannabis,” Webinar, August 26, 2020
- Speaker, MJBizCon 2019, "Finding the Right Investor for You,” Las Vegas, December 12, 2019
- Presenter, HUB International Insurance Services Inc., "On-Demand Webinar: Investing in the Cannabis & Hemp Industries,” -, October 29, 2019
- Speaker, NCIA Cannabis Business Summit & Expo, "Marijuana-Related Banking from Both Sides,” San Jose, July 23, 2019
- Presenter, Loyola Law School, "Cannabis: The California Experience,” Los Angeles, June 06, 2019
- Presenter, Expo Cannabiz Business Conference, Colombia, "Cannabis Banking Setbacks,” Cartagenia, May 11, 2019
- Speaker, Expo Cannabiz Business Conference, Colombia, "Funding Your Cannabis Business,” Cartagenia, May 11, 2019
- Speaker, Hall of Flowers, "Creating a Brand Without Cultivation: White Labeling Laws in 2019,” Los Angeles, May 02, 2019
- Speaker, California Bar Ethics Symposium, "Ethical Obligations in Representing a Marijuana Business,” Los Angeles, April 12, 2019
- Moderator, 2019 National Cannabis Industry Association Seed to Sale Show, "Seed-to-Sale,” Los Angeles, February 02, 2019
- Speaker, 2018 Los Angeles Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, "Taking it to the Bank,” Los Angeles, September 25, 2018
- Presenter, Blunt Talks, "Cannabis Banking,” Los Angeles, June 25, 2018
- Presenter, Loyola Law School, Journalist Law School, "Marijuana Regulations and Banking,” Los Angeles, June 11, 2018
- Moderator, California Growers Association, Spring Quarterly Meeting, "How to Make Your Business Bankable,” Los Angeles, April 05, 2018
- Speaker, 2017 Los Angeles Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, "State of LA Market,” Los Angeles, September 10, 2017
In the Media
- High Times, "Dispensaries’ Cashless ATM Transactions Get The Ax," December 7, 2022
- Green Market Report, "Debt Lending, Financing Top Concerns for Cannabis Industry," November 15, 2022
- Banking Dive, "What Decriminalization Could Mean for Cannabis Banking," October 7, 2022
- High Times, "New Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Cannabis Banking Legislation," September 8, 2022
- Above the Law, "What All Lawyers Need To Know About Cannabis," February 16, 2022
- Bridge West Consulting Blog, "Ask the Cannabis Expert – Sahar Ayinehsazian: What Types of Corporate Services Should a Cannabis Company Consider at Various Lifecycles and Stages?," January 20, 2022
- CSE TV, "The Cannabis Investor Series Ep 1: Investing in American Cannabis," May 4, 2021
- Bloomberg Law, "Professional Perspective: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Cannabis Industry," November 5, 2020
- Bloomberg Law, "Professional Perspective: Raising Private Capital In The Cannabis Industry," September 18, 2020
- National Cannabis Industry Association, "Committee Blog: Cannabis and Covid-19 – a Legal Perspective," May 21, 2020